Living Shades of Gray: The Importance of Flexibility

Perhaps I reeled you in thinking I had tips related to the steamy series…but now that you’re here, read on. Maybe it was a sign!

As a person that tends to be most comfortable in a black and white world, learning to embrace the shades of gray in between has been a challenge, and a gift. Stepping outside my comfort zone has provided some of the greatest life lessons, and adventures, I have known.  Along the way there have been disappointments, wrong turns, and failure, but they in their own way were important parts of the journey.

There are benefits to living in a black and white, right or wrong world. You are not required to give a lot of thought to options, or opposing viewpoints. Life is far simpler when you keep boundaries tight, and the unknown at bay. Your days have a certain rhythm that is not only predictable, but also comfortable. When you surround yourself with people just like you in many ways, you are frequently supported in your worldview. Anyone outside your group – family, community, country or belief system – is not to be trusted, believed or in some cases respected.

When we hold hard and fast to what we believe is right, we make assumptions about what, and who, is wrong. When we believe whole-heartedly that our way is the only way that is good, we make assumptions about what, and who, is bad. Inviting flexibility into our lives does not require us to waver in what we believe to be true for ourselves, but it does require us to be respectful to those with differing opinions. It invites us to consider possibilities that exist beyond the parameters we have set for ourselves.

While it is obvious to consider how this applies to political, religious, and lifestyle choices – the truly positive thing about considering shades of gray can be the difference it offers to us in our day-to-day lives.  For me I never really had black and white problems with big issues – it was more in figuring out what I was “supposed” to be doing in any of my life roles. It was tied up in what a “good” student, worker, wife, mother, friend was as determined by outside influences instead of my own heart, soul, and mind. I was held back by internalized messages of “who do you think you are”, and a recurring fight with how others thought a responsible grown up should behave.

The ability to let go of rigidity and truly go with the flow was life altering. It opened doors, altered relationships and allowed me to become more than I ever thought I could be. Some of these changes also required me to navigate difficult situations, and make tough choices, but even those instances were easier when tempered with flexibility and open mindedness. The acceptance that change is good, relationships change and grow, and that we can be grateful for gifts in our lives even when the people or things that brought them to us go away is freeing. The ability to be flexible, and positive, knowing that there is always so much more to learn is truly a gift.

Living in shades of gray, being open minded, allowing for change and seeing the positive in all situations is an ongoing thing. Some days are challenging, you feel yourself being pulled back into old habits – do not give up! Those are the days where you look for the “power of positive thinking” to push you along. I truly will let everything from a great parking spot to a song on the radio be a “true sign” of good things to come! Perhaps even reading this, thinking it would be about something else was your sign today!




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