Just to be clear, I haven't read the book. Yet! And that's not what this post is about. I felt that I needed to out that to avoid disappointing you.
So, what's this post about?
It's really about how we view the world. Do we view it as black and white or as many shades of grey? Is it really important?
Several recent events in my life have highlighted the difference to me. Is life really black and white? Is it appropriate to make snap decisions and judgements based on the black and white evidence? What are the consequences?
I'll give you an example (not recent – I'll save that for another time); between 2006 and 2010 I cried a lot. I cried at work, I cried at home, I cried in my yoga classes, I cried on the bus, I cried in the tube, I cried walking along the street. I was very sensitive and easy to upset.
The black and white was that I was hypersensitive, over-emotional and emotionally unstable.The grey of the situation was that on 1st May 2006 I lost my 24 year old brother, my one and only sibling, in a horrid, pointless accident. Previous to that, in 1997 I had lost my dad, also in an accident, which I had never really processed. The grief for the loss of my dad came flooding through with the death of my brother. At this time my mum fell apart, barely able to string a sentence together for months. I had no other close family to share this burden with. I had never felt so utterly lonely and destitute in my life.
I wasn't suicidal – I loved life too much for that – but I found it very difficult to cope with any stress, pressure or judgement from others. In September 2006 I started a new job. I explained at the start of my recent loss. I managed the first two weeks before the pressure got the better of me. I often fell into fits of grief, unable to stop crying for prolonged periods of time. My managers didn't get it and told me to get a grip. My confidence was shot. I soon didn't know what I was crying about because of the sheer overwhelm of the pressures of the work which added to my home situation. I ended up being signed off work multiple times by my barely simpathetic GP. By mid-February 2007, my shame of my inability to perform at work got the better of me and I quit, without any other job to go to.
It took me three more years and a lot of work on myself to find myself again.
These days I often get described as high energy, optimistic, abundantly positive and fearless. I cry very rarely, and when I do, it's usually just a little weep that's a release of frustration and tension. Once it happens, I'm over it and I can move on very quickly.
In those years, between 2006 and 2010, I struggled with the black and white judgements of others – and of myself (guilty as charged). Nowadays I feel blessed to have so much compassion and understanding thanks to my experience. I don't see the world as black and white anymore. There's always something behind the black and white, if you bother to scratch the surface. And yes, I do feel optimistic, positive, energetic and pretty fearless most of the time as I know that I'll always be able to pick myself up again, whatever life throws at me. These traits, I believe, lend themselves brilliantly to being a compassionate, yet gently challenging coach. I know what's possible. I don't profess, at the age of 33 to have all of the answers, however, I feel confident about where I might find them, or where I might help my clients find them.
As a celebration of the beauty of life and the exciting chapters currently unfolding for me, I have opened up two coaching spaces at a very special rate for June and July only. If you'd like to take me up on a complimentary 30 minute taster session to find out how I can support you to have a more fulfilled life, please click here.
To finish up, I'd like to leave you with a couple of questions:
Where in your life have you been too black and white in your judgement (of others or yourself)?
What can you learn from the grey below the surface?
Please share your thoughts and insights below. I love your comments and they may also be helpful to others.