Not everything has to be black and white!

Not everything has to be black and white!
Photo by Patrick Perkins / Unsplash

Do you feel like you can conquer the world one day and then feel like a potato the next day? Do you feel excited and nervous about things at the same time? Do you feel like you are a good person in one moment and like a terrible person in another context? Do you feel like you are both spiritual and worldly/materialistic? Do you often find yourself more on the spectrum rather than in the extremities? I do!

Not too long ago, I used to think mostly in a binary way or say either this or that kind of way. But recently I have been thinking that life, people, and things, in general, do not have to be black and white. Things can exist in a spectrum rather than in extremes. Let’s take a simple example, I used to believe that I was an extroverted person, and if someone said I was introverted, I would laugh it off. However, upon reflection, I realized I am more of an ambivert, charging with people’s energy in some situations and feeling drained in others. While I love being around people, I also cherish my own space with a book or my thoughts. People might perceive me as either introverted or extroverted based on when they encounter me, but it does not capture the full spectrum of my personality. Only last week, someone told me that I must be a quiet person who always stays indoors and is engrossed in books. While that may be true in some situations, those who know me closely also know that I have a whole different personality as well. Just like my personality, there are a lot of things that exist in duality. You all must have heard of the saying that people are not entirely bad; there are positive traits in everyone. Or something like even on a bad day there are still moments of brightness. My point is we do not need to try to categorize things as black and white all the time, there’s real fun in embracing duality in life.

Let me provide another example as well. I love traveling; I love being in different places and experiencing different things. But lately, I have realized that as much as I love traveling and spontaneity, I also love my routine and structured life. I love waking up at the same time, following a morning routine, enjoying the same breakfast, and sipping my coffee in the same cup every day. However, I have noticed that people quickly put me in the box of being more structured and overlook my spontaneous side. I am not writing this to prove to anyone anything about me rather, I am merely using my experiences as examples because, truthfully, I am guilty of doing the same. As a human, I, too, make snap judgments about people I meet, creating perceptions and narratives in my mind like, “This person is amazing” or “This person is terrible.” So, I am actively trying to keep this perspective of duality in my head and refrain from making hasty judgments. After all, no person is absolutely good or absolutely bad and isn’t it the combination of good and bad that make us human?

In the past, I even judged myself harshly for experiencing negative emotions, but looking at my negative thoughts and feelings more objectively has helped me become more compassionate toward myself as well. Lately, I have also noticed that I have been able to be more forgiving to myself and others. Therefore, it would not be an exaggeration to say that embracing this perspective has significantly contributed to my mental peace.

Similarly, with a lot of our thoughts and feelings, we cannot remain in the extremities at all times. No person can be happy or sad at all times. More often, we may experience dual emotions simultaneously. You can be happy about something while also feeling sad about other things. I have felt nervous and excited at the same time, and I am sure you have experienced it too. It is possible to experience a range of emotions on both ends frequently. I sometimes find myself sandwiched between feelings of spirituality and materialism, and I am glad that I am not the only one who feels this way. I recently had this conversation with a bunch of friends, and we all felt like we were on the same page with our feelings.

And such is the nature of life. Life does not have to be this or that; it can very well be this and that. So, let's not limit ourselves to one end of anything and allow ourselves and others to exist in the spectrum of duality. 😊