either/or
January 25, 2013 by
Categories: Acceptance, Human

“The thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Kristyn’s post from last week was timely for me. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the problems that arise from thinking in either/or terms. I think I’m done with dialectics, thinking in terms of absolutes. So many people that I talk to, along with myself, believe that black and white thinking is dangerous and doesn’t reflect reality. There are so many other possibilities in between. It reminds me of a book, The Giver, where the population literally sees the world in black and white. In the story, only two people can see the world of color, which also happens to coincide with experiencing depths of emotion. I’m afraid that so many times that I also tend to see the world in black and white without realizing it. I am trying to be more aware of this and recognize that the way I approach the world needs to be in accordance with how I believe the world works.

Sometimes I hear people declare that they are a horrible parent, and mean it sincerely. To the rest of us, we see the sacrifices they make (or at least we should) and how they are doing the best they can with what they have (again, at least we should). The truth is, most of us are not either bad or good parents, if we are going to assign labels, we are good and bad parents. I have had my parenting moments that have not shined, that my yelling may have scared my kids, I’ve made poor choices as a parent…and… I have also had times where I have shined as a parent, I’ve attending to my children’s needs, and I’ve provided the nurturance they need.

Image by djLicious

Image by djLicious

This idea of replacing either/or with both/and (as I did above) is not a new concept, but sometimes its implications can be confusing. For example, I hold inside of me two beliefs that contradict each other. They are opposing beliefs where the either/or way of thinking should apply: either this one is correct, or this one is. I’ve recently become ok with believing that: both this one is correct and this one as well.

Don’t confuse this with sitting on the fence or my indecisiveness–I’ve clearly made up my mind that I believe in both. It’s quite paradoxical, sometimes frustrating, but mostly liberating and very human. How many times do we contradict ourselves anyway? I think it’s all part of the complexity that makes us human and something to be appreciated rather than fixed. It provides us with an opportunity to grow because it keeps us thinking, experiencing, and viewing the world in its full range of color.

You may be interested in...

Perspectives on shame, Part II
Growing pains
I Walk Down the Street
Recent posts What we blog about
acceptance adventure Change charter for compassion clients coming back compassion Connection coping couples don't give up emotions empathy family fear feelings grief growth happiness healing health human humility inner fight journey life loneliness metaphors mindfulness perspective quote relationship relationships relationship with client sadness self self-growth self-inquiry self acceptance shame sharing stress therapist therapy vulnerability

2 Thoughts About either/or

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*