How often have you held something in your hands and said, “It is good, but…”? The same can be said of many things in our lives, not the least of which is what we use to define ourselves.
Our tenet systems are precarious things. We like to believe they are immutable and substantial enough to carry us through the darkest of times. When compared to those of people whose lives seem in constant turmoil, they do appear strong and powerful… until someone puts a mustard seed beneath our saddles.
A tiny irritant can bring an entire Federal investigation to bear on a single belief. Our mouths decry the need for change. Where does the buck stop?
The core of all tenet systems is the definite set of boundaries. We have our do not abide list and our expectations of what life will bring us as a result of our endeavors. Both of these are boundaries.
Obviously, the things we absolutely will not tolerate are bright boundaries, or so they seem until we meet the person who just barely crosses over the line. With enough motivation (love, money, support), we can move the line. What does that say about how we respect our own boundaries?
Expectations are what we use to gauge the worthiness of our labor (work, relationships, hobbies). How often are we engaging in pursuits which regularly fall just shy of expectations and routinely miss the mark altogether?
What we most often change is how much disappointment we will tolerate. Commonly, we chalk it up to age, wisdom and fatigue. We reach the stage in our lives where there is a fine line between don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t give a rat’s ass. Either we learn the disappointment is not as terrible as we imagined or it pales in comparison to the work involved in investigating how much work is necessary to change our expectations.
It is far simpler to accept things outside our comfort zone than it is to examine why we believe the way we do. We accept disappointment and failure without questioning why we deemed them less than. After all, some of the boundaries we have were not ours to begin. Since we accepted them without working out their feasibility for ourselves, we are not invested enough in them to be willing to work to change them.
Most often, we do not fight the mustard seeds which go against the beliefs we adopt from other sources. The change which results is one we deny. Since we do not change the beliefs we adopted, we deny accepting something less/more than them is changing who we are.
Rights are a premium example of something we adopt from others yet fail to protect with the same initiative we would had we developed the tenet on our own.
The erosion of rights, be they societal, social or personal, is a daily occurrence. Each of us has given up some of our rights when we enter a relationship with someone else. Time is the most sacrificed of possessions in any relationship. Time we would have spent in pursuit of ourselves (education, leisure, recuperation) dies on the altar of building a relationship, trust or camaraderie. The fact we do it willingly does not mitigate the death of our identifying pursuit. With no fight whatsoever, and in many cases we help it along, we have eroded our own pursuit of happiness and self-fulfillment.
At which point do we stop accepting something which violates what we profess and redefine what we believe? All too often, never is the answer.
Rather than take the mantle of revolutionary, we build another defensive wall around what we profess. Whilst the wall may keep out the passersby, challengers permeate it with ease. Engaging them in battle in our inner sanctum can be painful. Having our belief systems gutted means facing the music we have been (lazy about, disinterested in, oblivious to) being two-faced.
When pressed, we state:
I believe ____________.”
When our actions prove the statement a lie, we have two choices.
We can continue to profess beliefs we do not righteously live up to or support. With our head in the sand, our exposed tail is ripe for the kicking. Ignorance may be bliss, but in this case, ignorance is short-lived. Over time, those who pass from our view may well do so on the basis we are frauds.
Since toddlerhood, we have been ready to dash at a moment’s notice… until now. Going necessarily means initiating the Federal investigation and following with the painful steps of appropriation, actualization and recovery. Yes, we have to recover from the changes we make.
The appropriation includes the costs to all involved. How will Mate view us when we decide to stop being who we were? Will Quaint decide to sign on for the BFF role? Is Inner Child thrilled at the process? Consider all the implications of changing religions or getting rid of all those political friends who now find themselves on the other side of the aisle. Get out the (emotional) wallet and prepare to pay the piper. Revolution rarely comes without casualties.
Actualization is the meat and bones of the matter. Simply stating a new belief is entirely insufficient because it looks a lot like staying. We must craft new expectations, new reactions to challengers, new defenses and boundaries which either reflect our changes or adhere to the level of permissiveness we now acknowledge.
Recovery can be as simple as downloading a new GPS map for our lives or as complicated as building aqueducts and sprinklers across the Sahara. Our revolution has changed the topography of our operating world. Unlike downloading a new operating system, these changes are pervasive across everything we encounter. It may take our eyes a bit to adjust to the shift in perspective.
Have you revolutionized a tenet you adopted? How differently do you believe from (1, 2, 3) decade(s) ago? Are the beliefs you profess in line with what you accept?
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If you are not familiar with Mate, Quaint, BFF and the other characters, check out the playbill.
Links provided in the text are to supporting concepts from earlier posts. Feel free to join the discussions there as well.