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This post is Part 3 in a 3-part blog series on good and bad. (If you missed the first post, you can find it here.) In the previous two posts, I looked at how we often categorize things into two neat and separate categories of good and bad, but if we poke around under the surface a bit, things aren’t usually so clear-cut. There is often some bad in the good, and some good in the bad.

How do we resolve these inconsistencies and move forward, living our lives in a coherent manner? I think one key is to focus less on trying to have everything be ‘good,’ but rather focus on living whole.

Living whole means that all experiences are welcomed as part of a full life, both the good and the bad. Living whole prioritizes balance. When we focus too much on what we consider ‘good,’ and ignore or deny the things about our lives that we consider ‘bad,’ we get out of whack. We become less real, and it is more difficult for others to relate to us.

Living whole means recognizing that everyone’s life is a mix of good and bad. That’s just the way life is, and we can’t escape it. When good things happen, enjoy and appreciate them, but don’t get too worked up about it. Don’t clench your fists too tightly around the good things you have, or they might crumble to dust underneath your tight grip. Instead, hold the good things you have with an open hand, with an attitude of gratitude, knowing that they may be there tomorrow, or they may not.

Similarly, when bad things happen, do your best to walk through that stage, knowing that this too shall pass. Be curious and see if there is anything the bad thing might have to teach you about yourself. Be on the lookout for how you are growing and changing as a result of the bad thing, and be appreciative that you are still moving, rather than staying stuck. Finally, be in relationship. Connect with others and bear each others’ burdens as you get through it together.

Discussion: How focused are you on being ‘good?’ What do think of the shift in perspective toward living whole?

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