I’m writing this piece cause I’m still afraid of bullies.
So, if I start getting too out there, just remember- it’s all about bullies.
Depending on our glasses, the same table can look yellow or blue. We all know this; otherwise we wouldn’t say things like ‘rose-colored glasses.’ But does this difference change the table itself?
Okay, of course tables don’t transform. But what about more complex things that we create on the spot, like conversations or our lives?
We talk about arguments as battles: “he won that debate” or “she attacked his weak points.” When we think about arguments as battles then we treat them as battles. What if we viewed arguments as dance? Not only would we approach the argument differently, the argument itself would change.
So, our ideas about the world are one set of glasses we wear. These ideas are our beliefs. I’m not talking about belief in the eightfold path as the way to nirvana. I’m talking about bullies remember?
In middle school there was Troy. Troy was big. Troy was erratic. Troy had goals that I couldn’t quite figure out. He was like reality. And the best way to survive around him was to be afraid.
This strategy came from and reinforced a larger belief: the best way to survive this life is to be afraid. Funny since nobody seems to get out alive.
Not so funny since my actions followed this belief. Every new experience felt like an encounter with Troy: be cautious, stay guarded, get in and out as quick as you can, don’t make any quick moves or you might startle the beast. All are good strategies for dealing with lions, but not so good when trying to enjoy a barbeque with friends.
So if yellow glasses make everything look yellow, then fearful beliefs make everything look scary. And when everything looks scary it might as well be scary.
I didn’t choose those glasses. They were one of many defaults. The difficulty is that these glasses were plastered so close to my face that I couldn’t see them. The beauty is that once I did see them I had a choice.
The choice was between staying there and admitting that I might be wrong. And if I was wrong then it was a matter of gaining evidence to the contrary, which thanks to wonderful friends was quite easy. Now I’m seeking out what other ridiculous glasses I might be wearing, cause getting rid of them quite literally changes the world.
I’m not talking about trading fear for Pollyanna’s optimism. I’m talking about challenging our deepest beliefs about who we are and how the world works because our lives and our world unfold from those very ideas. If it’s my life then I want a choice.