How Beliefs Work to Help or Hurt Ourselves and Others

Over and over, I’m reminded of how many times us as individuals believe something and try to make what we believe true for someone else. Our thoughts about doing it can be well intended. We can think that our beliefs save someone else from themselves or others. We can think that our education gives us the facts on what is real and what isn’t. We can believe that our faith is what everyone else REALLY needs. We can believe we are more and someone else is less or that we are less and someone else is more. Beliefs can cause us great pain to ourselves and other, and beliefs can lift us up, so we can help others lift themselves. 

Here’s What I Know

Beliefs are perspectives. We can each choose to believe a perspective that feels right to us. We will base our beliefs in science, faith, family, education, culture, society, media, social circles, support groups, religion, relationships, political views, history, etc.  In the end, we will each make the choices that feel right for us at the time. NOBODY’S beliefs are 100% the same. They can’t be. Each individual’s experiences will form, change, alter, shift, grow, and expand based on each event that takes place in his or her life. 

That’s Not True

We all get exposed to people sharing their opinions of what is true and what isn’t. We each have a right to share our truths. We will all find our own truth whether someone else believes what we say or not.  I’ve been told that my way of healing from my history of trauma wasn’t true for victims of rape. UMMMMM… if it is true for me, and it is what helped me have healthy relationships with myself and others—How can someone else say that it’s not true? A victim of any trauma can choose to stay in a place of pain or they can find a path to thrive. It depends on each individual’s mindset on what they want the experience to mean for their lives. I do my best to inform people that my views of the world are MY perspectives. If someone takes a seed that I give and wants to plant it in their internal world that is completely up to them.  But does it make my or their experiences any less true? No, because it is what we are experiencing based on the beliefs we have chosen to follow. 

We are a society that is very quick to judge something as absolute, when very little is actually absolute.  When someone says, “That’s not true” or you find yourself thinking it, just try for a moment to say to yourself, “That is what is true for them, why?” Go deeper! If you want to engage with the person, try to find out why she or he came to the beliefs that are guiding her/him. Here are a few suggestion of questions you could ask:

  • Does believing that make you feel better about yourself or about the world? Why or why not?
  • How does believing that help you make good and healthy choices?
  • How does believing what you do limit your ability to change and grow and/or how does is help it? 
  •  How do you find what you say to be true?
  • Do you think this belief helps or hurts your connections with others?
  • Do you think this belief limits your thinking or expands your opportunity to learn?

Every time I hear myself saying that someone else’s beliefs aren’t true, I have to tell myself that is their perspective of truth. Then, I need to determine whether it is worth trying to find out more, leave it alone, or let them know what I believe.  One thing I know for sure is if someone is drinking or on drugs, I keep my mouth shut and walk away. If I care about the person and authentically want to know why they believe the things they do, I ask when they are sober. We each have to make that choice for ourselves. I can tell you I’ve grown and expanded in my beliefs because of being open to learn and listen about how others think.  If I am exposed to a belief that comes from a place of fear, often time I don’t comment, because I know I need to find my own way of expressing my beliefs, hence my blog, articles I’ve written, and my upcoming book. People who want to know what I believe will choose to read my work, follow me on social media, call, text, or email me with questions or asking for advice. Each of us is having experiences that are true for us right now. The quicker we understand that, the easier it will be to authentically connect with someone else. Our perspectives don’t have to be the same in order to find common ground. 

Our Personal Paths

I know that I’m not going to force anyone to change their beliefs or convince them that what they believe is true or isn’t, that’s not my job. I feel my purpose is to share my perspectives in case there is another person out there that can relate or that is looking to change, shift, and grow because they aren’t comfortable where they are, or they simply want to gain more perspectives to help them find their own perspectives of truth that work best for them.  All I ever can offer someone else is seeds from my garden. Not all my seeds will grow into big strong trees, beautiful flowers, or luscious edibles. If I’m sharing out of old belief systems of pain, chaos, confusion, and/or fear, I’m giving seeds that contain weeds and strangling vines that will do damage if planted. I can’t say I’ve never given these kinds of seeds out because I lived my life in a lot of pain for many years. I didn’t mean to hurt someone else, but I was self-abusing and when we self-abuse, the seeds we have become toxic, invasive species. The healthier I got, the more weeds and strangling vines I pulled out of my own garden. When I did that, I limited the toxic seeds I distributed.

We each start our lives with a collection of seeds. Some of them are inherently planted before we are even able to process thoughts. As we travel along our paths we are given seed after seed and we decided whether or not to plant them. Sometimes we have to make space by clearing out an area of our garden that no longer serves us. No garden is the same. All gardens are ever-changing, growing, and expanding. Some are not well kept and are neglected. Others are thriving with amazing life. Then there is everything in-between. 

Our Choices

Many of us limit our power by believing we don’t have any. We convince ourselves that we are trapped (a perspective). We give our power away time and time again by blaming others for the way we feel, think, act, and react. We give away our power by believing someone or something can make us live the way we are living. Nothing outside of us needs to change in order to live a better life. What needs to be worked on is between our own two ears. When we realize how much power we have to internally change our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, actions, and reactions, we open ourselves up to creating a beautiful expansive garden. 

We Are Here to Learn

Anyone who has ever gardened knows that it takes continued maintenance to have a healthy garden— we are no different. The longer we go without self-care and self-maintenance, the more the weeds will grow and spread. Even if we do take good care of ourselves, old weeds will pop-up looking pretty as they invasively spread and take life from our healthy flowers and plants.  We are here in this life to learn. 

We need those weeds to help us see how we can grow and expand in a healthier way,  or if we choose a destructive way. We just want to make sure we don’t let them take over. When weeds take over, we know by our addictions that we use to numb ourselves, along with anything else we do to avoid doing the work to change the things we don’t like in our lives (blaming, shaming, bullying, gossiping, etc.) The more open we are to learn, the more healthy our gardens will be. 

Why Do I Stay Focused on this Topic?

If you follow FromALovingPlace.com, you know that I’ve written about this topic multiple times and in multiple different ways. Each post is different, but carries similar messages. This is part of my self-maintenance. I have to remember these things, because I’m not above being triggered. When I write these posts it soothes me. It helps me to see that a reaction I may have had was just a weed popping up that I need to pull out. Writing is one of the tools I use to pull out the weeds that can grow and spread if I don’t do something. Writing is my something. We all have to decide for ourselves, which tools we want to use, and how to use them. We aren’t here to plant our seeds in other people’s gardens. We can only offer our seeds. Writing on FromALovingPlace.com is how I offer the seeds I’ve planted. It also is helps me to plant seeds I’ve received. I use this blog to spread loving messages that help me maintain, grow, and expand my garden in a way that makes me feel good. If someone chooses to take them and plant them in their garden, the energy of love spreads. My seeds aren’t the only seeds. There are so many seeds that spread love. People don’t have to plant mine. That’s what I love about this process. The ones who offer different perspectives of love help me to expand my garden even more. Staying on this topic helps me to stay open to grow and expand. The more I can see the world through perspectives of truth, the more curious I get about learning from others. As I learned from my time in AL-ANON, I take what I like, and leave the rest.

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019