I’m Slowly Learning That Life Isn’t Just Black And White

woman wearing white dress raising her two hands surrounded white petaled flowers during sunset
Andressa Voltolini / Unsplash

When you find yourself looking out at people who appear to have their lives so much more together than you, at lifestyles that you aspire to have, at the seemingly effortless way people say they make things happen, remember this: nothing is that simple. Nothing is usually as it seems.

We go through parts of our lives thinking there is only a specific way to do something, to accomplish, to achieve goals. We sometimes believe that everything is simply black or white, that there is a right or wrong way to move through life, and because of that belief, we wrongly label ourselves accordingly. At times we struggle to find the right way, the acceptable way to go about our lives. We analyze situations we face and determine our next moves based on our perceived notion of the right way.

Of course, there is the argument of logic, situations that actually are black and white…like the law. But what about everything that pertains to who we really are as humans? The beliefs we have, the decisions we make, the relationships we build, the paths we follow?

I’m still slowly learning that the different journeys we take and roads we turn down can never just be black and white because it is in those pivotal decision making moments that we bring color into our lives.

We are constantly faced with challenges because the raw reality is that life is unpredictable. Shit happens, we battle illness, depression, loss, pain. We will go through trying times that leave us feeling confused on how to move through or move forward. But as hard as those times may be, they’re part of growth, part of knowing ourselves, part of life. And there is no correct way to deal with them. If we acknowledge our struggles, emotions, situational or maybe more serious depression, and find what helps us cope and persevere, that in itself is a good start to moving through.

I’ve struggled with understanding the notion of black and white in the realm of relationships. To me, it’s basic logic. If you’re in a relationship or situation that does not serve you, you need to remove yourself and spare yourself, and anyone involved, the unhappiness. No matter how complex you convince yourself it is, how challenging you know it’s going to be, how bad you feel about breaking someone’s heart, relationships usually fall into the black and white category. We are the ones who make them difficult and mix in the shades of gray when we’re unwilling to admit that change needs to be made. I know this from experience, staying in a situation with someone for too long when I absolutely knew all I needed to do was walk away. Sometimes it’s not that simple, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t know that already. It means I chose to stay when I should’ve left. Love isn’t black and white, but unhealthy relationships are.

While every action has a reaction or consequence, many variables can determine those consequences. There is a unique result to every decision you make and that can change at any given time. Everything is dependent on many factors, and those factors are ever changing. There is no way to predict our lives. Even if we have ideas of how we’d like our lives to go, goals we’d like to accomplish by a certain timeline, nothing can be set in stone because we are constantly evolving. We experience, we learn, we grow.

Every day you make choices on how your story will continue and decisions that will always impact your future, whether for the present or long-term. And each encounter and moment, good or bad, is unique to you, part of who you are, a chapter in your story that is not yet written. When it comes to life, we’re all learning and experiencing as we go, there is no right or wrong way to live. All you can do is take comfort in knowing that your life story is not black and white because every day in every way, you are still writing it. TC mark

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