Life in Black and White

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Lately I’ve been giving some thought to extremes and how often we look at situations from extreme points of view. It’s so easy to label something as “good” or “bad” so we do just that rather than really giving it thought and figuring out what it really is. I find myself guilty of this more often than I’d like to admit. When I see or experience something, I’m quick to label it, to try to fit it neatly into a box. But, as Van Morrison said, “There is no black and white situation. It’s all part of life. Highs, lows, middles.” Life — and most of what we experience — really is that way. It’s not just “good” or “bad” or “black” or “white.” And, from my experience, when we attempt to classify things in very general categories, we limit ourselves and the world around us.

It can be very tempting to look at a situation or even another person with an all-or-nothing outlook, but it’s usually not going to bring out the true nature of that situation or person. Most things are much more complex than a single adjective or label. Most things are a whole big mess of things and when we allow ourselves to get caught up thinking about something as only “black” or “white” we often miss out on the various depths of things. We miss out on seeing the true complexities of the world around us. I’ve found that this kind of thinking is pretty much better avoided so I’ve come up with my thoughts on how to stop seeing of the world in black and white.

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