Belief System: I like to picture this as a pack of cards that every person carries in their pocket. The cards are very personal, the number of cards is also a very personal choice or taste I would say.
Every time an Incident occurs in our lives, we pick a card from the pack, try to match the reason on the card with what just happened. If the reason doesn’t match, we pick the next card. We do it until we feel satisfied, until the reason justifies the occurrence.
We build our pack as we grow up. It finds its source of inspiration (or influence) from our family, community we live in, our culture, our school, the religion (whether we believe in it or not), the people we meet, the multitude of experiences we have.
As we grow up we add new cards, sometimes exchange the old ones for new or just keep the old ones under the stack (just in case kinda). Some days we are generous, giving away the old ones and making place for something interesting. Some days we are stubborn, denying any upgrade to our cards. Convinced (falsely!) that our own pack is all that is, nothing is beyond it, we need to protect (from what?) it.
More often than not, the Belief System needs some serious revamp or fixing like our almost collapsing wardrobe (which looks really good on the outside but is a serious mess the moment you open the door). Well, even if you are shouting out there, “my wardrobe is clean and fully organised”, still once in a while it doesn’t hurt to shake it off a bit and make some changes. Especially in this age, where we have a series of technological advances every day, people are moving out of not just a community but moving across the ocean. People are trying to adapt into a different culture, time zone and “temperature” (Oh!! Yes!! adapting to Temperature, it is a completely different blog post 😉). In this era, there is an everyday need to adapt our Belief System.
To revamp or change a belief system, the trigger is a mere curious question & an open mind. A question against the reason presented on the card, to ask the question and to be truly open to see other possible speculations. Let’s take an example (how about an old age black-&-white example?)
You are back home from your summer vacation which you spent at your uncle’s house. You really had a great time playing with your cousin, flying kites, going to the beach along with other village kids, eating mangoes with your cousin was delicious completion which you totally nailed. Now you are back home, school has just begun, but you are really missing your cousin and all the good times that you had. You want to tell this to your cousin (no can’t WhatsApp! Remember we are in the black-&-white era, no phones here). So you write a letter with enthusiasm and nostalgia. You post it the very next day while returning from school.
Fast forward it’s been 10 days since you posted the letter. Enough of a time for the letter to reach and to get a response. You are wondering why this is taking so long? You reach out to your pocket & take out a card. The card says, “he doesn’t like you”. Oh boy!! hmm.. Now, you could either accept or deny it. Maybe you deny and toss it away or put it under the stack and pull another one.
Let’s consider you question the card. You wonder, why would he not like me? I don’t have enough evidence to support it. We had a good time together, playing and goofing around. At no point the feelings felt un-genuine. But we haven’t received a letter reciprocating our feelings, have we? Could it be that, the letter didn’t reach him? may be the pigeon died on the way (wasn’t it the postman?). Maybe the cousin is sick and didn’t find time (and strength) to write a letter back. So! we don’t agree with the card. Failing to provide enough evidence to support the case, we throw it in trash and rest the case!! phew!!
Consider you accept the card. You put it back in the stack, you get gloomy and plan to spend the next vacation with your other cousin.
Fast forward, you write a letter to another friend. Eight days, no response. You turn to your Belief System, pull out a card, “ he doesn’t like you” (wow! The same card! What were the chances?). You’ll accept it (again!) and life goes on with you being sad and sour of approaching people & expressing your feelings.
So what just happened here? You took an Action (writing a letter) which had a Consequence (no return response). To tie the Action with the Consequence, you need a thread, a reason, a story. You pull a random thread from your Belief System. But the thread may not be of the right size. We need to struggle to tie the Action with the Consequence and in turn it hurts us in the pulling and trying. So why not “not settle” for the thread we picked. Instead look for another one that fits it fine, satisfies us and puts us all at Peace? A simple thread/card that says “he might be busy”.
This happens in many situations in our lives. For instance, (Action) we give 6 months of effort & time to a project which (consequence) doesn’t meet success. We suck completely on the first date. We fail to get our dream job. Our instagram post gets only 10 (dang!!) likes.
In such moments, we either don’t give a buck for why that happened or we turn to our Belief System to find a reason. We pick a card which was influenced by the moral of some old story which is no longer relevant today. The reason could be
- he doesn’t like you! (oh hell not again mann!)
- You didn’t prepare enough
- You are not impressive or interesting enough
Or turn the table and blame others
- The company doesn’t deserve you
- They failed to realise the potential of the project
- Your instagram post is so good, people are jealous of how happy you are (oh really? well)
The list could go on. Nevertheless, it makes complete sense to look for a thread that fits comfortably. To put the action and consequence together and not to squeeze them or let it loosely held by an even longer thread. For instance, reasons like
- I need to come up with a better idea for the project
- I need to reflect on how to do better in interviews
- I should try to listen before I speak
- It is not about me but the other person and I should give it some time.
Or the best for some situations, “let’s stop figuring out the reason, forgive and move forward positively in life”. ❤️
As the old adage goes, “Change is the only Constant”, as humans, change is inevitable. Questioning our reasoning, reflecting and adapting our Belief System, as we move through life, meet different people, belonging to different cultures, holding different thought process, this seems to be a healthy and progressive approach to live by.
Hoping that in this time of uncertainty that the whole world is going through, we keep an open mind and adapt our Belief System, to create a room for acceptance, forgiveness (for self & others), love, compassion & understanding!