seeing the grey in life

life events often carry both light and shadows with them | S.S. on

As someone who has leaned on optimism for so long, I have been starting to see the value of the grey-ness in different life events, situations, as well as in people.

It happened when years later I started to realize that some of the past events in my life had negatively impacted me. And the reason why it took so many years was that I had always tried to put a positive spin on those events.

I tried hard to see what I had gained, and what new opportunities were open for me now, that weren’t there before. Much later, I started realizing that those life changes had taken an emotional toll on me that I just wasn’t aware of.

So the one thing that I have learned recently is to not ignore the ways in which a situation sucks just because you want to be optimistic about things and move forward quickly.

It’s okay – rather, it is important – that you acknowledge that an aspect in your life just sucked and made you feel terrible. You can be optimistic about things at the same time.

No matter the changes happening in our lives, it’s important that we acknowledge and accept our emotions as they are, rather than pushing the unpleasant ones away. Because instead of staying pushed away, they can come back to the surface much later and bother you again.

For example, you may be feeling grateful at graduating from university, and at knowing that you’re one of the lucky people in the population of humans on Earth that got to experience post-secondary education, but you can also admit to yourself that some aspects of that experience took a toll on you. It’s perfectly fine to feel happiness and grief in relation to the same event. Life and emotions are a little more nuanced like that.

When we acknowledge how a situation hurt us, or how undesirable it was for us, it helps us stay in touch with our emotions, release the pent-up negative energy that was the consequence of that event, and move forward with a lighter heart and a clearer mind.

Flowers because they look nice and calming 🙂 | Photo by Lisa on

And just like how situations in life aren’t black and white, neither are people. You can love someone deeply and see all their beautiful qualities shining right in front of you, and you can also get to experience some of their uglier sides.

You can still love that person. It just means we don’t put others on a pedestal but see them for who they currently are. People can possess both good and bad qualities at the same time. Sounds simple, but it can be harsh to realize this in practice if you’ve held them in such high esteem for a while.

The same thing can be applied to our own selves. Just because we try really hard to be a good person, and make sure all our actions are productive and kind towards others, doesn’t mean we don’t still hold the capacity to be hurtful anymore.

Instead of saying something like: “I could never make that mistake, I always try my best! I’m just not that kind of person!”, acknowledging the grey-ness of our own character can help us become more willing to notice and accept our flaws, and then continue working on them.

All in all life is much greyer than I previously thought, which sucks, and is alright at the same time 🙂


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