Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU
(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
Let’s talk about the 50 shades of grey! Not the steamy book series or movie, but rather I am speaking of life and all the shades of grey, in any given moment, between the extremes.
In an age of extreme sports, have we become extreme thinkers and communicators, as well?
My father often said in reference to people quarrelling, “the truth is somewhere in the middle,” in the grey.
Politics, vaccines, health care, religion are just some of the off the table, “don't talk about at dinner party” conversations. Why? Often people feel so strongly to an extreme that the discussions gets heated, offensive or even insulting. This type of thinking / communicating can be seen on many subjects and not just with taboo dinner party convos, but in every day small talk conversations, social media statuses and comments, etc.
Extreme thinking and speaking can be seen as going to the extreme ends of the spectrum of the reality. Some use it as a defense mechanism while others use it to “drama-up” our conversation. Most of us pepper this into our lives from time to time, while others may do it more chronically. It can pendulate our feelings to the maximum end of the panorama, leaving our conversations and emotions feeling like a roller coaster.
Here are a few examples that might bring more awareness to your present thought and communication patterns.
Exaggeration or “drama talk”
When we are cold, saying we are “freezing.” When we are hungry, saying we are “starving.” It’s taking a fact and making it more dramatic by taking it to the extreme. People that are different are turned into “weird” or “creepy.” Notice if you are dramatizing your words and see if you can bring them back to a factual wording in the grey areas. This might bring more even keel to extreme ups and downs. (My life is awesome. My life sucks.)
Set for failure?
Black and white thinking leaves us with such extremes, we can set ourselves up for failure from the mere concept of it. If I am not perfect then I have failed. I made an error, therefore I am so stupid. Be okay with grey. Be perfectly imperfect. With a compassionate heart, change what you can and accept the rest.
Seeing a pattern based upon a single event, being overtly broad in the conclusions we draw or taking it to the uttermost ends is over generalizing. “Nothing good ever happens,” or “Everything is always messed up” or “People are so mean.” Can we instead take each event, situation, person as its own entity? If the same patterns keep showing up in our lives, perhaps we need to go inward to see where the block within us may be.
Magnification (catastrophizing) or Minimisation
Blowing things out of proportion due to catastrophic thinking or inappropriately shrinking the importance of an event, situation or feeling leaves our emotions feeling erratic and over the top. Try to be real to the true reality and moving authentically from that place.
Do you spend too much thought in fear and worry. Do you imagine the scenarios of doom and gloom? Much like catastrophizing, this one sends the mind (and therefore the reaction of the body and spirit) into a stress mode. Instead stay present to the facts and try to imagine a greyer, perhaps more positive version.
Let go of these words from your vocabulary! Words such as “should” or “must” leave us feeling guilty for not being at the black / white end of the spectrum, that we think we “should” be. Alternately, allow acceptance of what is and make your intention for the next step.
This can leave us feeling like situations out of our control are our fault. Conversely, blaming another person for something that was our fault. Set intentions for outcomes and situations and then detach from the result. High intention. Low attachment. Own what is ours, and only ours.
Only two alternatives? In situations do we only consider the two opposite ends of the spectrum. I do this or I do that. In fact there are usually several shades of grey to choose from. Explore the in-between areas!
By not seeing the shades of grey, we can easily judge ourselves or others and / or even criticize or condemn.
Considering allowing all to coexist in the delicious soup of life. Find the grey ground of celebrations, love and giving and receiving. Find the balance between super busy and overstretching our calendars with quieter times of self care and realignment.
Explore the 50 shades of grey in your life!
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