How to become an ally.
At a time when what we believe or what we were raised to believe is being called into question, I think it’s important to take a look at our “rule books” and see what needs a revision and what can be thrown out completely. I know I have had to look long and hard at ideas I wasn’t even aware were just floating around. But here’s the best news you may read all day, we are allowed to change the rules. We are allowed to grow.
Remember almost the entire canon of human thought since the beginning of time, unless it is quantifiable with mathematics, is opinion. There are few actual “facts” when it comes to the majority of what we know to be true.
Even the great and noble Science, with a capital S, is constantly refining and changing its hypotheses and theories on a daily basis. And certainly, when it comes to lifestyle choices, there are no concrete ways to do things except those that work for you based on your personal experience, beliefs, values, and needs.
You would be surprised by how many people’s problems stem back to basic, simple faulty thinking. Don’t just believe something because someone who is supposed to be an authority said it was true. There are many people running things who have no clue what works for us but are more than happy to tell us what they think we should do. If it doesn’t ring true to your own common sense, research it. Get a second opinion. Ask around.
The Buddha is quoted as saying "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." In other words, question *everything*, especially if you are going to adopt something as a “rule” or a “should” and live your life by it.
We do not need to carry shame or guilt for what we have done in the past. In fact, that very shame and guilt may hold us back from making actual change. So you weren’t paying attention, so you weren’t stepping up knowing there was a problem, when you know better, you do better.
We are allowed to grow and evolve as human beings. We do not need to hold fast to old beliefs because we are afraid someone will think less of us if we change them. You are learning as you go, you are having experiences and observing them and making better choices as you experiment with life.
Do not let the rules set forth by some person who is long dead dictate how you live your life. We are at a crossroads right now. We can either sit in the old “rules” or see where change is needed and push for it. I for one will push for the change.
I do not think that everything I say and do is perfect, quite the contrary, my kids teach me on a daily basis that I am indeed fallible. I do, however, like to practice what I preach. And the only way to really do that is to hold that mirror up and ask which “rules” I’m following that are blocking my ability to move forward. I may not always make the best choices, but I’m learning. And giving myself that space and freedom to mess up, allows me to see where I may be flawed and what I can do to change it.
Here are three simple ways to keep you on a path toward your best self.
1/Take a Self Inventory. I often ask my clients to show me the list of rules they are living by. You need to know the rule book you’re following before you can even begin to make a change. The easiest way to make a change is to find a new way to do something or see something.
2/Read. Read. Read. I can not stress this enough. The best way to learn a new way of thinking is to read from voices you aren’t used to hearing from. If you’re a man, read books from women authors.
3/You’re white, read books from people of color. Read authors from other countries. People who grew up differently than you. Seeing things from another's perspective allows us to relook at “rules” in place that are not serving us.
Get Uncomfortable. We will never grow if we sit in our comfort zone. This is always a great way to shake the cobwebs off and see what else is out there. Don’t forget, you always have the option to stop and start again, at any moment. It’s okay if in the uncomfortable you mess up, just pause, take a breath, and start again. (Try to get to a place where you can respond and not react to a situation in front of you.)--is this too much of another topic?
Remember-Space is Grace.