As social beings, we interpret hundreds of experiences on a daily basis. when we interpret other people's behaviors or intentions we do so through a categorization process. we categorize the person, the behavior, the words, the feelings we had, the atmosphere. we categorize everything.
what else would we do if our brains are hard-wired to make meaning out of organized concepts?
in the world we currently live in, it is important to remember that in this process of organizing events, we are also labeling people and situations. we label them as good or bad, similar or different to us, helpful or unhelpful, selfish or altruistic, embarrassing or honorable.... and so on.
these black and white labels are judgments that leave little room for the interpretation of other possible meaning and functions of the issue.
for example, let's say you about to go out on a date with your husband, and your boss calls asking for an urgent meeting at work. you feel unsure about what to do. you feel that you should be able to say no to work and put family first. but you also don't want to disappoint your boss.
notice the word should--it is categorizing something that should happen versus something that should not happen. both of your options under this lens carry an emotional charge due to judgement. if you go on the date, you are a bad employee, and if you go to the meeting you are a bad wife.
but what if there was a third interpretation to this situation that did not involve labeling things as good or bad?
you could use discernment to observe the differences in the options and make the choice you want to make in that moment. maybe the date can be easily rescheduled and you make your meeting because this is a crucial time at work for you. OR maybe your boss doesn't have good boundaries and this is an opportunity for you to practice setting boundaries and then go on your date.
when we remember that things don't have to be good or bad, it is easy for us to see that we have options. we are able to tap into our wisdom and notice our options are actually opportunities for us to discern what action the moment is calling for.