Sunday, 9 June 2013

Black and white

One thing that always irritated me about my mother was her tendency to see things in black or white. There was no middle way. Most politicians were evil wrong-doers, and the few she liked were like gods and goddesses. The latter could do nothing wrong and she spoke of them with admiration.

The same was true for colleagues, family members, and other acquaintances. She has been able to uphold this simplistic view of life because of her strong belief that she herself is always right. You can't really discuss with her, because she KNOWS she is right.

If she is always right, obviously everyone who may have different views are WRONG. This does not only apply to politics but also to life style choices etc. My best friend still recalls the day (we were teenagers) when she and I sat in the garden and my mother came down the stairs, furious. She held out an empty candy packet, that she had found in the garbage can, and asked, fuming, 'WHAT IS THIS?!?'. My friend and I had shared a small packet of candy while drinking tea. My mother acted as if it was cocaine.

Most of my life I have consciously chosen not to be like my mother. I have wanted to see the grey tones, the middle way, and I have been ready to accept that others may be right, too.

It is still very important to me not to be like my mother. However the amount of issues about which I KNOW I am right, has increased, meanwhile the amount of issues where I acknowledge that others may be as right, has decreased. I have become more black and white.

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