Decoding if LIFE is Black and White or Grey
One question that has probably haunted my subconscious or if I may say Conscience, since forever, is whether LIFE is Black and White or Grey. Well, for the uninitiated, we all know that ‘black and white’ is the commonly used figurative metaphor for relating to the wrong and the right in life, respectively. And so does the grey in life refer to the area where the lines between this black and white, or wrong and right tends to blur or rather assimilate into each other, forming an entirely new cloud of space of grey, that can neither be categorized as white nor black.
I am sure, this dilemma has hit many of you, several times, at different phases in your life. As much as our conditioning has trained us to, we tend to put everything from situations to people, thoughts and as far as even our own actions under the radar of black and white. But what is exactly this black and white or definitions of right and wrong and how do we accurately categorize and slot everything into just these two categories. Is black always wrong and white always right? Do we have something like absolutely wrong and absolutely right? Can’t my wrong be your right and your right be wrong to me? Who is the ultimate judge or the deciding force to take a call on black and white or right and wrong when we are not able to reach a consensus? Will wrong always lead to bad and right always lead to good? Should we never be accepting black or wrong in our life? Is good always the right way to go about and wrong always the one to refrain from? These questions have baffled me for years and I have scouted to look for their answers everywhere around me, within me, but have failed miserably each time.
And every time that I failed to reach to a leading conclusion, my mind has wandered into thoughts of depreciating self-doubt, low self-esteem, delusion, often resulting in irrational behavior with others and myself too. I have felt baffled, confused, doubted my wisdom, my sense of discretion, even my education. I have lost my confidence completely, doubted my sensibility to make any decisions and felt miserably helpless in the face of adversities, not being able to decide what’s wrong and right for me. Often succumbing to bouts of self-deprecation fearing failure and disaster in whatever I’ll do. We have all been so sternly taught to follow the right path, do good, be right always, since our very formative years, that we just cave into believing that everything that does not fall into the boundaries of the socially and vastly accepted norms of the world is wrong. All through our years, it is constantly fed into our heads that this is right, and this is wrong and if we follow or adapt wrong, we are bad. But as we grow up, we form our own definitions and the earlier definitions don’t fit into these new concepts. And then we are stranded alone again, all baffled and confused.
As I stepped into adulthood, I was quite confident and ignorantly stern about my definitions of right and wrong, black and white as aptly fed into my head by the surroundings and just through all the learnings of my growing up years. Often touted as very well raised child who knew her rights and wrongs and abided well by them. Life ahead seemed pretty easy and sorted.
As they say, “Your life is a result of the choices that you make.” So, it was quite put forth there. Choose the right path, adapt the white, discard the black, and you are on the right track. Rest everything would work out for the best on its own. A couple of years later, as I get more familiar with the REAL world out there, REAL being the pivotal word here, I realised shit !, its nothing black and white, it is ALL GREY out there. I was an ignorant fool, living in my own cocoon.
Those dated concepts of right and wrong no longer existed. I needed to unlearn everything and adapt to the ways of working of this practical world. Life is not black and white, its Grey. People are not black and white, they are Grey. There is nothing as right or wrong. Whatever succeeds is right, and whatever fails, failed because it was wrong. If black succeeds, then black is the new right. It all got very intertwined and confusing in my head. Those deeply embedded beliefs were shaken. Faith in concepts that I had lived by for all my life had failed. I realised I needed to stop holding on so strongly to those dated concepts of black and white. Submitting myself into believing that life out there is grey and I need to accept it that way. Because I didn’t want to be all white and right but fail.
I stopped judging people. They were all right and I needed to accept black and wrong also, because my new learnings taught me to believe that’s how life works. I need to stop categorizing things as absolute black and absolute white and so strongly guarding myself against all black. I realised I had been keeping myself closed to so many things in life, because I considered them black and wrong. But now I was suddenly opening myself to everything.
But another decade into adulthood, I find myself still not coming to terms with the black of the world. Subconsciously my mind and instincts still judge everything on black and white. Yes, with knowledge, experience, exposure and more acceptability of the world around, I definitely have started viewing a lot of things as white which earlier fell into the realms of black for me. But yes, there are some aspects which were black earlier and still remain black to me and I can never bring myself to accepting them. I still couldn’t take my world as grey. My rights and wrongs were again getting defined, just at a different phase in life this time. And yes, all that experience gained over the years, did dilute some boundaries, the stern definitions had certainly undergone a change. I became more flexible, acceptable and accommodating. I learnt to view things from other’s perspectives as well. I learnt to believe that perspectives drastically different from mine do exist and they could be as equally right as mine.
And yet again, I stand at that same spot in my head, trying to figure out if THE LIFE is black and white or grey. But this time, I stand with a concrete answer. Life has no colour. Neither is it black and white nor grey. It is what it is. Life is a journey and people are characters. We try to compartmentalize them into colours, but people are not black, white or grey. What’s wrong for you might be right for me, and yet we both might be right at the same time. We all have our own trajectories in life, our different upbringings, different backgrounds, life puts us through different experiences, and we tend to form our own opinions, our own definitions of what is right and what is wrong. Yes, and what we don’t agree with or maybe have not been exposed to, we term it as wrong. But that’s not how it is. Your wrong maybe right for someone else. And had you been out into that situation, that right would have been right for you too then.
What I have realised is that one needs to stick with their core through it all. You need to have marked definitions of what is black and white for you, but yet be incredibly open to accepting towards the other person’s right and wrong. That should not become grey for you. It is important to stick with your value systems at the end of the day, else you would stand as a confused, formless being at the loss of their own identity.
One doesn’t necessarily need to always be striving to abide by this segregation of black and white. Enjoy life. Stay true to your values and never say never to anything. You never know when these lines of black and white get blurred and you might find yourself standing at the other side of the spectrum. Be less judgmental and more empathetic. A lot of times people become a caricature of the situations in their life and that is when the lines of black and white tend to lose their significance.
Stay happy and live to the fullest !