Reading a post by a speaker I’ve come to admire, I realized how important it is to question what you think you know. Often. Very few people even consider the possibility that everything they believe to be true may not be so, or question where it came from. Our most deep rooted convictions have often seeped in without us even realizing it. We never stop to question “are they true for me?”.
I began college a little late (20 years old) mostly because I believed my dad when he told me at a very young age that the only degree I would ever get was an MRS degree. He thought it was hilarious and after I figured out what he meant, I began to believe it. Based on this ill-conceived conviction that had seeped in, I “knew” I wasn’t cut out for college and would probably end up making an OK wife (at best) because I loved to cook, but not really that great because I was also stubborn and independent (which was not a good wife trait according to dad). This all became a part of my belief system.
Don’t ask me why, but one day I decided to go nuts and give college a try. So off I went with my very liberal views and belief system firmly in place, ready to finally rebel against my dad and everything he stood for. Well, everything except for one thing. He was a successful business man with a lot of fancy things and a lot of debt to finance them. So I thought maybe debt should be the one thing I should emulate. I got a head start by getting my first credit card. It felt wrong instantly, but I ignored my gut and followed what I had been taught to be true instead. So I got a few more credit cards, a car loan, student loans and why not, a sofa bed loan. My gut instinct was to pay my bills in full as soon as they arrived, to spend only what I had, to know where every penny went. But I allowed myself to believe that my common sense mattered less than what I saw everyone around me do. Including my own family.
As I finished my first year in college I was living the dream! I got everything I wanted as long as I could afford the payment. I lived paycheck to paycheck. I believed I ruled the world and no one was going to stop me. I was completely lost, didn’t know it and was having a ball!
The years went by and my choices began to weigh heavy on me (financially and otherwise). I slowly began to open my mind and heart and became hungry for more information; especially if it wasn’t readily available. That’s how I eventually came to realize that who I truly was had nothing to do with who I had been convinced to become. I understood that my core values were actually very conservative and my actions finally began to reflect my new and true convictions more and more. And this time, it felt right. Swimming against the current is not always fun or easy, but no matter what you believe today, open your heart and mind and see what comes in. If it feels right (and not just fun) you may finally be headed in the right direction.