We live in a diverse world, I think most people see that nowadays. It’s a world where people are all on incredibly different journeys. Journeys most of us haven’t even begun to understand. Almost every day, I read an article or book about someone’s life which helps me to see things from a new perspective. I think this is the case for many of us nowadays with our online world. There’s less room for black and white thinking. That’s a benefit of social media which we don’t hear about often enough. This means that it’s time to embrace the grey.
I’m not talking about how older people should be confident with the change of their hair colour (although if you are, power to you). I’m talking about how black and white thinking should really be binned. Anyone with internet access has the means to broaden their perspective. They have the means to embrace the grey.
I’m constantly hearing cases of black and white thinking. “I believe in divorce but only after a number of years of trying to fix your marriage. Not like that Kim K woman.” “I believe that transgender people should have rights, but that whole non-binary thing is just confusing. I think they’re just trying to be difficult.” “I recognise that some people in the traveller community are good people (whatever the fuck society describes as a good person) but most of them are just criminals.” “I believe everyone has the right to practice their religion, but the muslim faith encourages violence.” “I’m pro-choice, but only in the case of certain abortions.” Stating you are pro something, followed by a but means entirely the opposite.
Overcoming Black and White Thinking.
Black and white thinking has no place in our modern world. Most people accept that there are many things in the world which they struggle to understand, but nevertheless, many people continue to think in a black and white manner. Embracing the grey means accepting that the majority of people are trying their best to get by day-to-day. It means acknowledging that not everything can be divided into good and bad. Recognising that unless we know exactly what someones going through, it’s not our place to judge them. In fact, it’s recognising that we can’t ever really know exactly what someone’s going through.
It’s realising that we’ve all made decisions we aren’t proud of. We all have things that haunt us. We all have burdens to carry that people can’t begin to understand. I no longer judge people on their choices, I judge them on their treatment of people. Somewhat ironically, I often judge them on how much they judge others. I’ve always been very uncomfortable with people not having the power to choose their own paths. I’ve always been very uncomfortable with judgement. I think black and white thinking often signifies a lack of empathy, a deficit of compassion.
Obviously there are exceptions. There are cases where judging people is vital. Rape, senseless violence, hurting people unnecessarily things. These are all things that would thrive in a world without judgement. What I’m encouraging here is banishing judgement in the case of one circumstance. If somebody is doing something that causes no intentional harm to another human being, it is not your place to judge them. If someone is doing their best to make a choice that is right for them, it is not your prerogative to give your opinion on that. I know I would probably be accused of being “too PC” or whatever, but judgement causes real harm for people who already have to suffer from difficult circumstances. I would love to live in a world where people accepted more and judged less.
I was shocked to discover that after all these years of believing myself to be quite confident, I actually had low self-esteem. Read about it here.