Where do you go to get your information? Do you have a trusted source or a few trusted advisors you consult when you’re in a difficult place or need to make an important decision? I think we all do, and should, to make sure we consider all angles of a situation, but not relying on a single source of truth in the process. Does that even exist; a single source of truth? I’m starting to believe no, but we’re taught that there are single sources of truth for things and not to question them because they are cultural norms we’ve bought into.
We are taught not to challenge and to take a word because a certain person or group says it is so. Some cultures find it extremely disrespectful to question elders or those in perceived positions of power, so you take their words and counsel out of respect and to stay in line. But who are they to tell us what is right/wrong or how to think? It’s all about programming. A couple of examples of how I’ve seen this show up in my own life through parents and close friends. I think we all have a moment when we realize our parents didn’t receive an instruction manual on how to be a parent and how to deal with all of the twists and turns that may come with parenthood. Actually, there may not be a manual, but there are plenty of opinions and people willing to share their perspective based on their own experience.
So we grow up following our parents, not thinking about anything other than they’re who we follow because they are our parents. Then you have a moment (or several) where you realize they may not know what they’re doing and they are completely winging it to the best of their ability. I made mine wrong when I realized this the first time, but now can appreciate that they were doing their best the entire time. It may have been influenced by some people who also didn’t know better, but they, nonetheless, did the best they could. When I realized this, I was able to see them the same as me in that we’re all trying to figure out how to do our best in this life. Can you really ask more than that? Not really, but you can ask what information passed down to you is worth saving or re-evaluating and tweaking for your own life.
Same thing goes for friends and trusted advisors in your life. I had a friend who I put on a pedestal because they were older and had more life experience. I held onto their every word because of it and never thought twice until many years after we met. What I realized is they were giving me their perspective on situations and topics, but it wasn’t something I needed to take as gospel. It got to a point where they told me this and I was upset with them. They were my trusted advisor, but they were also telling me not to take their word even though they were offering it. I remember being mad at them but also mad at myself for not having the mental discipline to think for myself in certain situations, but relied on someone else’s so-called wisdom to get me through my own life. I have since forgiven myself for not knowing any better and forgiving this person for just being them.
This is also something that is perpetuated with a 24hr news cycle and with so many sources of information that can be either unreliable or biased because it is targeted at a certain group. It is also hard to tell what is worth accepting due to the sheer volume of information we have at our fingertips; sometimes it’s hard to sift through it all and make sense of what matters to us.
Sometimes it can be hard to know what is truth or an accurate portrayal of a story because there are so many spins on it. You know that saying “there are 3 sides to every story, yours, theirs, and the truth” it kinda make sense because we put so many distortions on things and the information we receive isn’t often validated because it came from a certain source. We just accept and don’t validate to see if it’s something to believe. What if you were to give yourself permission to ask questions and discern whether a story, situation, or piece of information is for you and is accurate? What if you were to hear something and take a few seconds to process the information to see if it resonates with what you believe to be true in the moment given your life experience and belief system? And what if you gave yourself permission to trust your gut reaction when someone tells you something that doesn’t quite resonate with you despite them being someone you respect and value their opinion? We have to get to a point where it’s okay to trust ourselves and go with our gut and know that we will be okay for doing that.
So, with that I ask: What is your truth?