Sometimes, as I am casting about for inspiration (you know, everything to say and yet nothing to say?) I see a piece of writing and think to myself “dammit, I wanted to say that!” Such was my thought when I read an article written by Martha Beck (who I adore) in the July issue of Oprah magazine. This blog post is a snapshot of what she wrote as well as my own additional thoughts (cuz ya know I gots some!) on the topic of what Martha calls the “duel-emma” of life.
So one of the main points in this article (at least my take away) is the idea that we generally think in terms of ‘either-or’ in how we approach life. That there must always be one answer…in other words black and white. Martha proposes (and I heartily agree) that what if a situation has a ‘both-and’ answer. It’s what I like to call living in the shades of gray.
It’s the idea that both answers are right. Your dear friend is flighty and unreliable AND is someone you could call literally any time of the day or night and she would move heaven and earth to help you. You hate to exercise, but feel wonderful after you do; your relationship with your spouse or significant other can be both amazing and awful.
Life is made up of dual-emmas all the time. If you really consider it, the majority of our life consists of shades of gray. It requires a flexibility of mind and a shift away from conventional thinking. What is most powerful is that developing these mind muscles will give you incredible skills both personally and professionally that actually open up more possibility thinking for you.
Martha counsels that there is a caveat in this thinking and that is that if you or the other person can’t or won’t admit the ‘both-and’ truth, then the relationship will become increasingly dysfunctional. And as one who sees infinite shades of gray J, I agree to a point. I believe how dysfunctional is ultimately, up to you. Sometimes, there are conversations that you are unwilling, or cannot have. So it becomes a matter of what you feel you can (or not) tolerate.
Martha also offers 3 strategies to help you facilitate that conversation:
- Set boundaries before a situation arises.
- Focus of the good stuff in the relationship (my personal fav)
- Don’t get freaked out (my words) while you explore other options.
How do you deal with the shades of gray in life? Give me some food for thought J