What or who do you believe in?
Beliefs can be a tricky thing. We all have them, in fact hold them dearly. Yet seldom do we explicitly state or share them. More often, beneath the surface, they inform, influence or dictate many of our actions.
Beliefs, according to the Oxford dictionary, can be defined in two ways:
One is “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.”
The second is “trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.”
Interestingly there is nothing in either definition to suggest that our beliefs are permanent and beyond question.
Of course, over time, certain beliefs can shift, particularly when confronted with new information (I’m looking at you Santa Claus.) But how often do we seek out opportunities to question our beliefs? Not in an outright effort to negate them or blindly confirm them but rather to deepen our understanding of where our beliefs come from. In other words, exploring why we believe what we do.
Recently I had an incredible opportunity to do just this. After reading a New York Times called “I Grew Up Poor. How Am I Supposed to Raise My Middle-Class Kids”, I reached out to its author Rev. Dr. Esau McCaulley.
He was gracious enough to accept the invitation of a stranger to come on my podcast, Attribution. It was an enlightening conversation as we questioned our beliefs around normally charged topics like race, religion, and responsibility. It was so refreshing to talk to someone who did not instinctively defend their beliefs but instead led with vulnerability and openness.
If you only ever listen to one of my podcasts, I’d highly recommend this one.
Some feel that when we question our beliefs it comes with the risk of diminishing them. As I hope you’ll see in this conversation, the opposite can be true. It enlarges us.
It increases our capacity to not only understand ourselves but others – whose beliefs may be different from our own.
I believe questioning our beliefs can be one of the most important things we can do as individuals and as a society. Of course, please feel free share your beliefs or question mine.