You’ve heard the terms of thinking in black and white, right? Today I want to think about what happens in life when you start doing the opposite, when you start thinking/living in colour. And that previous point is fully ironic in that I’m about to tell you why you shouldn’t live in terms of contrast. Painful.
One of the most insidious things we can do as humans is live in a black and white world. When I say this, I mean metaphorically; living with the dichotomous perspective of ‘right or wrong’, ‘all or nothing’ and yes, black and white.
Not only is that restrictive but it’s potentially dangerous. That is a land where there is no room for possibilities, for change, for progress, for potential – your worldview is fixed and there’s seemingly no way out. A rather Trumpian way to live. And as we know, this is pretty problematic, especially today where the tides of change/progression are constantly crashing against the choppy shores of ‘how it’s always been’. Being on planet ‘right or wrong’ or ‘all or nothing’ effectively is a pretty extreme way to live. That’s generally not a word that has particular positive connotations or something with which you’d want to associate yourself, right?
To get political, it’s a conservative way of living, it’s a restrictive, binary-led perspective that pigeonholes people into one of two boxes. The reason I’m here writing this is that I myself used to think in these terms. Not much happens in your favour. You aren’t a happy person, deep down. Things never go your way, you take it out on others or yourself. But living in grey means you see everything as it is and learn to love it. There are myriad possibilities, not just one or the other. Things aren’t fixed. Things change, whether in your favour or not. And that’s good.
For example, I used to think all men were emotionally unavailable (lol – I have since grown up), that if I didn’t get this job I wouldn’t be happy, if I wasn’t a certain size or weight I wouldn’t find the perfect partner – a lot of daft things to be quite honest with you. To achieve one thing, I had to be the other. There was no room for any kind of possibility. I’d jump to conclusions and let my mind run away with overthinking and catastrophise one unanswered text and automatically assume that because they hadn’t replied, it was the end of the world. So, in these most ridiculous examples, you can see the problematic nature of tunnel-vision. The same can be applied to other things like politics, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, dis/ability – all of those things are so easily put into two boxes and this is where it gets dangerous. When opinions sneak into the show through the back door uninvited and end up running the whole thing. To be clear, I’m not saying don’t have an opinion; I’m saying have an open mind that’s receptive to others’.
So, what happens when you start thinking in grey terms? When you smush black and white together? The door of possibility opens wide and how much more liberating is that? What if you took it a step further and began to think in colour? The world would be much more beautiful place to be (if I could choose between a black and white rainbow and one in colour, I know which I’d go for). In that place, you’d give the benefit of the doubt more. You wouldn’t assume the worst of everything. You’d have more understanding. Compassion. You’d have a more educated insight into why things may happen and learning to accept the way things are. I can promise that abandoning a black/white world is a massive weight that will feel like it’s catapulted off your chest straight back into the past, where it belongs.
So what I’m trying to say is 1+1 = 2. Fine! Sure I accept that, that’s totally true.
But 0.5+1.5 also = 2. BOOM. And yes this example definitely came to me after a few glasses of wine.
So at the end of the day folks, it’s a perspective shift. A seismic one at that. One of the few things in this world that is fully in our hands, yet is so quick to be disregarded. Having said, in the land of all possibility, some people may not sadly ever have the opportunity to understand that there exists another perspective at all. Some people may live in an environment where it’s just not safe enough to think like that. Places like that exist, sadly.
But if you’re privileged enough, you have the chance to make something rotten, beautiful (or perfectly adequate if you’re thinking in grey terms, but for the sake of an example, a binary opposition works best here – IRONYYYY). You can start to see there are infinite possibilities for whatever happens or for whatever exists on this planet. Life gets lighter and easier to digest, especially when it sometimes makes no damn sense.
In short, thinking in black and white keeps you in a box, thinking in colour lets you out.