Consider that you may be wrong
Motivated reasoning, the way we interpret information that is shaped by our past, desire, and most notably fear, can have life altering consequences.
If there is one thing that bothers me it's doubt, not being believed and knowing that someone is sitting back judging me without being in my shoes.
In the past I would insist on talking about it, "working it out", and become increasingly frustrated when that simply does not work.
It's difficult to continue down a path when you don't know what's on the other side. The effects of medicine, career change, sharing my story, all carry risks that I'm very well aware of.
There are consequences to everything. Taking a sleeping pill may give you dementia but not sleeping can cause Alzheimer's. Which is better? I don't know. It's a risk.
There is risk in every choice and risk taking hard if you choose to live a life that is full of self motivation and challenge. More difficult is continuing on with risk when you know others might not agree. I believe in following my gut, having faith in knowing that if I've made the wrong choice my inner voice usually guides me back, rather than mitigating risk at each and every corner. No risk results in stagnation. I'm not interested in that.
This is after all what gives me the ability to create, reinvent myself, and cultivate curiosity. This is why we have thinkers, artists and motivators. They are willing to take risks despite inner and outer critics and although the may fail along the way, they use failure as a building block to creation. They admit they're wrong and then use it to move on.
Being wrong has taught me empathy.
In the past I have not had much empathy for people who struggled with addiction, weight issues, or a myriad of other afflictions that I didn't know much about, nor bothered to learn about. Then I experienced the feeling of not being in control of myself and was given a window into how this feels.
It was through this experience that I realized I had been wrong and judgmental.
I feel the same way about spirituality. I didn't get it. I now get it. Or at least I consider the possibility that it exists, which is a giant realization for me.
I used to butt my nose into a lot. I tried to save people from themselves. I was always convinced that I knew better. Maybe I did. The point is-it's not really my business is it? Especially when indeed I may be wrong. If I think that someone in my life is not aligned with my goals, best interest, or health I choose not engage, or keep it to a minimum in order to protect myself and perhaps protect them.
It's hard at first but it becomes a practice. After the grieving period of losing whatever relationship I have moved away from I am able to live more peacefully. I also know that there is room for that relationship to come back into focus. It just might take a while. Perhaps in the future it may mean admitting I have indeed been wrong. It might mean waiting for the other person to come to their own acknowledgment.
I know it sounds cliche but you can't control anyone else, only yourself. I have not perfected this by any stretch but I am more aware of this rule than at any other time in my life. As a result, my circle has gotten smaller.
Although every bone in my body wants to insist that everyone get on the same page as me, I know that will do me no good. Instead I need to work on myself and let other people work out their own lives. Also cliche and hard to implement.
Our judgement is so strongly influenced by which side we want to win. I've just started down the path of understanding a bit more about why we think we are so right rather than considering that there may be something more to consider within a given set of circumstances. We need to widen the lens.
It's a fascinating subject.
In the meantime however, I'm going to continue my risk taking, continue following my gut and let curiosity guide me.
I invite you to do the same. You never know what you'll find on the other side and perhaps you will have created something special along the way.