Between watching the painfully drawn out US election with my breath held, feeling confused about how gleeful Arknob’s arrest was making me feel and generally being caught up in a whirlwind of hopelessness and hope and feeling extreme FOMO about possibly never having a fighting chance with kicking out our very own Fascist, it’s been a long and hard week of questioning ideas of good and bad, right and wrong (left?), yet again.
The unconscious holds information about how and why our rigid ideas of “good” and “bad”, “palatable” and “ugly”, “right and “wrong” came to be. When we observe our own patterns, triggers, traumas and all the cover motivations for overt actions that silently guide our behaviour, we can accept the innate humanness in ourselves. We can also then let loose the rigidity around these ideas, and see others around us, as just as human.
This is the truth about our humanness. And an important piece to understand and integrate. Because good people are capable of devastating actions. Safe people can act in unsafe ways. Trustworthy people may let you down. Proficient people also make mistakes. Well-intended love can sometimes take hurtful forms. Fair people have biases too. This is what it means to be human.
There is safety in categorising experiences and emotions into watertight opposites. Traumatic experiences make it difficult to venture into grey areas in-between. It makes it hard to accept that everyone has a rich life experience that colours the canvas of their personalities in different shades. Just like our own.
This leaves no room for humanness, causing disappointment, stress and further trauma in the long run. Looking within sets off a beautiful cycle — what we notice and acknowledge in ourselves, we notice and acknowledge in others. The more we accept our own humanness, with all the grey areas, the more we are able to see the world and how human beings tick with gentler eyes. Whether it is understanding family dynamics, relationships or global politics. I see this as a soft space where opposing emotions, opposing human beings may meet. In ideas, if not reality.
This is not to advocate a blindly neutral (or apolitical) stance, or to tolerate injustice. It is just to remember often that life exists in the spectrum between the polarities. That everyone has a story and an inner world influencing them. That while we are all drawn to fit our experiences into extremes and labels, a fuller, richer understanding of life and people is one that allows for expansion into the spectrum. Into the wild in-between. A personal reckoning with this may help us meet the world with more understanding, softness, openness and curiosity.