A Message from our Editor, Issue #54 - Simple Choice
What is authenticity and how do we express it? As we grow up, most of us take on many of our parents’ values, attitudes, and beliefs. Perhaps we acquired their religious persuasion or their political opinions, their views on healthcare, parenting, or other aspects of life. More than likely, whether we believe it or not, these values have become a major part of how we identify ourselves. If we didn’t receive values from our parents, then we got them from the schools we attended, the teachers we respected, and all our other grown-up coaches who provided us with the content that shaped how we think and feel today.
Based on these influences and experiences, we have formed our set of values. We take these values and bring them into our relationships, our family, our social lives, our business, and more. In all these relationships, whenever we encounter perspectives that don’t resonate with our values, we are faced with a challenge: Will we remain static in our existing beliefs or will we expand our understanding?
Most of the time when our values are challenged, we react negatively, choosing to be offended by another person’s ideas or opinions. For example, we have all experienced approaching a friend or family member about a new idea and their immediate response is, “No, that’s wrong. This is right…” This interplay initiates a defense response in us, and often we reply in an equally fixed way, “How am I wrong? You’re the one who’s wrong. This is right.” We find ourselves in this familiar, polarizing pingpong game that never really gets resolved. Each party has become firmly entrenched in what is true for them, and begins to believe that what is true for them must be true for everyone.
I recently attended a meeting that was billed as an open brainstorm event. Most attendees were open-minded and unattached to the outcome, and an amazing discussion happened. Expansive ideas and theories were discovered. It felt great for all who were present, except for that one person whose fixed idea of an outcome remained intact. This participant was looking to lead the group toward certain conclusions, and presented ideas in a systematic way to entice agreement from the onset. There was no intent for input or growth, there was only the conclusion that needed to be reached.
We’ve all taken on that role at one time or another. If instead we exercise a more conscious approach in our relationships, we will inevitably receive the gift of a growth in perspective. If we can remain open to another person’s opinions without falling into the game of “right and wrong,” not only will we achieve personal growth, but we will establish something that’s much more important to prove to the world—our sincere respect for the expression of diverse opinions. By giving up our personal agendas, we free others to make an authentic, independent choice for themselves—a lesson too few of us learn in our upbringing. We also free ourselves from our attachments to what others think, their opinions, and their choices in life. We learn that the only expectation to have of someone is a reciprocation of respect.
The key to this change is detachment. If another person’s conclusions determine how we feel, then we are strengthening and feeding an inner addiction that opposes our authentic selves. We betray those higher values we have yet to discover for the sake of older, more ingrained values that live and strive to react. Strong authenticity brings with it an openness for new knowledge and a confidence that is self-sustaining. When we are authentic, we are not afraid to have our values challenged and we do not need others to accept our beliefs. We are detached—not living in opposition, but striving internally for an expansive growth.
We must remember that in all our relations, two versions of ourselves may emerge, depending on a simple choice. On the one hand, we can honor who we were and the values and attitudes we acquired in the past. On the other hand, we can honor who we may grow to become.
For the raising of the consciousness,
Jeanne Ohm, D.C.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #54.
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