Thinking in “either/or” terms, where things are the complete opposite of one another with nothing in between, creates imbalance in thinking by viewing events, situations, and people (including yourself) in one of only two mutually exclusive ways: all good or all bad. Everything is either “great” or it’s “horrible.” Self-perception tends to be based on the extremes of “I am perfect”/“I am a total failure” or “I am in constant pain”/“I must be totally pain-free.” Your thinking can also shift from one extreme to the other, depending on circumstances. In this thought pattern there is no middle ground. In fact, most of reality occurs somewhere in the middle, between the black and white and within those many shades of gray. When you are unable to see and appreciate this middle ground, you end up missing much of the richness and subtlety of life. You can regain balance by becoming consciously aware of this tendency, checking your thought process and noticing when you are thinking in black-and-white terms. This awareness will provide the opportunity to look for the middle ground, the shades of gray that you are missing. Realistically, you are probably not in pain all of the time, and you are probably not completely comfortable all or none of the time. This blog post is an excerpt from Pain Recovery – How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM, Frank Szabo, LADC, Daniel Shiode, PhD, Robert Hunter, PhD; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).