The greatest thing that our education can give us is a voice. A voice that is filled with ideals, facts, compassion, and integrity. It’s hard to speak into the cacophony of the internet. We are silenced or mocked or misinterpreted, but the truth is that we should speak the words that we believe. Uphold ideals that may be tweaked with time and wisdom but are instrumental to our understanding of being human.
Sometimes, I am afraid to share my opinions. I am afraid of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and even incomplete ideas. These fears make me hesitant to share my view when internet dwellers will merely mock what I erred on rather than praise what I have attempted. Life is, after all, a series of attempts.
I believe that it is of utmost importance to have a personal rule book. Things that harm no one, but that guide each of us to be the people we dream of becoming. Aimless wandering and thoughtless speech results in a mess of a person. I don’t want to be a crazy girl who thinks one thing one day and the opposite the next, but I also don’t want to be someone who believes in something temporary. I don’t want to believe in circumstantial ideals, I want to have ingrained ideas of how I want to behave while remaining flexible enough to learn new perspectives.
In order to not be afraid of what we’ve said, we need to speak truths that we believe. It’s a shame to forget what we have previously stated and then come up with an argument anew. Were our previous words so unimportant as to flee without consequence? Our attempts at understanding and expounding should originate from what we believe our “self” to be. Morals at this overarching level should be able to remain unchanged.
Some of my beliefs that define my definition of humanity are:
1) Seeing myself in others and seeing others in myself:
Restricting judgment based on circumstances I do not understand. Someone could be gay, disabled, homeless, or mentally ill and for me to treat them poorly due to anything that makes them different from me would mean that if I had been born in that situation I would be deserving of poor treatment in turn. It’s the ability to speculate the ifs of being someone else and leading a different life, because the difference between being born me or being born someone else in this world is minuscule.
2) See the big picture:
In this materialistic culture, we tend to focus on the little things. On the errors, on the flaws, on the poor or the rich, but we should use our skill of discernment and synthesis to paint the full picture and behave with that in mind. It is mindless and wrong to act without paying any heed to the externalities. Technically, if one takes a moment to think about it, there are no externalities. Everything, to some degree, can affect everything else.
3) Make your own decisions:
One of the saddest aspects of the age of information and technology is that people take advantage of the information provided and use that as an excuse to stop thinking. Somebody else’s opinion is not YOUR opinion! Don’t agree just because it sounds good because there are a lot of people going to school to learn how to be persuasive and sell ideas that can be harmful. Make your own judgment by looking at the primary sources or going out and experiencing it yourself. The majority is not always right, and the majority is different depending on where you live.
4) Dream Right:
Pursue something that fulfills your inner self. Go ahead and make money, but have another purpose attached. Curiosity, philanthropy, the future? Think of something that will make you happy and dream about doing that. Dream about something that allows you to be yourself and that allows you to exercise the ideals that make you, you. I’ve experienced a lot of different jobs, some that pay, some that don’t, some that are socially conscious at their core, and some that are more interested in making money. I want to work with people that have dreams, that know what their vision is and that are selfish in a good way. It can be very disorienting to work at an establishment that is more interested in getting the job done, than getting it done right.
5) Be flexible and accept change (a caveat):
I am encouraging a practice of picking mindsets to live by, but things change. Circumstances change, people change, views change. I can do my best to live by rules that are universal and that do not need to be changed, but it can be dangerous to be convinced that we have arrived at this presumption of universal application. BE FLEXIBLE. Also be ready to face change. Whenever I write a blog post I await a comment that might shift my vision. This is why we share. The conversation borne of this network exchange is what helps us grow and helps us solidify our identities.
These 5 beliefs are the few I came up with off the top of my head, but I’m sure there’s more in there.