This contemplation is based off of the idea that our deep seeded beliefs about ourselves and the world, creates our reality. I want to preface this piece by saying that I spend a lot of time sitting with myself and feeling through my decisions and my moral compass. I want to believe that I am a woman who seeks to elevate others and if I am to do that, I must love and trust in myself.
I grew up in a community that has a very strict set of rules and social norms. While, I was very much a part of it growing up, there was always a part of me that felt as if I did not fit in. The harder I tried to fit in, the more I failed and inevitably, around the age of 18, I fell into a depression, where I contemplated ending my life on several occasions and had a nasty drug and alcohol problem that was only exacerbated by bulimia.
I believe it was God’s benevolent hand that pulled me out of my darkness and showed me how to love myself. This is still true today. My life is not perfect, I feel dark feelings all the time and hard situations do emerge. What has changed is my perspective on life, which leads me to the long time philosophical debate between right and wrong.
For thousands of years, humans have debated between the ethics of wrong and right. As a result there have been many schools of thought born from this dispute. No one has landed on the truth, and it is most probable that as humans, we never will. There is no choice between wrong or right, other than the obvious intention to hurt another being. However, I aim to shed light on the belief system behind our actions and the role our values play.
I recently became aware of a long held belief I learned as a young child. This deep seeded subconscious truth rocked my world for a long time. I became aware of this belief during a discussion with a member of my family where they gave me an ultimatum; to do it their way or the highway. Triggered by this ultimatum, which was basically “we support you so long as you do what we want”, I began to write down all of my feelings and observe them, instead of falling down the rabbit hole of emotion, a place I am very familiar with. This was my list, it starts to get very interesting at #4:
1. No one will read my writings
2. I will look very stupid if I put myself out there
3. Who the hell am I to have a voice that matters?
4. I am a failure
5. I can’t do anything right
6. I am not smart
7. I am not pretty enough to be in the public eye
8. I lack structure
9. I will never amount to nothing
10. I will look dumb if I put myself out there
11. Nothing I crate is good enough to be public
12. I am nobody
13. What do I know?
14. No one will care what I say
15. I am under qualified
16. I don’t like who I am, why would anyone else?
17. I need others to validate me, and that’s not enough
I saw my thoughts on paper and was mostly intrigued but also a little horrified. I remembered The Work by Byron Katie and I began to challenge every thought I had, asking her potent 4 questions. What came out of this was remarkable and has been my biggest inner breakthrough since I was 18. I understood, I was walking around the world believing I was wrong, as a result creating all of the conditions in my life to be wrong, feel wrong, do things wrong, contrary to my attempt to live correctly and in line with truth. I even understood the root; growing up I often felt undermined by my family when taking decisions and was guilted and shamed into doing what they thought was correct.
I believe part of growing up is taking with you the goodness of what you learnt from your family and molding it into a life philosophy and values that are in line with you as an individual. I feel this process happens in our late twenties when it is time for us to decide who we want to be as adults and how we want to contribute to society. I still feel like the kid who didn’t quite fit in, the only difference is that today, I am proud to be different, I understand that I am not wrong in my choices even if they do not align with everyone else’s. I know today that I am correct for me, I am simply living according to my desires and being at peace with the distance it creates from those who are less tolerant. Ultimately, you judge yourself based off of your beliefs, unconscious or conscious. The practice of awareness is most relevant because if you do not know yourself and your beliefs, the judgement of others will impede your growth and take you off of your own authentic path with love and respect for all.
It is my desire to move beyond tolerance into acceptance, to be inclusive instead of exclusive. So much hatred and death has been the product of intolerance and if we seek to see a peaceful world, where every human being is safe to be themsleves, we must extend acceptance for all. May peace find the hearts of those who seek it.