I’m curious about this idea of “My view is the right one.” I see this attitude a lot and what I notice is how difficult the world is for those who stand convicted, sure that what they think and believe is right.
I’m currently working very hard on my own beliefs about really…anything. I may after a process of checking in, still believe something, but I’m opening to the possibility that there is another viewpoint, another way of thinking about something.
I am discovering that my entrenched belief is usually making me miserable because the world does not agree with my view point and I am often shocked by reality. Some people of course share some of my beliefs, but many don’t. Even my closest friends vary on which beliefs we share and which we don’t. This may seem obvious in reading, but in actuality, this is a difficult path to negotiate. There are bumps.
I notice, with my feelings about injustice, the more that I wave my hands and cry out, “Unfair” the more frustrated I become and the less I am heard. Meeting an injustice with a fight isn’t necessarily the only way. But we’ve become so habitual in our Western world to react if something is perceived as unfair or we simply don’t like it. And in a world of hunger and wars, these are comparatively small infractions . Please note, I’m not talking about an actual violation of personal boundaries. I’m defining the difference of “I’m feeling uncomfortable so therefore…” versus someone actually hurting you or others.
There is a great sense of entitlement of “If I feel something, I have the right to tell you about it.” It’s not true. You do not necessarily have the right. But we go forth and we make small wars with our entrenched viewpoints. I know many people who don’t make the connection that their thinking about their world is what makes them feel stuck and lonely. And they’ve become so familiar with their viewpoint, that changing is painful because of deep fear of changing: “I know this misery. It is familiar. Who would I be if I didn’t think this or feel this?”
So if your viewpoint is making you miserable how can you see things differently? How do we get a different perspective even as a possibility? And that’s all I’m asking for here, a possibility of another view. You can still keep the one you have, I just want you for a moment to practice the possibility that what you think isn’t necessarily the only view.
So if someone said something to offend you for example, find out what you are feeling and thinking. Ask yourself if there is any other possible way in the whole world to look at this situation?
“I’m feeling angry. She shouldn’t have said that.” could be –
“I’m feeling scared. She told me something that made me feel vulnerable.” could be –
“I”m feeling vulnerable and I want to control others so I don’t have to feel this way.” Could be-
“I don’t like feeling exposed.” could be-
“I don’t feel safe with this person.”
And 100 more possibilities for “could be.”
Can you explore the possibility that your reaction to “I’m feeling angry” versus “I don’t feel safe” could be very different? Once we explore our entrenched beliefs and reactions we actually have MORE POWER because we get to actually choose our reaction instead of being out of control and simply reacting to any situation.
This is the work of the brave. It is hard. Our beliefs make us feel like we’re actually here on the planet; we count, we matter. You do matter. Always. But what you believe, and this is a radical view, isn’t who you are. You simply have thoughts. They come and they go and they can be changed the moment you give your beliefs new information. They are transient. They feel like us. But they are not. They become entrenched because of deep fear. The fear makes us believe that if we are entrenched in our beliefs, no one and nothing can change them or make us belief different. But that again, is not true.
Breathe for a moment. Feel who you are. You are a spiritual being having a human experience. Is it possible? Yes. Is it true? To me, yes. Why do I believe this? Oh many reasons, but mostly, this viewpoint gives me profound peace. Any of my beliefs that bring me peace and love, I’m going to keep around me. They are the beliefs I want to foster and manifest with others.
So insightful n meaningful n my world. Thanx Amy
Very insightful! I have been thinking along the same lines lately in our troubled world trying to understand points of view that give rise in me to unhappiness, trying to open my mind to other possibilities. -thanks Amy!
Yes – people are so entrenched in “being right.” And you are SO right! This is an interesting website that shows that our politics are based on our brain. Interesting stuff which explains a lot. http://bigthink.com/videos/gail-saltz-the-brain-differences-of-liberals-versus-conservatives
Amy, you’ve written a powerful commentary on how to get past our frustration and impatience with anything from current political posturing, the social issue du jour, or a disagreement with friends or a family member. Asking the questions you lay out sets the stage for conversation, instead of confrontation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Thank you Amy, profound. Definitely helps the with the conversation going on inside me. I feel like I’ve crossed through a door that has closed behind me and I need to now question a lot of my beliefs. Being in Possibility is very Powerful.