What you choose to believe decides what actions you will take. As a person who doesn’t believe things easily, I’m going to introduce you to the mechanisms that I use to navigate my way through life so at the very least you can make a judgement on what I say, but more importantly to have a useful set of tools and/or principles for yourself to use. The last thing I want you to do is to simply swallow what I say, hook line and sinker. I may not be right. What is important is that you make up your own mind. This is a right given you that no-one can take away from you. I encourage you to use it. Inevitably, some readers will simply swallow what I say because it appeals to them and it is easy to do. Others will simply disregard what I write because they read something that offends their currently held position. If you are either of these, the encouragement is: Do the work. It may be worth it!
So here we go. (This principle for me was learned the hard way.)
The first principle: Never have a proxy relationship with the truth.
In other words, don’t just take someone else’s word for it. No one else can stand in my shoes and have the relationships I have. Yes, I may have trusted sources, and the information may even be correct, but until I actually process the information myself and have a direct relationship with it, I’m at a disadvantage. As the risk of being seriously misled is very high, this is a vital principle. You may not like to hear this, but much of what you currently believe about many things in life are a result of being misled! It’s not a comfortable feeling. I’m not going to tell you what they are or what they might be, but I am going to attempt to show you how to discover for yourself what they are, and then what to do about it.
I wrote previously that we tend to ignore and complicate the simple. The question is why? There are probably many reasons, however, there are a couple that I want to focus on. The most potent reason I believe is insecurity and is associated with the question of ‘Who Am I?”. Now I’m not going to dive into a philosophical discourse trying to answer this question. I believe it can be answered, however, that is for another time. More important at the moment is to see what damage insecurity causes.
I wonder if you have ever walked up a set of stairs. Most likely, at some point, you have traversed a set of stairs. Most will go up and down stair nearly every day. For most, walking up stairs is something that we don’t even think about. Our eyes see stairs and without thinking much about it, our body prepares to go up or down, our hand goes to the railing and off we go. We have a set of expectations around stairs. They should be uniform. They should have tread on them. They should be stable. They should end at a destination that continues. There should be a railing. (If you don’t or can’t have experience with stairs, use your imagination to think of something in your life that has stability and certainty about it.)
Now, let’s all imagine that we approach a set of stairs and half way up or down, we find that there is no tread, that the spacing isn’t even, that the stairs are connected with rope and there is no railing. All of a sudden, you have stopped concentrating on traversing the stairs, you are now worried about not falling off or down them. All of a sudden, you are insecure. This is the sense of the situation to contemplate. If you are doing a balancing act on unstable stairs are you able to process anything except ‘staying alive’? The conversation you were having with the person walking with you has stopped. The phone call you were on has ceased, the thoughts about your destination have disappeared and any interaction you have with anyone is constantly being interrupted with ‘staying alive’?
Deep down, this is how most of us live. It may not be immediately obvious, however, the chances are if you are reading this blog that you already have an awareness that things aren’t as they could be. The lesson is that if we are insecure, we are under pressure causing stress on all our bodily systems and alarm in our emotional state. If we stay in this state long enough, the stress gets to us and presents in disorders of the body and mind. We begin to break down.
Imagine being back on the unstable stairs. Your behavior tends to overreact, over compensate and we start to believe things that aren’t necessarily true (I’m going to fall and die!)
What we may not appreciate is that in a world where most people are insecure we are all over-reacting and over compensating. Added to this is the continual messaging that we receive telling us that we are on ‘unstable stairs’. This doesn’t stop even if we are on perfectly ‘stable stairs’. To look at a few examples
Consider domestic violence, the main perpetrators being men. You can use as many excuses as you like, but no secure man needs to beat his wife and child to maintain some air of personal control or power. Insecurity pervades a man’s actions and responses so that he is over-reacting, always trying to remain in control and at rates that are far too high in society, this spills over into physical and emotional abuse of women and children. There is no excuse for domestic violence. However, treating the symptoms instead of the cause is ineffectual in the long term. Real healing is needed. Now I add that not all men abuse their partners. Many I suggest ‘cope’ in other ways. My challenge is why ‘cope’? Better to heal is it not?
Consider also the advertising messages that women get from all sources. A woman’s hair is never shiny enough, her clothes are never sexy enough, her natural skin is never beautiful enough and the house never clean enough. There is always a new product that without it you are less of a woman. And this is just general advertising. Move over to magazines and see the portrayal of women that is rarely in accord with reality. Continual grading of celebrities ranging from sweat pants through to red carpet outfits conveys a never ending message that a woman simply can’t be a normal whole woman. She has to be missing something. In our society today, this plays out in the biggest killer of teenage woman worldwide being suicide as just one example. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/11549954/Teen-girls-Suicide-kills-more-young-women-than-anything.-Heres-why.html
While we are talking about insecurity, the lack of boundaries causes insecurity in us. Any child worker worth their salt will know that if you take a troubled child and give them boundaries, that child is on the way to recovery. Yes, they will test those boundaries, but they test them to see if they can be relied upon. Once they know the boundaries can be relied upon, they start to behave in a more secure manner. What makes us think that an adult is any different in their behavior?
So far we have identified expectations we can trust and boundaries are needed to live securely. If we go back to the stair example above, a well-built staircase found in any building has both of these things surrounding it. Expectations we can trust. The stairs are going to remain solid, fixed and stable. the stairs have boundaries. They start and they stop. They go somewhere. They have railings. as a result, we traverse them with ease and without much special care. Simple is it not? Now, why can’t we translate that simplicity to real life? An interesting question, but before I go on to suggest an answer, I need to place another building block on the table for us to consider. This is the correlation between stress and poor physical and mental health. We’ll return to more principles and go looking for solutions in later blogs. Be blessed Aryeh.