Is it all black and white...
Or is it time to play with the grey? When we are children we learn what is right and wrong firstly from those who raise us; then from those who educate us and next from our peers and social groups. And if we each think back to those times now we can probably quite easily remember the people who informed our early choices:
‘Clear your plate, it’s wrong to leave food.’
‘Don’t question, just do as you are told.’
‘Don’t wear that, it’s not cool.’
‘If you do this, it will be good for your career.’
And so the influencers go on.
When you think about the guidance we were given and the beliefs that we assumed, they are often quite black and white in their approach and thinking i.e. if you leave food on your plate it’s wrong, you have made a bad decision therefore you are wrong. A clean plate is good and equals a good decision therefore you are good. Everything is sorted in our mind and we don’t need to think about it again – a clear plate = a good decision and a good person therefore anyone who doesn’t clear their plate is bad – end of story.
Wow! What a long way from a caring parent simply encouraging their beloved child to eat well has this message come?!
So, where is the grey here? The grey is the communication and the understanding that is often missed out. The message has been reduced down to: a clear plate = a good person. What was the original message of ‘clear your plate it’s wrong to leave food.’ actually trying to convey?
Was it, you are wrong not to want to eat everything, that food is precious and should not be wasted, that vegetables make us healthy so eat them, that I have control over you so do as I say, ‘I’m worried about you not eating enough but I can’t say that to you’, ‘I didn’t have enough food growing up so I want you to have what I didn’t’, that I have trouble expressing my love for you so I give you lovely food as a way of demonstrating this, ‘disagree with me! I want you to learn to tell me why you don’t want to eat it so you can learn to communicate what is right for you’… And these are just a few over what might lay behind what on the surface can be seen as a very simple statement.
So, what grey might be behind the statements you hear every day?
What grey are you potentially communicating with the things you say and the actions you take each day; how can you make yourself more clear?