When I was very young, I noticed adults often asked kids to choose and share their “favorites” – what’s your favorite food, activity or color? As I grew this question expanded to a favorite teacher, class, book, or color. In my adult world people frequently relate to one another by sharing or referencing favorite people, places and things, typically expanding upon this with more specificity to embrace favorite holidays, travel locations, restaurants, movies, artists, books, and again the old standby – What’s your favorite color? Color was always there.
My answer remains the same throughout the years – “All of them”.
I value each one. I love the variety and diversity that all comprise. Asking me to choose a favorite creates a limitation for me. I enjoy the array and prefer the mix. I view the question as restrictive, often creating needless resistance and even competition. It makes us think in terms of comparisons. It fosters the placement of “good or bad”, “better or best”, or “right or wrong” on that which is subjective. Too often it turns personal opinions into facts or galvanizes these facts into evidence in order to compete with one another. It places barriers where they need not be. Limiting our capacity to imagine. It distracts and sidetracks us from creating something new together.
As a child, it upset me when the girls excluded someone or a group because of a perceived “favorite”. Once when I was young there was a group of girls who agreed that purple was the “best” color. Even as a young girl I thought this was hurtful and a waste of time. I worried about the impact this would have on other girls and how this might mutate into other topics. I knew in my soul this was harmful. Turning individual experiences or preferences of value and making each a possible forum for “belonging” to one another was wrong. It gave power to those who wanted to exclude people. It cultivated a group mind with the power to judge or project opinions onto others. It was destructive. In high school I bumped into a similar group of girls who loved Dr. Pepper and created an identity around this flavor of soda pop for their tribunal clique. Harmless to some yet hurtful and divisive for others, eventually even harmful to those in the group.
Today I remain aware of the subjective nature of timing and preference.
Placing “favorites” on an actual color can ignore specific situations and life’s timing. For example, there are times when yellow wakes me up to a memory. Giving encouragement or splashing me with a surprise while other times it is far too cheery for the grief at hand. Just as there are certain times of the day when I am more buoyant and naturally uplifted. There are other times of day when I experience the pressure and vulnerability of dissatisfaction. I’ve learned to accept the nature of my energy in constant motion. I am learning to allow its impact on me. Just as our world’s tone makes an impact each day. We all ebb and flow. I see the purpose of colors and their timing. Balancing this can be more challenging now, during these coronavirus pandemic times. It’s far more difficult not to judge or hold a strong opinion among the drama and its turbulence. Overthinking comes into my day more often than I would like to admit. I recommit every day to learn and practice re-balancing and self-care. Sometimes I assign the more challenging moments a color. I imagine where this hue can be meaningful or useful within the bigger picture. I work hard to give it the respect I need to give it, or the respect I need.
I am confident this practice of learning will be required for the remainder of my life, and beyond — in order to fully understand how essential each experience has been in my life. How each gifted me with its colors. I am humbled to find their meaning. Knowing when I choose to reflect I discover the support each gives for a life worthy of all the loving, colorful connections.
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Contact Beth Wellesley at 612.824.0454 (o) or 612.325.5104 (m). Email her at email@example.com or use the CONNECTING menu.