Someone used to tell me, quite frequently, that I was “such a black and white thinker,” meaning I was rigid in my ideas of right and wrong and unable to see shades of grey. It was delivered – and I took it – as a criticism and a deficiency in myself, and it lodged in my subconscious.
Because of this, I made very deliberate attempts to see all sides of many situations. This was a good thing at first because it opened my eyes to my own biases and prejudices. It gave me compassion for other people’s pain. It helped me realize that I’m not the only one whose feelings, needs, and desires matter.
I went so far down the rabbit hole into the land of grey that I eventually got taken advantage of by the very person who used to tell me this.
It turns out some things ARE black and white, right and wrong. Some things don’t have ANY (let alone 50) shades of grey. And guess what? Having standards and values that other people might not necessarily agree with is absolutely OK. You don’t have to see one single shade of grey if you’re being mistreated. You can find common ground, you can agree to disagree, or you can part ways.
I spent a long time in the land of grey. It was eye-opening. It was enlightening. I still visit it from time to time. But I’m glad I’m not stuck there anymore.