If someone was to watch an old black and white film, they could describe it as being a bit one-dimensional. There will be two colours, black and white, and there will even be some grey, but that will be it.
After this, they could end up watching a film that has recently been released, with it being clear how much of a difference there is between the two. They will notice the colours that have been mentioned above and they will notice so many others.
Most likely, it will have been far more enjoyable for them to watch the second film than it will have been for them to watch the first film. If it isn’t the case, it could just show that they enjoyed the novelty of the experience.
One reason why they will like the second film more than the first could be because it has a lot more variety. As there is far more colour, it will absorb more of their attention and lead to a far more pleasing experience.
The level of variety that will be found in the modern-day films will mirror the level of variety that is found in the world. However, even though the real world is not black and white like an old film, it doesn’t mean that someone will be able to realise this.
In general, they could have a very one-dimensional view of the world and the people who inhabit it. They are then going to live in a world that is full of colour, so to speak, but they won’t be able to accept this.
The Average Person
Their experience is going to be radically different from someone who is able to accept that life is multi-dimensional. Someone like this will probably engage in black and white thinking from time to time but it won’t be their primary way of operating.
This will enable them to feel better about themselves and to have better relationships with others. The reason for this is that they won’t have the inclination to see themselves as being either worthless or amazing, or to see others in the same way.
The Full Spectrum
They will then be able to make a mistake or to do something wrong without beating themselves up. Likewise, another person will be able to make a mistake or to do something wrong without one viewing them as less-than-human.
If they do something right, they will be able to feel good without elevating themselves above anyone, and, if someone else does something right, they won’t need to put them on a pedestal. Undoubtedly, living in this way is going to result in a more balanced and harmonious existence.
One Step Back
When someone generally has a one-dimensional view of the world, their life is going to be very much like a black and white film. This might not stand out, though, as it could just be what is normal.
Thus, through experiencing life in this way for so long, they won’t be able to see how restrictive it is. What could make it even harder for them to notice is that they could be surrounded by people who are the same, along with living in a society that encourages this way of perceiving life.
A Rocky Road
On an average day, they could either feel really bad or really good, with them rarely having moments when they are in-between these two extremes. Further, they could often see someone as being totally worthless or as being an incredible human being.
Based on how they often see themselves and others, it will be clear that their responses to life are primarily emotional, as opposed to responses that they have thought through. If their intellect was more involved, they would be able to have a more balanced, and nuanced, outlook.
If they see another person as being all bad, they will have demonised or dehumanised them. As a result of this, they will have stripped away everything that makes them human and all of their good parts.
This person is then not going to possess anything that is good. Due to a lack of awareness around what is going on, they won’t be able to see that this is just their view and that it is not the truth.
One way of looking at this would be to say that someone like this will have the tendency to use a defence mechanism known as splitting. This will illustrate that they struggle to tolerate ambiguity and to face painful feelings.
For example, instead of facing their own toxic shame, they can project it into another, seeing them as less-than-human in the process. This will allow them to feel better about themselves, with them being good and the other being bad.
If they had the ability to face their own toxic shame, for example, there would be no reason for them to project in into others. Rather, they would be able to face how they feel and this would stop them from needing to take away another person’s humanity.
From this, it could be said that while they are an adult, and they might even have a well-developed body, their emotional self is stunted. They are going to lack the ability to regulate their own emotions and this will have a negative effect on their ability to think rationally.
Back In Time
What this could illustrate is that their early years were not very nurturing, with this being a time when they were abused and/or neglected. This would have also caused them to experience a lot of toxic shame that they had to disconnect from.
By not getting the care that they needed to develop in the right way, it would have prevented them from going through the important developmental task - at around three years old - of merging two images together. The image of the good mother and the bad mother wouldn’t have been merged, causing their development to be stuck at a point in time when others, and themselves, were either good or bad.
If one can relate to this, and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided by the assistance of a therapist or healer.
There will the trauma that they need to work through and they will need to clear up their cognitive distortions. As they work through their pain, they may find that it is easier for them to be more balanced.
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Oliver JR 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.