"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Saturday, December 22, 2012

About Beliefs

I used a variation of this as a speech at Toastmasters.  My evaluator pointed out that I could have spent more time on some of the questions I raised, so I decided to see where his suggestions would take me.  Thanks, Rob! 



One of the most cherished and cherish-able rights that we have as Americans is the right to have and state our own opinions.

This right, however, is one that we often don't want to extend to others. 

What is it about humans, that we think everyone should agree with us? Why do we get so angry when others don't?  Why do we care and especially why do we care so much that we risk alienating friends or worse, start wars?   

I grew up in the Unitarian religion. Unitarians in general, are very open minded and have great respect for the right of every person to have and state their own opinion.  Unitarians "discuss" things.  They don't argue, so arguing goes against my grain, but I love a respectful discussion.

I only have a few friends, who can discuss volatile issues without getting emotionally involved. Some can become rabid at the drop of a hat so I avoid discussing a lot issues with them.  The last thing I want is someone screaming in my face – literally, on paper or online.

Most of us, especially those who frequent online social media sites such as Facebook, are fully aware that this past Presidential election got really ugly. On Facebook both sides were absolutely cut throat  --  not really in defending their candidate but tearing down the opponent. 

That was what caught my attention.  Where does that hatred come from – toward someone you don't really even know?

It's been known for many years that almost everything can be proved  -- or disproved.  It depends on what facts you are looking for.  According to my friends at Abraham-Hicks, the law of attraction will bring you whatever you are looking for – even when you are researching an issue.  Most of us start our research with a goal in mind – to prove something – or find evidence to the contrary.  Facts for both are out there and when we start digging we find both, but we tend to ignore or refuse to report what we don't want to know – or more to the point – don't want others to know, and continue gathering evidence that supports our opinion.

How do we get started on these paths that we do not allow ourselves to step off of to any degree whatsoever?   Where do our hardcore political and religious beliefs come from?  It seems possible to me, that we absorb the basic concepts from our parents and other influential family members. We build on them according to what we see and experience through our lives.  Sometimes, though, we keep the core beliefs so close to our heart, we begin to view them  as "facts" instead of what they really are -- what we have – chosen -- to believe.

It also seems possible, maybe even probable that perhaps we adhere to the negative leanings of our family and peers in an effort to avoid confrontation or to stay in good standing with those we love, admire or respect.  

It's also possible that because many of us are so afraid of being wrong, we'd rather die than admit that we are.  Why is there so much shame in being wrong about something?

But what if adhering to our negative, hateful beliefs or hard core opinions doesn't enrich our life in any way?  For example, how could seeing anyone else as "beneath us," or "less than" -- for any reason, enrich our life?

There is a bit of common knowledge that says when we criticize others for what ever reason, it comes from poor self esteem on our part.

Put another way, "what we see in others is a reflection of what we see in ourselves."

So how do we rid ourselves, and equally important, how do we convince others to give up these prejudices that don't serve us in any beneficial way, as individuals or as a nation?

My friends at Abraham-Hicks say that a belief is nothing more than a thought that you keep on thinking. If you change the thought, and practice it, eventually the belief changes.  They also say there are only two emotions.  One feels good and one feels bad and you can tell by the way you feel if your current thought is of benefit to you or not.

The old phrase, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink," is appropriate here, so the best place to start is with ourselves.

To quote G. Bernard Shaw, "People who cannot change their mind, can't change anything".

My Unitarian mother said, "There is always a kinder way."


Merry Christmas!