It may feel counterintuitive to talk about living life “in the grey” when we often speak about how recovery leads to living life in full color. However, they’re actually very interrelated. Learning to embrace “the grey” means ultimately you open yourself up to a whole rainbow of colors.
So what is “life in the grey?” It means living in a way that accepts that there are a diversity of perspectives and ways to go about life – not simply “right” or “wrong” (e.g. black or white). Things don’t always make sense or follow a rule (e.g. only good things happen to good people) and instead of trying to control or explain it we can recognize that it is a part of being human in a messy world. It’s giving yourself, and those around you grace. We try our best, but life happens regardless. Life in the grey is not apathetic, it’s freeing because as you accept that you may not have all the answers you open yourself up to learning from outside yourself. And that’s how a life in full color springs from first accepting the existence of the grey.
Black and white thinking restricts us and leaves us small. It leaves us stuck, avoiding growth at the expense of sticking with what feels safe and secure. It also divides our society deeply with people clinging to their own definitions of right and wrong. This becomes further fuelled by social media algorithms that prioritize content that is definitive (and at times controversial, seeking no middle ground) and then organize our news feeds to only show us what is similar to ourselves or we’re likely to agree with.
It’s no easy task, and does not come naturally but I encourage you to consider how much nuance exists in our world. For example, in the recovery journey, running long distances may be disordered for one person, but may not be for someone else. Walking may be emotionally healthy for one person, but disordered behavior for another. There is no one size fits all in recovery or life.
Want to get starting on thinking outside of the black and white? These journal prompts are a good place to start:
- In what areas of my life do I gravitate toward black and white thinking (e.g. health, relationships, work, faith, etc.)? Why? What do those thoughts look like?
- How do those thoughts and assumptions influence my beliefs in those areas? Are they beliefs I want to hold on to or challenge?
- What would “life in the grey” look like for this area of my life?
Looking to explore ways to embrace the grey areas of your life and challenge black and white assumptions? Book a session with our practice! You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free phone consultation with one of our clinicians.
By: Maddy Weingast, Assistant for Wildflower Therapy LLC