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The grey area
the right and the wrong
“I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing” This is something I often hear from my clients during sessions. I used to ask myself this question before beginning my self-growth journey. It’s understandable to be aware of whether we’re on the right path, but, in my experience and opinion, when we start to put ourselves in the good or the bad category, we stop being curious. We lose a big opportunity to understand our values and all that feels important and necessary to us. We also shut down our need to become vulnerable because we want to make sure, we’re in the category that is ‘good’.
As someone who is an empath, I’ve always been supportive of other people and why they are the way they are. I’ve usually steered clear of judgement even before I became a therapist and today, I realize what a gift it is. I’m often curious about why people are the way they are, especially if I’m hurt by them. Becoming a therapist and coach helped me enhance this skill and helped me make sense of it. I couldn’t understand it back then but today I do know how important it is to embrace the grey area and not always be confined to black and white.
We’re all caught in the web of what we’ve been taught, our past trauma and experiences. After a while, we start to walk on eggshells because we want to prevent ourselves from pain or making similar mistakes. I’ve never believed that things should be good or bad. I’ve mindfully tried to stay away from using the word ‘should’ as much as I can.
There are times when my clients tell me, ‘I know it’s wrong’ and I’ve always genuinely believed that there’s nothing right or wrong. It’s about our choices and our feelings and how we wish to show up in this world.
So, the real question(s) that we tend to ask ourselves when we get caught up between right and wrong is always, ‘What should I do?’ ‘How should I think?’ ‘How should I be?’
In my opinion, it always helps when we fall back and rely on our values. The values that we as adults have adopted. Values always work as the foundation of our lives in my opinion. In Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) values are one of the curial components. If you take a look at my counselling and coaching program too, values are the 2nd module and I like to work with clients very early on because it helps them think about the ideal version of themselves, they eventually want to be.
A lot of their questions on what is right and what is wrong and how to be more accepting of who they are, tend to clarify once they understand their values.
We often adopt a lot of our values from our parents and guardians and people we look up to. But I’ve always believed it wise to pause and question why we really want to accept these values. How does it help in our individuality?
Vulnerability is a value I cherish and it’s also something that people have often judged me for. I have certainly questioned if it is ‘wrong’ to be vulnerable. I have certainly questioned if it is ‘right’ to always have it together and be strong. And honestly, I’ve never really found an answer to that. I’ve always felt that for me, and my life, vulnerability falls in the grey area. It is important for me and so I embrace it. It could not be important for someone else and therefore they may think it’s wrong and I’ve felt that that’s completely okay too.
In my opinion, the grey area is our individuality, it makes us unique and helps us stand out from the rest of the world. There is no right or wrong in the values you (or others) upload and follow. It’s about how well you carry them and live with them.
In a world that’s ever-changing and evolving, we’re often going to find ourselves at the crossroads between right and wrong. We’re often going to feel confused and overwhelmed. We’re always going to question ourselves and, in my opinion, that’s how we grow and evolve. The grey area gives us the opportunity to change and take a step closer to who we wish to be.
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