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This morning I was having breakfast with a friend and we were discussing the challenge of living in the grayness of life. So often when life hands us a situation there is a black option and a white option and we live somewhere in the middle–the grayness.
For example, you have a new friend who is going through a tough time; she is basically one of the walking wounded at this point in her life. She NEEDS a lot and you want to help her, you have been a member of the walking wounded yourself. But you have your own life, your own needs, your own problems and you recognize the need to draw a tough boundary. In fact, a part of you says that she is an adult she can take care of herself and you need to be attentive to your own life (black). The other part of you says, you have had you heart broken before you know what it is like to be hurting and lost (white.) And then there is the gray…she is an adult who can take care of herself AND right now she needs you a little more than normal. So you walk the line of holding a boundary and giving a little more than normal.
In so many ways life would be easier if it was full of absolutes, if the rules were consistent and exact. But I believe people who are living happier, who are striving to be true to themselves with authentic relationships live in the grayness. They recognize that life is not orderly, and full of exacts. Life is messy. Life is a mix of the black and the white. Figuring out that balance, walking that tight rope is the challenge.
The tight rope of:
- Engaging with your children AND wanting to give yourself a much needed break.
- Valuing being honest with yourself and not living in denial AND recognizing that sometimes denial can serve you.
- Being sad about a break up AND realizing you were ready to move on.
- Wanting to lose weight AND wanting to love yourself as is.
- Wanting to spend time with an aging relative AND knowing that it will be painful to see how they have changed.
There are 100s if not 1000s examples of gray in our lives. And yet we search for the black and white. We want the easy answers. We want the step-by-step play book. But honestly, it is in the gray that the juice of life is tasted. Ironically, it is here in the gray that the colors emerge. It is learning how to hold two opposite extremes and get comfortable with the tug and pull that growth occurs, life becomes happier. It isn’t easy AND it is a place of happiness.
Thanks to Kait Marie for the inspirational reminder via a photo.