Not everything in life is a black and white choice. I created this piece by playing with a needle tip pen and acrylic inks. I stumbled upon it earlier today and it reminded me that not everything has a wrong or right way. It would be easier if it went that way, yet most decisions in real life have to do with making a decision and then sticking to it. But not everything is even that simple.
There are so many decisions that we make each day that impact our futures. What to eat, whether or not to exercise, what we do for work, how we choose to spend our time energy, the words we say or don’t say, the people we let into our world, or the ones we lock out. Do we give more money or hold onto it? Do we say yes to multiple requests, or when should we say no? How do we know when we are making the right choices and when do we deviate from our current plan?
All that assumes you have a plan or path, which may not be correct. Different generations make decisions for different reasons and choose to follow different paths or plans depending upon what they have experienced. Friends who grew up very poor are more frugal with their financial decisions for obvious reasons. Those who grew up with money or may not have had to face financial woes may seem a bit more frivolous with their spending. Someone paying for their own education makes different choices than someone on scholarship. Married people make choices differently then singles. Pet lovers have different priorities than those without pets. Youth sees the world differently than those with decades under their belts. You get it, we are all different.
Then a friend calls and tells you about their current dilemma. From your perspective it seems like a simple choice, but remember, you are not them. You do not completely understand their priorities, have no idea what is really going on in their head, and have not lived what they have lived. So what seems like an easy choice to you may not be that simple to them. It isn’t always black and white. This is usually the best time to employ kindness, ratchet up your listening skills and put judgement in a box far out of reach. They need your support and to talk it through, not to hear what you think they should do – even if you think you can solve it all.
Once I learned that my black was someone else’s white, and vice versa my ability to be a friend and valued colleague improved immensely. By suspending my own judgement even if I could see only black or only white I was able to catch a glimpse of their definition of black or white from their perspective.