Beliefs are just guesses based on incomplete evidence.
They’re thoughts we’re in the habit of thinking. Things we actively keep reindoctrinating ourselves with.
That’s why the opposite of belief isn’t disbelief, it’s experience.
Because no matter how skillfully we construct our precious little mythologies to help us deal with the unknowable, eventually life takes the wind out of us and reality comes crashing in.
Can you think of memorable moments in life when your belief system failed you? When you thought something was perfectly blank and white, until a complicated new world showed little interest in such binary concepts?
My marriage counselor comes to mind. She had me build out a matrix of every romantic partner from my life, asking two sets of comparative questions for each relationship.
Section one included this:
What rules were you navigating by at the beginning, aka, what did you think love was? How did those rules shift by the end, aka, what did you find love to be?
Section two included this:
What are the lingering unanswered questions? What parts did you fill in interpretations for, but still don’t understand?
The exercise was transformative. It not only helped me understand my tendencies and blind spots in relationships, but also shifted the way I thought about belief in general.
Like how being overly protective of my beliefs was causing me suffering. And how nobody really knows anything, we’re all just guessing.
Even if that little lamp of idealism still burns hot, when we see that life and reality are different from our opinions about them, we have to adjust.
We have to be willing to turn over those boulders inside our brains.
Otherwise our hearts will stay in hiding.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When was the last time your idealism was spoiled by contact with reality in others?