Nov 12, 2007

Black & White & Shades of Grey

If you follow personality theories, you find that it's sort of fun to compartmentalize people. That sounds bad. What I mean is, sometimes it's interesting to view yourself and your interactions with others through the lens of someone's view of people and the world.

The color code, for instance. According to this test, I'm Blue and white, about equally divided, with a bright streak of yellow and a nice little smudge of red.

According to another, I'm an INFP.

What do these things mean? Really, unless I give them credence, absolutely nothing.

But things like this can really be informative to a point. For instance, my "blueness" as percieved by the color code author would clash with someone else's "redness," and in fact, I do tend to clash with people who have the described "red" traits.

I also clash with people who tend to think in black-and-white. OK, this is my real point. If I were to compartmentalize people at all, and I only do this for my own convenience: to make me feel better about negative feelings I have sometimes and to help me know how to better interact with someone I just ain't clicking with--

I'm pretty sure I'm a grey thinker. I really can't believe that someone is a bad person, or that someone is a good person. I can't make myself believe that there are decisions that are inherrently right, or inherrently wrong. I believe in a few absolutes, but I have a hard time even with those. This can interfere with my faith sometimes. I really have to humble myself, to realize I don't know everything, in order to accept absolutes.

Some people like absolutes. They see right and wrong as divided along a firm line. Cross the line, you're wrong. This decision is on this side, this decision is on that side. Period.

We need both of these kinds of people in the world. Well, any personality theory will say that it doesn't favor one kind of personality, actually. And yet you can tell, the guy who wrote the color code really didn't like reds. I'm explaining this whole black-white-grey thing to you, and obviously I don't really favor black-white thinking. So you're going to have to take my interpretation of it with a grain of salt.

At any rate, there are both types of personality on both sides of my extended family, and I have to grit my teeth a lot to keep from saying things I'd regret. I get more angry than I like to get. But only at my family members. Isn't it wierd how that works? A stranger, a coworker, even your best freind can say things and you push them aside and forgive and don't really feel too bothered by it, but if it's someone in your family, it's huge. Why is that? Shouldn't we be more forgiving of our family? I think for me, it's hardest when a family member dissappoints me. I love them all so much, I expect them to be perfect.

Sigh. I'm betting I'll be able to dispell that piece of black-and-white thinking with the wisdom of age and experience.

So, on a lighter note, I have thought long and hard about truth for most of my life. I want to know what is true, and what is not. I really WANT the black and white, but I can't ever believe that it exists. It's a strange fight, in my mind.

Ulimately, the only absolutes I have ever found peace in believing are these (and excuse the religious references if it offends you):

1) God lives.
2) The Holy Spirit is real.
3) Absolute truth comes only by means of the Holy Spirit.
4) Right, Wrong, Good and Evil are decided by God (not us)

5) God has a plan for me.

Does this make me a bad Mormon? I don't think so. Because the Holy Spirit has brought a lot of truth into my life. I'm constantly second guessing myself, but God knows this and helps me by constantly reaffirming truth to me, through this means.

Thank God I have a long time left to live and wise up. And that I have a long time left to learn how to relate to people who see the world differently from the way I do. Especially those within the circle of my own family, because forever is a long time.

I'm curious, what are your absolutes? If you have the time, list up to ten in a comment here. I'd love to read and think about them.


Janell said...

Aside from "Properly prepared chocolate is delicious," I'm going to have to give this one some thought =)

NoSurfGirl said...


in order to make that an absolute, though, you'd have to put the word "always" in there.