The New Year is symbolic for me. Time may be made-up, but it is a made-up system that rules our lives. And there’s just something nice and fresh feeling about January 1st. I do not expect to turn into Cinderella at the stroke of midnight, but I do believe in moving into a new year with intention.
This year if my intention is anything, it is to embrace nuance more.
The political tension has been rising over the past decade and it is easy to fall into black and white, red or blue, right and wrong thinking traps. I am here to advocate for nuance; for those shades of grey and purple, for the situational layers that are often brushed aside.
Dichotomous thinking is extremely limiting. It falsely leads you to believe there are only two options. All-or-nothing thinking is a cognitive error. When we can entertain the middle ground, we introduce a multiplicity of viable solutions and are more likely to practice creative thinking. Dichotomous thinking is also seen in perfectionism. If I am not the best, then this is a failure, and it doesn’t matter.
More often than not, these thoughts are not absolute nor are they true. Nuance is a beautiful thing. It allows you to look at the whole picture and make more accurate decisions. As comforting as it may be to think the world is a series of simple yes or no’s, it is not realistic. Critical thinking about almost every moral imperative shows us that certain situations provide enough justification to commit immoral acts (think stealing medication to help your child survive).
Embracing the Nuances in Life Takes a Little More Effort
Nuance takes a little more time and consideration than picking a side. However, it allows us to learn new information quicker and with less resistance. The human experience cannot be boiled down to a binary code, 0’s and 1’s don’t compute for every situation.
In the New Year, I encourage you to reach towards nuance. Stretch closer to the middle ground and engage in critical thinking about ideas you may have previously made up your mind about. If you truly consider the whole picture and don’t change your opinion, that’s okay too! The goal isn’t to change your or someone else’s mind, but rather- to think again about the basis of our opinions by fully considering the different facets.
A final thought on intention. If nuance isn’t your thing, then move into 2022 with a handful of intentions that fit you.
To be kind, to connect with friends, to say I love you more, to find an enjoyable way to move your body, to rest, to switch careers, to start new.
About Jasmine Payne:
Jasmine is a Resident in Counseling and provides services at the Fredericksburg location. She is a two-time graduate of Longwood University, receiving her B.S. in Psychology along with an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Throughout her graduate studies, Jasmine worked with teens and adults who belonged to various minority and multicultural populations. She also has familiarity with a wide spectrum of mental health concerns including anxiety/depression, grief, moodiness, self-improvement, motivation, relationship issues, and many more. To learn more about Jasmine, visit HERE.