Your Belief System

The person you are now was being developed many years ago. As a baby, people would smile at you and “coo” and you were already learning to perform for others, giving them what they wanted (and maybe more important, expected).

Over the years, all of those subsequent interactions formed the “print” of who you are; in essence, your self-image. The problem with that image is that it is based on the attitudes of others. The benefit derived for them is in who they think you are and the role that you’ve come to accept and play for them.

I’ve written often about reinvention here at the JBE. That journey continues, but I think I’ve arrived at a point where some newfound clarity was needed (and was missing).

My own lessons learned during the K-12 years and after—when I went off to college to play baseball, mainly—eventually led to a dead-end. At that point, I had to turn back, retrace my route, and find a different off-ramp, and a new road forward. that took place over a two-decade period.

There is a certain sameness that Americans crave and pervades life as we know it. I guess that’s why I’ve felt out of sorts for much of the past 10 months. The need for people I used to know to rush along with the rest of herd makes it hard to reconnect with most, if not all of them.

When my former boss died, I felt an obligation to reach out to former colleagues and people he knew in the workforce development world where I once resided, and where my mentor and I first met. Just like him, I’ve come to see that many of these former colleagues are pretty shallow; mere cardboard cutouts masquerading as human beings. I just shake my head thinking about some of the disingenuous email replies and responses I received.

I’ve intimated in this space that 2015 has been the most challenging year since I’ve been freelancing. It’s running neck and neck with a few other years back in Indiana, for most challenging ones in my life.

That being said, getting clear on some important things might just be the gift I wasn’t expecting from my year of adversity. As the dross has fallen away, I’m recognizing that I’ve gotten away from some basic values. I also recognize that there’s no value in forgetting the labor required to remove previous obstructions—I need to stay true to who I’ve become and not revert to the place where I was before.

So, can you define your core values? Also, are you where you want to be in your life? If not, why not?

It’s possible that you also have some work to do.

6 thoughts on “Your Belief System

  1. Hi Jim, Lots to think about here. My husband and I were talking about this sort of….I think just a bit ago before he took off to work. This may not be completely what you are speaking of in your blog today but we were talking about how to interpret conversations other people might be having with one another about each other when joking around or are they?

    Communication and how I think about someone and what they did/did not do/what they may do takes paying close attention on my part. I usually need to see their face and observe their expressions and the tone in their voice etc. and that can be very very helpful to me. Actions also matter to a degree, of course.

    Why do people react to certain things in ways that we do not expect? There may be a very complex answer to this question or simply how they are because of childhood experience or life long learning reactions to whatever the “news” may be. Or how they have handled situations and it may have or many not have worked out so well.

    I must go to Dallas in a few weeks to see my brother who is in hospice with lung cancer. It is something I must do and I hope it will bring some comfort to my brother and his family that I am there. I am matter of fact that I must do this but do have some other emotions buried inside. People may wonder why don’t I cry or show other strong and sad emotion when I speak of it. I don’t know. I just know that I must go thru the mechanics of getting ready to go and will share my care and emotions with my family when I see them.

    Your posts always make me think, Keep on writing.

  2. One of your best blogs yet. Didn’t know you were so vulnerable? Although I knew you were special. Thanks for the insight. I also appreciate your grief post. It helped me. Take care my friend.

  3. … People remain curiously obstinate and resolute in how they cling to their beliefs, even when faced with overwhelming evidence that points to a contrary situation. At root, this arises due to a conditioned and delusional fear that without beliefs, people would begin to lose their sense of purpose and individuality. Herein lies one of the chief debilitating problems with our beliefs: We tend to personally identify with them. This is absolutely unnecessary.

    When we carry a belief, it has a certain mental weight attached to it. The weight of each belief we internalize is derived from our mental and emotional investment in it. For example, if we have a modestly sized and rather casual belief, such as believing that a four-leaf clover might bring us good fortune–however subjective or insignificant that may be–it still accrues a little weight. Let us say its weight is analogous to a can of beans. We can happily throw that into our backpack and move around with no problems. It is hardly noticeable and does not impede our agility. It’s not until we beginto carry a dozen or so casual beliefs that things begin to noticeably change. So, in order to avoid becoming overloaded, we naturally become more selective about what is worth believing in. What’s the associated weight and what is the total amount we’re capable of carrying? This is diffrent for everyone, though the principle is the same: The weight of a belief is largely determined by the level of emotional and psychological investment we put into it. The heavier the investment–such as religious loyalty, abortion, politics, patriotism, good versus evil–the heavier the weight of belief.

    Most people aren’t just carrying around cans of beans in their backpacks. They’re hauling anvils, rocks, and sandbags too. Strangely, the heftier the belief, the more proudly people will sometimes bear its weight. If someone has carried a belief-anvil for 40 years, she is not going to react too kindly to someone telling her that it’s been totally unnecessary. All that effort and martyrdom would have been for nothing. So people hold fast to their own obstinacy, mentally staggering around under this peculiar encumbrance. Equally, carrying a disbelief also has weight. To firmly disbelieve a thing–often necessary to properly complement one’s opposing belief–just adds to the load. Disbeliefs require the same maintenance, egoic investment, and channeled consciousness as their positive counterparts. It all starts to get a bit silly.

    –Neil Kramer, The Unfoldment

  4. Sorry for such long quotation, but I thought it all worth including. Shorter pop versions include Springsteen’s “Till one day you just cut loose, cut it loose or let it drag you down.”

    Or as the Buddhists say, “Let go or be dragged.”

    Sally, may you bring peace and comfort, and find it yourself, when you go to visit your brother and his family.

  5. Thanks for the comments. The Kramer quote is one I hadn’t read before. It’s very good and fits perfectly with some of my Friday thoughts.

    I do appreciate my readers and your comments. I enjoy the two-way street of communication and dialogue that you add to my weekly musings.

  6. I am not sure if either of you are on Anne Rice’s Facebook page. She posts whatever she feels like with no care as to how her readers will react. Which I think is good. With her it is from a point of interest. She put up a research study on how children who are brought up in religious homes are more cruel than children who are not.

    Whoa she really opened up a can of worms. Some people got very agitated.

    I have my beliefs but when faced with something that challenges my beliefs I try to listen/read the discussion and/or points that people are trying to make. I am always interested in how people think and their points of view.

    I liked the quote LP and thank you for your kind sentiments about my brother.

    I am going to unplug from social media during the daylight hours today. Unless my daughter texts.

    Signing off.

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