What do you believe in? What do you believe to be true about yourself? Your life? Life in general? Your religion?
What do you believe to be absolute truisms? How did you get to that truth? Was it taught to you? Or did you get to it on your own, searching for what is true for you?
Our beliefs are our lives. We are what we believe to be true. If we believe in love, it will be all around us in greater measure than we could even think possible. If we believe in our selves and in our dreams, those too will surpass our imagination.
And so it is to the opposite end. If we believe our dreams are out of our reach, there they will remain. If we believe marriage is supposed to be difficult, so it will be. If we believe our kids do not respect us, respect us not they will.
Bottom line: what we believe is what we are. Who we are. What our lives look like.
Well, then, we better take a good look at our beliefs, huh?
If our beliefs were shaped for us by our parents, teachers, mentors, religion – without thought to what is right for me – then we are living someone else’s life. If we examine our beliefs, however, and see which fit us and which don’t, then we are shaping our truest self and that is what we will be.
Let us say, for instance, that we set up a belief about life when we were five – when I listen, my parents give me praise. My teacher is happy. So I believe following the rules is a good thing. A belief of being obedient is established.
What if, at the age of twenty, I see that someone set a rule that I do not agree with, that – to me - may even seem bad or harmful to my sense of self. Well, if I live blindly by set beliefs, I may just do it anyway. Obedience is right. Even if this specific obedient act is harmful for me. However, if I examine my beliefs, I may see that what was set up as a five year old may no longer apply. What served me as a youngster and what helped me succeed and receive accolades and praise from others may no longer serve me. Now I may choose to have a different belief: that which is good for me, true to me, that is what I will obey.
That is just one example. However, as we grow, we are constantly evolving. It can not be expected that what is good for us as a toddler is good for us when we are 15, and what is good for us at 15 will all still be good for us at 25. As people, as active thinkers and constantly developing human beings, we MUST evolve.
Many of us like to stick with our set beliefs. If they worked for our teachers, parents, grandparents, then they will work for us. We fit ourselves to these beliefs because it is comfortable and easier than the alternative, even if they don’t always fit us just right. They have been proven to work…why rock the boat?
Here’s why: because when you are 40 or 50 or 60 you do not want to wake up and say, “Whose life did I live? What happened to ME? Who is this imposter that is covering up the real me?” Ohhh, it takes courage to ask these questions. It takes stepping out of our comfort zone in a huge way. Leaping out of our comfort zone. Many of us use our set beliefs to keep us feeling safe. They hold us in place. But what are we not discovering about ourselves by staying in our neat boxes? What would happen if we set out a course for ourselves that utilized our strengths in actuality, instead of just in theory?
We can in theory be committed, loyal, moral – but never test that in ourselves by living in set boundary lines that don’t allow us to. We can be creative and flexible and innovative thinkers – but only to a certain set boundary point if we live in someone else’s beliefs.
I find that the thoughts that stops us the most is the “what if”s that plague us. If we don’t have the boundary lines to live by, to keep us contained, what would happen to us? How far would we step outside the lines? Once we take one step that is considered “safe”, will we be tempted to keep going to a point that is unsafe? Better to just stay in our box, we tell ourselves. And indeed, for some, that may be the life they choose. Better safe than sorry.
But my free spirit doesn’t seem to allow for that. For the years of child-rearing, when I needed safety and routine to balance out the constant surprises and destabilizing moments that come with pregnancy and raising children, security of set beliefs was my friend. That is not to say I never questioned anything. But safety was what I needed. Now, I have other needs. I am exploring the self that I was born as. Routine and old beliefs don’t fit as comfortably as they once did.
Some of you will react to that sentence with fear. I know I do. But I am also learning that I am stronger than the square lines I have placed around myself. I can rely on myself. I can take turns, draw out of the lines, even make mistakes, and that is all okay as long as I am always being true to me. That is my compass. That is my internal boundary line. That is what can keep me straight.
It’s scary as all get-out, but it is the most energizing, vitalizing, freeing feeling in the world. Dare to be you. Dare to question your beliefs – not because they are wrong – but to see if they are right for you today. We are constantly evolving. And therefore, we must leave room for our beliefs to evolve as well.
This is the new me. Daring. Bold. But in a quest for truth. I want to wake up every day and know I am living my own life, true to the unique inner spark that is all me and no one else. Questioning is not wrong, if it is in a quest for truth.
With love and honesty,