I have come to realise that for many years, I have not been thinking in colours but in black or white. In my humble position I recognise that this way of thinking has undermined my relationship with others and tainted the experiences that I have had. But where did this all or nothing mentality come from? And more importantly how do I fix this? Somehow it became normal to think like this and looking closely this way of thinking is how we have been conditioned to think. In many movies I watched as a child, the good guy character is always the best, he never lies – but if he does only to the bad people – he never cheats or kills without reasons, in essence he is simply the knight in shining armor! Then there is the bad guy, rotten to the core, a real devil who is deserving of every bad thing that happens to him. As we get older we apply this concept to every area of our lives. People are either good or bad, period! While our experiences are summed up as either great or terrible. We either ignore or we are unaware of the grey areas or the in-betweens. We can never see the colours that change and shift in our varied experiences.
At first I would have disagreed with this self-diagnoses. one, because I thought I was very open to many opinions and two, because the thought of existing in such a rigid manner is very depressing. Who wants to live their lives thinking in extremes? Thinking in extremes can lead a person to make very unfair assumptions about others and to also have unfair expectations of them. But the reality is, I do think in black and white! So as a black and white thinker, I know if given two options, I feel I must choose the lesser of two evils, even if doing so compromises my belief and morals. This is not good at all. Also, I do think that someone is good until they do something and they become not just, ” not so good”, but evil personified. I have worried if people will think that I am a good person and do everything in my power to be so, because that is how I want to be viewed. Yet no matter how hard I try I always disappoint myself as the the bad takes over and clip the wings I try to grow. But, this is not healthy. This way of thinking has caused me to be too sensitive and too suspicious of any criticism that comes my way or dare I say any imagined criticism. Now, criticism I am discovering is not bad because no matter the place is comes from, there is always an opportunity to grow and learn from them. Then there is the mistake I make in thinking, if I just work harder and do more than I will be justly rewarded.” However, I have been learning that “good people” get punished all the time and some lose everything that they have, instead of gaining the world. Doing good does not mean that only good things will follow and it is not true that in every situation or most of the times even, the person who screws up all the time is destined to gain only bad things, for all eternity.
These black and white thoughts lead to a stagnant life, as you wait for what you expect, and do not move with the reality of a situation, because you are blinded to the truth. There is also the result of lacking vision when that is exactly what you need. So you can’t see yourself doing something other than you expected or others expect you to do, and so you are not adaptable to change. When you are asked to give new ideas, you are hopeless and useless because everything that exists seems good enough already. When you think every problem has one clear answer then certain problems will never be solved properly. Also, if you want to escape your prison – no matter what that may be – you may never do so if you look to the locked door only or, if you try, you do so already accepting that it will be impossible.
From my few words we realise that there are many pitfalls to thinking in black and white. However, moving beyond this way of think can be hard to do. What I have started to do, is to acknowledge that this way of thinking has prevented me from being fearless enough to see the rainbows that God has sprinkled throughout my life; they exist within and around all of us.
I Wish... I wish to see things clear no matta blocking me. I wish to see the real world in colours real in colours true.
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