I’ve been thinking about that, lately. You know what I mean? The odd little things that we come to believe? The ideas we’ve had, it seems, all our lives about how things should be, how we should be, how others should be? None of which is based on anything but someone else’s opinion or insistence, not logic, not understanding, not even survival.
I think that we all have arbitraries. And I also think that we’ve had them most of our lives, that they have been around so long and are so insidious that we don’t even question them. They just are. Right?
I don’t know why exactly but I’ve started wondering about mine. Like why do I believe that you shouldn’t let people know (not even friends) when you’re down? Why is it a sign of weakness to ask for help, especially if money or anything remotely close to it is involved? Why do I have a certain time limit in my head as to how long I can accept a friend’s hospitality, help or comfort? Why do I secretly believe that despite my many abilities, intelligence and competence, that I am not hirable? That no one wants to give me a job or work? Why do I think that when things gone wrong it’s because I must be bad? Lots of questions – any answers?
Well, I don’t know if I have answers exactly but I do think that I think these things because somewhere along the line, someone instilled these ideas in me. I didn’t notice or maybe I was just too young to realize that these were arbitrary ideas, rather than the truth. Occasionally, I have a vague recollection, a moment frozen in time where I’m watching me being told something bad about myself. Being made to believe it. It’s a little scary actually, memories like those. And often I’ve convinced myself that I was imagining it. Now, I’m thinking, not so much.
Where they came from and from whom they were issued may not be important. Although being aware of them probably is. It’s hard in modern life to just sit down and reflect on anything – everything moves so fast and we are always, consistently behind it seems. Life demands more of us and yet, seems to give less back then it did to our parents and grandparents. Technology, cell phones, instant connections and communications all make it very difficult for us to just step off the out of control merry go round and really consider why we think what we think.
But I’ll tell you something I believe it’s worth the extra effort. I’d be willing to bet that most of you have funny little things you believe about yourselves, that has no basis in fact or truth. But like a favorite pair of shoes, you keep it close to you and trot it out often, probably daily. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we all just realized that most of the crappy stuff we think about ourselves is nothing more than arbitrariness whose seeds were sown when we didn’t know any better?