“Oh, everyone believes, in how they think it ought to be.
Oh, everyone believes and they're not going easily“
- John Mayer
Do you know what you believe in?
Do you know where you stand on big issues, small issues, grey issues?
Have you ever thought about where your beliefs come from?
For me, I was raised in the Midwest. I was raised in a middle class town. It’s a town that is safe, that’s stable. I’ve taken people there and one time it was describe as a place where “everyone has a two story vinyl house, two Honda’s, a dog, and two and a half kids”. This is pretty much spot on.
I enjoyed where I grew up. I enjoyed my friends. I enjoyed the school I went to and grew up in a non-denominational church.
This drastically shaped my worldview and my beliefs.
I was taught a lot of things that kept me safe, a lot of things that helped me know right from wrong. On paper it worked for when I was a kid. It worked for most my teenage years and into college.
But once I moved, once I began to interact with the world, the world pushed back.
Once I left to go out on my own, into my own wilderness, I learned in a very hard way that what I was taught was good, but no longer really worked.
It’s not that what I was taught was all false or not beneficial to life, but it had to shift, it had to grow up with me otherwise I would always view the world and others from a child like static perspective.
In order for us to grow as humans we must continually try new things, examining what we believe, and put ourselves in a place that allows for forward movement, inclusion, and love.
Over the last five years, I have realized how much of my beliefs from when I was a kid don’t fit anymore. They don’t work. They don’t allow for space and don’t include and love all people, they exclude and isolate people.
I got tired of defending these types of beliefs and laid them down. I gave them up. I thanked them for keeping me safe as a child, but now I must move on.
When we see people grow, awake, move on, change, we often get scared. We fear what we don’t know and understand much of the time. To change a foundational belief on how the universe works can be very unsettling. It can create panic and anxiety. It can create lots of shame and guilt. I have been there. This is normal.
But if we keep going, we begin to see new growth. We begin to see a new way to live.
In life we occasionally encounter a tugging of the soul, to move forward, that challenges our core beliefs - this tug, often, we know to be true, but we push it aside out of fear and shame and what it may require of us to make the change.
When this happens, when we taste and see something new, we can never un-taste or un-see, but we can ignore and cover it up. When we do this, a part of us dies and shrinks. I have been there.
To deny our beliefs and ignore the things that move us forward in love and life kills a part of ourselves. Whenever we encounter something new that shakes us at our core, we have two options. We can either accept the belief and grow with no shame or guilt or we can shrink back and ignore the truth and continue on as a child.
I think my generation is very much stuck.
I think we were all told a lot of childish things that kept us safe but then when we went into the world it didn’t work. From a tanked economy to student loans, to no jobs, to multiple wars, political and religious corruption, what we were taught just doesn’t fit for the world we got tossed into. This isn’t at all playing a victim card, but more of a call to action - for everyone to take time and acknowledge that some beliefs that used to work just don’t anymore and that’s ok.
Just in the last hundred years we have changed our beliefs on women and race. We are still working on it, but what a beautiful thing to witness people caring, moving forward, and fighting for everyone to be equal.
Beliefs change over time. This is normal. We see it all throughout history.
There are always those that will stay firm in what they believe and never grow with the rest of the world. This isn’t always bad but it can make the world you live in feel very small and static. It can make you feel isolated, like it’s you against the world.
For some, they may think this whole blog is a waste, that there is no point in exploring or growing, but if that is you, I would say this blog is exactly for you. If talking about your beliefs brings you panic or makes you red in the face, then you may need to examine why. If someone challenges your beliefs and it shakes you, then you may need to ask yourself...”Was there any truth in what they were saying?”. If you're reading this and you have an unsettled feeling about this sort of blog or you know someone who has changed, grown, moved on from something that used to work to something that works better now... let me speak for them.
They are fine.
For me, I knew I had to change and grow in my beliefs over the years because I was exhausted from feeling like I was maintaining beliefs that at the end of the day didn't help move everyone forward into whole humans including myself. They didn’t fit for the work I do and the people I do life with. They didn’t fit, so I changed them. I examined them, I figured out what worked and what didn’t and quickly I became a much more free and whole as a person.
Don’t be surprised if you begin to change and grow to find that people may shame and guilt you. People may become scared for you or fearful of you. They may think you have gone of the deep end or that you are wandering.
The truth is often we do go off the deep end and we do go wandering, but this is what life is about.
It’s about exploring and growing and going into the deep end. It’s about going into the wilderness and seeing what your made of. Seeing what works and doesn’t work. Once you figure that out, you come out on the other side as a human who is becoming whole.
We are so lucky to even have this opportunity to grow and change. May we all look back year after year and say, “I can’t believe I used to be that way or believe that”. If we can say that, then we have grown, we have moved forward and that is a gift, not something to be shamed.
So this week, I challenge you to write down your beliefs. What makes you tick, what are the things that you believe?Who gave them to you? Do you like them? How is it working for you? DO you find yourself envious of others who believe something else, but you're too scared to explore, evaluate, and grow?
If you enjoyed this blog please hit the like button, if you loved it, share it.