No. 6 – Gray Thinking

No. 6 – Gray Thinking

Dear One,

Each week, my intention is to offer you possible ways of rising from adversity – based on my challenging experiences and study – such that you may discover Light in dark times.

‘Gray Thinking’ (instead of black and white thinking) is another aid to me which, little by little, reduces perfectionism which assists me in navigating through challenges.

As our son reminded me, it’s “Un-perfectionizing, Mom” which gradually helps me (well, us) choose open minded-ness and flexibility and being less ‘hard’ on ourselves (and, hence, each other).

Perfectionism is a rather “self-destructive … belief system” per Brene Brown in her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ which often made me feel at fault 9 times out of 10 (regardless of if it was merited or not) or that I was not ‘enough’. 

My perfectionistic way of thinking up until (and through) much of my illness journey was rather black and white with underlying anxiety that, no matter what, I felt I just didn’t cut it.  Sigh. 

I didn’t realize until I was on my knees in 2017, nearly losing everything, that perfectionistic thinking hemmed (hems) me in – wedding me to 1 idea or 1 way of acting or thinking…which limited options or possibilities (or relationships.  Ahem.)

Un-perfectionizing or Gray Thinking helped (helps) open me to thinking differently and considering diverse ideas.  Altering the way I treat myself (by being more kind to myself and/or more ok with my imperfections) was (is) also crucial to my healing (in more ways than 1).

Exploring or being open to thinking in various shades of Gray (un-perfectionizing), little by little, increased my going-with-the-flow and reduced (gradually…) internal emotional pain I felt (feel).  Practicing acknowledging my vulnerabilities (shame or judging myself or people pleasing or feeling rejected) and choosing a flexible, tolerant approach to issues allows me to feel (more) ok as I am – imperfect – and others are and have (more) compassion for myself and others so I better deal with whatever issues arise.

Choosing un-perfectionizing goes something like this for me…

When I catch myself thinking in a black and white/all or nothing way (and my internal angst notches up – in my chest), I consciously (when I realize it) make a choice.  I decide (not always gracefully) to consider Gray Thinking or various ways of looking at an issue.  Sometimes I have to pause, pray, wait for emotion to die down or go silent first… before I am able to Gray Think and consider multiple viewpoints.

When the problem involves another, I guess at what the other person is feeling (when I think to do it).  I attempt to summon a ‘shared experience’ feeling in myself (AKA, I get what they feel because I have been there) to consider various possibilities for Gray Thinking.  Oh my, it can get uncomfortable.  When I take the risk (feeling uncomfortable sometimes) and practice Gray Thinking and, then, acting (often adding in praying – when it comes to me), the shackles of perfectionism weaken and I better connect with Truth, myself and others.

The more I practice un-perfectionizing, the easier (ok, sometimes less painful) it gets and the more kindness and calm increases (internally and in my relationships).

With Gray Thinking and love beams,


Original Email Date May 23, 2020

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