09 Mar Feeling Intense? Maybe You’re Thinking in Black and White

Last week in the office, I had a minimum of 5 clients say to me, “That’s just how I am, for me it’s black or white”. I get it! People who are good at setting expectations and pushing themselves usually have some black and white thinking. Let’s not let go of that.

Here’s the challenge: People aren’t black and white. During the times where you are thinking in terms of black and white, I guarantee you this: the people around you are not feeling seen. People are never just black and white. The scared person is also mad, the smart kid is also scared, the checked out person who doesn’t appear to care actually cares so much that they are completely overwhelmed.

When people don’t feel seen, they’ll react to it.

When people don’t feel seen, they’ll react to it. Now you’ve got another layer of problems to deal with (big sigh).

For me, the ingredients in my black and white thinking were: having a bright mind, having an intense will, and really having some experiences as a kid where I felt controlled (and actually yes, not feeling seen, this whole thing is a cycle). When I felt misunderstood and I really wanted my folks to see what I was experiencing on the inside, I felt helpless but didn’t know how to deal with it. Eventually, my mind tried to take care of it but unfortunately the mind does a pretty crummy job of processing overwhelming emotions, so the emotion gets placed in 1 of 2 boxes, black or white.

The up side is that I’m good in a crisis. The down side was that when I was using black and white thinking, I was invalidating to a lot of people.

5 minute remedy for Black and White Thinking:
What “side” am I taking (For instance, “Bob DOESN’T care about me because he didn’t do the dishes)
How is the other side true (List the ways that Bob does show his caring)
How am I not caring for Bob? (For instance, just seeing the part of him that forgets to do the dishes)
What is my fear underneath?

As we learn to think, love and act in colour, we experience the depth of our existence and the power of our capabilities and allow others to do the same. Don’t give up your ability to see black and white, but add some colour in between.

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