A year after my late husband passed away I came to the States for a break. It took that long for me to be close to having my head on straight. I headed for Florida because the sun would be shining and because they spoke English…well American.
Point being I would be able to understand what was being said to me. Whereas Spain or Italy or some other sun-soaked Mediterranean country, whilst lovely, would come with a built-in language challenge and I’d had enough of challenges for the time being thank you very much.
So here I am in Florida. Every morning I took a walk on the beach and gave thanks. Thanks that I was privileged enough to be with my husband when he passed away, thanks that I was able to come to this amazing country, thanks for the love and support of my friends and family…I was grateful for so much.
But I also had questions. Who am I now that I’m alone? Why am I here? What’s important to me? Am I safe? Can I do that? Is that okay? What do I want? Where shall I begin? What do I believe?
Aah that proved to be the big question. What do I believe?
Would you be surprised to learn that I didn’t know what I believed…. I was…very surprised.
It hit me like a ton of bricks that what I thought were my beliefs were really those of my late husband. Not all of them…just some of them. There was something wrong with this picture. So I delved a little deeper.
I could see beliefs that came from my parents, and from the culture and community I was raised in and that I’d never really noticed, never really paid attention to whether a belief was truly mine or a hand-me-down. Not that there was anything wrong with the beliefs…it’s just that they didn’t belong to me. Yikes!
I didn’t know much about how life worked, but I did know that my beliefs were the basis of how I experienced the world. And I wanted greater, bigger and better experiences. Who doesn’t?
So I began to constantly ask, why do I believe that? Frequently the answer was…I don’t know. Is that pathetic or what? It’s a good job I’ve never claimed to be perfect!
It’s an ongoing task, sorting out beliefs. But that’s fine because I’ve learned to not only question beliefs but to look at them from the perspective of whether they helped or hindered me. Whether they brought joy or annoyance. Whether they were productive and positive or negative and self-defeating.
Some of them I’ve replaced, almost easily. Others…not so much. As I say, it’s an ongoing task.
But I do believe even though I’m not perfect, I’m okay. And more of the beliefs I now hold actually belong to me…because I chose them…and I can change them if I want to.
So can you…if you want to.