Holding multiple truths

(I’ve been wanting write through more personal topics alongside Letters to J and in shorter form than my older posts. That is, reframing Distillations as less of the hardened clay left over from experience and more so clay I can shape as I think things through).

A dynamic I’m trying to remember — and often forget — is that multiple things can be true at once.

I’m struggling with a seemingly-never-ending surgery recovery while also working on a project with people who’re fostering personal growth I wouldn’t have otherwise realized. A breakup can be deeply saddening in the near-term, yet the right call in the longer-term. We can celebrate individual wins and recognize the dark, macro state of affairs.

My therapist put this as avoiding “0–1 thinking.” Our emotional state doesn’t dipole to either bad (0) or good (1) — it lands somewhere in-between. Twinges of chronic pain that crop up while I’m with friends don’t zero out the otherwise cherished time. There’s agency in acknowledging “yes, this pain sucks and is frustrating and if I could wish it away, I would’ve months ago” to put bounds on the emotion while holding space for other truths in that moment.