Friday, July 9, 2010

Coloring In the Picture

My one and only college roommate was an artist, a remarkably creative young woman. Besides exposing me to her beautifully decorated world, she also introduced me to the concept of the danger of coloring in the picture in terms of relationships. I've learned over time it's a concept with applications to people, to business, to clothes.

Basically, the concept means coloring in a picture - or a person - the way you wish to see it or him or her, rather than seeing what -or whom - is presented to you. This is a classic issue for those of us who can't always express what we want, so instead we see what we want where it does not exist.

When I was a clothing designer, I worked with a buyer who was a classic "colorer". I would show her a design, she would approve it, then often be disappointed when the real garment arrived because it wasn't what she had expected. She had colored in my designs with pictures in her mind of what she had really wanted, whether that was a different color or length or shape, and then be sorely disappointed when what she imagined was not what showed up.

Learning to observe rather than color, and being willing to believe our observations is probably the key to making relationships work in business, romance and friendship. All that glorious color that crayons and paint provide is beautiful - when it's really there.

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