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Living in the gray

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Posted: Friday, March 12, 2010 12:00 am

Life balance is often hard to achieve and maintain. With busy lives and lots of responsibilities, we learn to be great multi-taskers or we fall behind.

I find that the more stress to achieve/produce there is, the more we tend to lean toward and feel pressured to be perfect; to accomplish everything that is necessary for self, work and family. The more this occurs the more we tend to get black and white – meaning I must do all or nothing, and we stray away from the gray. Living in the gray simply means finding the middle; the balance between extremes of thinking, feeling and doing. Living in the gray requires that we look at each situation and determine its level of priority, desire to accomplish and the time we have to give the task.

When it comes to our feelings and thoughts, gray means to be able to evaluate fairly, honestly and not be pressured or driven by fears. Gray allows us to say yes or no, as well as maybe. When you are living in the gray you can decide to attend four of the eight functions available that month or be available to hear clearly both ideas of a debate. Living in the gray also promotes the ability to compromise with yourself emotionally, in your relationships and when considering a variety of life challenges.

The pressure to be perfect or please everyone may encourage being black or white – all or nothing. We need to give ourselves “permission” to make decisions about complicated life demands and find the middle ground. If you can do this, you will find life less stressful and pressured. Living in the gray allows you to give of your time, talents and self, freely and with confidence.

Here are some steps you can take to reach this goal:

1) Avoid black and white speech, such as always/never, everything/nothing.

2) Pay attention to your gut – intuition will usually lead you in the right direction.

3) Check in with yourself. If you find your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are aimed toward perfection; you are likely projecting black and white.

4) Ask yourself how you feel about a task or responsibility. If you can easily say “I can do that, no problem,” then go for it!


Gigi Veasey is an LCSW, LISAC and has national certification as a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. She is in private practice in Ahwatukee Foothills and is co-founder of Inspired Life Strategies. Reach her at (480) 496-9760 or

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