Living life in beautiful greys

I love bright colours. Anyone who knows me or who has stopped by this blog will know this. I’ve even written a blog post  in my party blog purely devoted to bright colours .

I’ve largely ignored the greys and the subtle as I’m so seduced by the vibrant , the hot and the punchy. I like stark contrasts and clash. It excites me.

Holding the towel, 3 studies

I’m aware that this penchant for contrast and bold relates directly to my character type. For years I lived life in black and white , in contrasts.

Looking at life in stark contrast

For many years, because of my upbringing, I believed that life was full of black and white choices, that there were good and bad. I was either a good girl

Good Diane


or a naughty girl,

Bad Diane

I was an angel or a devil. I never considered that there existed something in between called normal, and that the good and the bad aspect were just choices on the extremes of the normal spectrum. This blinkered belief system really limited my outlook on life and my behaviour causing me to become one of life’s ‘pleasers‘. I sought approval through being good, I had to be in the good zone otherwise I was bad. I thought of myself as ‘nice’, I found it hard to take criticism as I thought that all my actions were altruistic ( of course they weren’t) and that if I ever did anything for myself that would make me a selfish, bad person.

In the black and white world

Living in the black and white contrast world of the pleaser type personality is very frustrating. Trying to be good leads to frustration and resentment when others do not either recognise your intentions or take advantage of the pleasing behaviour and ask the pleaser to do everything and anything knowing that the pleaser is bound to say yes.

Self portrait at 23, called 23 and getting older. Hanging on to being good.

No isn’t a word a pleaser finds easy to say. Strike that, it is nigh on impossible.

So as a pleaser, you take everything on board, do everyone favours, say yes to all projects and the inevitable happens: breakdown. Anyone would become overwhelmed by this state, no one is capable of doing everything, especially not to the pleaser’s unusually high standards. When breakdown occurs, the pleaser snaps ( the black zone) The resentment that has built up over time breaks free and manifests as a massive fireball of anger which is hurled at the person who is being pleased, shocking them as they never saw it coming. The pleaser then feels guilty for this outburst and then instantly resorts back to pleasing behaviour again ( back in the white zone ) in order to pacify the recipient .

My eldest daughter Imogen expressing through photography

Not good huh?

This was me for years.

Until my back gave in.

My wonderful acupuncturist clearly recognised my character type and gave me a mantra to accompany my needle therapy. He told me to (shock horror!) start being selfish.

If I wanted to look after the world, I had to start looking after myself.

Then I discovered that the world wasn’t just black and white, but muted shades of grey. Most people lived in the grey zone and visited the white ( pleasing) zone and black ( anger) zone when it was appropriate to do so. I saw that saying NO became liberating, that people respected me more and started to press me less to do things. Life became easier. The resentment evaporated. I could do nice things for people without feeling that secret resentment underlying it, because I was doing nice things for the right reasons: because I wanted to!  There was no more veering from the white into black anymore, no more frustrated temper tantrum outbursts, but in its place was a new found self assurance and a sense of honesty that I had never felt before.

Grey is beautiful.

Muted grey beauty

Feeling whole

I still like a good contrast , but nowadays thankfully just in my aesthetic tastes.

So which zones do you live in? Grey or black and white?


One response to “Living life in beautiful greys

  1. I agree, I love grey & maybe that’s why!

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