Love Letters to Humans (no. 51) — on Either/Or Thinking

Either/Or: The relational fuckery of dismissing all possibilities except a single, unlikely, win or lose scenario. Example: Either you change (good/I win) or I will not be okay (bad/I lose).

In either/or thinking, our primary motivation is to win, be good, or be right because our only other options are to lose, be bad, or be wrong. We also impose these judgments on other people, ideas, circumstances, and events: they are good or bad, right or wrong, for/with us or against us.

Some of the ways either/or thinking can show up in our relationships and conversations: Either you apologize or I will punish/withdraw • Either you reciprocate my affection or I am unworthy of love • Either you agree with me or one of us is wrong • Either I compromise myself or I disappoint you • Either you comply or you disappoint/hurt/fail me • Either I punish you or I pretend not to feel hurt • Either this relationship is perfect or it has to end • Either you change or I cannot be okay

When we’re caught up in the lies of either/or thinking, we forget complexity, grace, and possibility, we forget all the choices available to us, and we forget how much power we have to nurture trust, mutual care, and joyful connection.


Relational practice: Both+And

Where do you find yourself trying to win your relationships rather than cultivate them?

When you are hurt, afraid, upset, blaming yourself, or judging someone else… What else is also true? What else is possible? What choices might be available?


Relationship is. Right relationship nourishes.

If you want to dive deeper into your practice of right relationship in your life and your leadership this year, let’s talk. I have space for 1:1, couples/partners, and small team coaching (and I love it).