My Key To Be Happy: Forget Binarism
We are trained to think in terms of black and white, but there’s a lot of shades of gray. And also, colors.
Since we start to talk, people teach us everything as polars:
Black — White
Winner — Loser
Good — Bad
Pretty — Ugly
Happy — Sad
You get it.
After half a life living with persistent depressive disorder (PDD, or what was known as ‘dysthymia’), I’m starting to feel OK. Heavy medication with close surveillance of my doctor, and regular psychotherapy for almost 12 years are making the trick.
And this: Erase binary thinking. Not only by stop judging things as good or bad, but also describing those things to myself as more than that. I analyze my experiences by trying to use less extreme -and more accurate- adjectives to describe feelings, situations, tastes, etc. Everything feels less severe.
That food was bad.
Mmm… actually the meat was overcooked, and that kind of ruin the plate, but it was well seasoned and I enjoyed the vegetables.
That music sucks.
I don’t like that kind of music. That’s why I don’t hear it when I’m in charge of the playlist.
I’m a total failure.
I’m very depressed and low energy right now. The things I’m trying to do now seem more difficult because of that.
Language is rich for a reason. When we evaluate something and only use extremes, later we save our memories as “the good ones” and “the bad ones”, and for me that was a mistake.
Just like in gender, for me almost all things can be fluid and navigate between the polars. And yeah, of course there are things inherently bad, as killing a baby kitten or voting for Trump are, but that’s not the point to be made here.
Ultimately, is the way I found to be useful to stop being so harsh on myself. As in my examples, when I start to use this criteria to process events, I train myself to make this with my own actions, decisions, body-image, etc.
The best example is colors: Trying to see things as black and white seems a little short when you have all those colors available.