Although life is rarely black and white, it doesn’t mean that some people won’t see it as being this way. And while most people are going to see it this way from time to, there are going to be others who are unable to see it differently.
They are then on one side or they are on the other and everything in between is overlooked. To see life this way is going mean that one doesn’t really have to think; all they have to do is to go with the first response that their mind comes up with.
These responses could match up with what is taking place but at the same time, they could have nothing to do with it. To approach life in this way is going to mean that they don’t have to use as much energy as they would if they were to think about each situation.
A Good Reason
So in terms of saving energy (and if one was to look at this from a place of survival), it is the right approach to take. Yet, this is an approach that is not always as relevant in today’s world as it was in the past.
In the past, putting their ability to think to one side and simply reacting might have been the difference between life and death. But to act in this way as a way of life is likely to cause them to think and to act in ways that limit them.
If one was to take a different approach and to think about something as opposed to just coming to a rash conclusion, they will use more energy. This is backed up by the fact that the brain is the hungriest organ in the body.
On one side, one will lose something, but on the other, they will gain something. What they will gain is the ability to form more accurate conclusions about reality. And just like when one starts doing exercise for the first time, it is going to take more effort than if they have been exercising for months or even years.
As time passes, they will start to build momentum and it will become second nature. One might find that they are not as reliant on black and white thinking and they might look in between the lines in one area of their life at first or it could be something they apply to all areas.
This doesn’t mean that one should never use should black and white thinking; it means that they have another option. To say it is black and white thinking wouldn’t be completely accurate though, as it is what takes place when one doesn’t think.
One area where black and white thinking is often used is when it comes to experiencing regrets. Some people believe that there is no reason to regret anything and that life is too short to have them.
If one’s attention is consumed by something that happened last month or a number of years ago, it is clear that this is not having a positive effect on their life. And as life is short, why would one want to focus on something that’s in the past and can’t be changed.
When one regrets something, it can play on their mind and all the time they are focused on what they didn’t do right, they are missing out on what they can do in this moment. If it was possible to go back in time, then one could go back change what they did.
But even though this can sound like the perfect way to no longer have regrets, it could set one up to create other problems. This is why it could be said that regrets are part of life and not something that one can completely remove from their experience on this earth.
What’s The Purpose?
Based on how one can feel when they have regrets and as it can stop them from being present, it would be easy to say that they have no purpose. But is it really this black and white?
Human beings are designed to seek pleasure and to avoid pain and the present moment is where their power lies. However, this doesn’t mean that experiencing pain is always bad or that thinking about the past is always negative.
When one regrets something, they are aware of what they have done wrong. They are being reminded of the fact that they didn’t do what they wanted to do and this is why they are experiencing regret.
If one didn’t regret anything, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they live the perfect life, it is likely to mean they are out of touch with themselves. Human beings are imperfect; making mistakes and getting things wrong is part of life. It is not about trying to deny this, it is about embracing it.
Not only do regrets allow one to be notified of what they need to do differently to improve their own life, it is also a vital part of them being able to treat others in the right way. If one was to harm another and they were to regret what happened, it would mean they have empathy.
Yet if they were unable to regret hurting another, they would be able to hurt others and continue to act in the same way. This is because they wouldn’t know any different. Having the ability to experience regret is then a vital part of being able to grow and it is part of having a conscience.
So if one is stuck in the past and is unable to be present, it doesn’t mean they need to find a way to no longer experience regret, it could mean they have some emotional work to do. Once these experiences have been processed, it will free them up to see how the ability to regret things is an important part of being human. The assistance of a therapist, healer and/or a support group may be required here.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.