How do we form our personal belief systems? We are born with the innate ability to love and trust. This can change as we grow and develop. Family beliefs are taught to us. We are educated to believe in our culture and perhaps religious teachings. We think we have it all figured out by the time we are teenagers. We get to test this when we have to find our first job and move out on our own. We used to call this the school of hard knocks. How do some people survive all this education and still have a curious open mind? We are programed by our parents, schools, media, and our experiences. Are we taught to question mainstream thinking? How do we learn to get our needs met? At the expense of others or by helping others?
How many times in your life have you made a big shift in what you thought was true? I can think of many times this has occurred in my lifetime. First, I thought my parents were Gods! We can all remember the day that bubble burst. I can remember when I found out that not everything in books was true. Another big change in my thinking. How about – if I get a good grades I will not have to dig ditches all my life. Not all teachers cared about children. Some of them hurt children. I learned that not all parents are able to love their children. Or that I could not trust all adults. That the government would always do what was best for me? That police always did what is right an legal. I believed I could go anywhere and be safe. I thought that every professional would act in an ethical way. I thought men were smarter than women. I also thought that if a product is being sold then it must be safe. That is a doctor said something it must be true.
I believed that if I could get the right man then I would be happy. That it was most important to get married and have children. That if I had children I would be fulfilled. My children would be smart, beautiful and well behaved. If I got my college degree and the house in the suburbs I would be happy. I lived in the city and I decided that if I could live in the country – that would be happiness. Happiness always seemed around the next corner.
Here comes the biggest one ever. I thought that there was right and wrong and good and bad. If I just learned all the rules I would have it all figured out. Then I discovered that just because I think something is wrong or good – someone else may not agree. I guess as long as there is no harm of other living beings I can live with that. I learned that my thinking is what allows me to be content with my life.
I like to think that I have an open mind and willing to consider trying new things. What seems to work today may not work for me tomorrow. Being human is tricky, wonderful, challenging, ever changing and interconnected to all other living beings. I learned that I am only responsible for my feelings, needs and actions. I know I matter! It changed the way I feel about my life in every way. Happiness is and inside job!