What’s more important, people or beliefs?
When we change, we sometimes experience a sense of alienation from family and friends. This is because they sense a change in values in us, and if they hold those values very dear, they can take it personally if we change.
It’s easy to see why people might not want to treat you the same way when you have differing beliefs.
A friend said this to me once. That statement really takes me aback, both in what he said how easily he said it. I haven’t heard from this friend since, because indeed, my beliefs have changed and no longer match his.
Important: your beliefs are not you. If you identify your self with your beliefs and values, then if someone comes along and challenges them, you will feel threatened and fearful. Emotions designed to protect you, such as fear, anger, and resentment, may threaten an otherwise good relationship.
People tend to avoid those topics that challenge or call into question their self-image, self-concept, and sense of emotional security. When a family member heads into an area of challenge, most of the time we want to avoid and ignore that area, out of a sense of not wanting conflict. But this only leads to shallow Thanksgiving dinners and boring conversations about the weather.
If we want meaningful human connection, especially with family and friends, we are going to have to learn how to separate our cherished beliefs and values from our sense of self. Otherwise we will fight tooth and nail when we encounter new beliefs and values.
We need not think alike to love alike.
Take a GoodMinute
What are my most cherished beliefs? How do I react to people who do not share them?
Have I experienced any alienation because of my beliefs? Can I see that it may be fear on the part of those who pushed back at my change of values?
Is it possible to detach ourselves from our beliefs and values? How might this be done?