Lately, I have been thinking about what I’ve seen on the news, and heard being said on social media and by my friends and myself. I’ve found myself complaining a lot, lately, and I started looking deeper into why after having a long conversation with someone much wiser than myself. Finally, I started writing down things that bothered me, thoughts I had about issues I’ve heard of or experienced, and pulling apart the complex emotions that go along with it.
I am a flawed human being, I will be the first to say that. But I’d like to think that I have a strong moral compass and a solid Faith. Sometimes, however, that is all buried under the worldly worries that I have in my life. I have started trying to identify why that might be, which led me to remembering many things that I’ve been told over the course of my life. Some of it I didn’t believe, but most of it I have believed without question, for at least a small amount of time. These things compiled up, and I am realizing now that they have led me to becoming quite conflicted in certain areas of my life.
And I know that I’m not alone. Through conversations with many people, I’ve come to realize that this is a wide-spread problem. Most of the time, we complain about things that we’ve been told or overheard, without looking deeper to find out why they offended us so much. I have a theory that we are bothered by what we hear mainly because at some point or another, someone has stated that very thing as fact, and we’ve believed it.
So the following is a list of things I have been told, that are in no way true but that I’ve believed (even for the shortest moment). They are things that offend me, and that I complain about now that I know they’re false. These are vastly simplified, and hardly a complete list (I’m sure we could all come up with hundreds), but it is a good start.
A few false things the World has told me, that I’ve actually believed (however briefly):
1. I can’t be happy if I’m not in a relationship.
2. If I choose a career, I need to stick with it despite everything, or I am a quitter.
3. I shouldn’t travel alone, because I am a woman and it’s not safe.
4. I should be afraid of and avoid all of the dangers in the world, but I’m not truly living if I don’t place myself into situations where I encounter those dangers.
5. I’m not worth anything unless I have people recognizing and praising me for accomplishments that I should do anyway, because it’s my responsibility.
6. That I’ve given up if I “settle”.
7. I am indecisive and a quitter if I find myself unhappy in the career I thought I would love, and want to leave it.
8. That I won't really know myself until I have every piece of my life lined up in perfect order.
9. I should lower my expectations, because I am being unreasonable.
10. I can’t share my Faith because I might offend someone, but I need to listen when others share their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, because it is polite.
11. That I should not be offended by other people’s opinions, but that they have every right to be offended with mine.
12. That I should just keep my mouth shut and smile pretty.
13. That I am being unpatriotic when I say that I want to live in another country.
14. That I cannot share my political views, but I need to listen to others’ because they know what they’re talking about.
15. That you can leave your responsibilities as easily as you drop your shoes, and you will be praised for being “brave” or “following your heart”.
16. If you stay and work on hard relationships, you are clinging to something unhealthy.
17. That I can do anything, but am limited to what someone else believes I am capable of.
18. I am a failure if I don’t receive positive, external reinforcement for every little thing that I do.
19. That it is alright for me to judge others, and it is fine if I get offended at them for doing the same to me.
20. That I am justified in my complaints against other people, but their complaints against me are all lies.
21. That I am the victim, no matter the situation or the evidence against me.
22. That everyone is out to get me and the only person I can depend on is myself.
Again, this is only a small list of things that I am sure we've all been told at one point or another (replace the word "woman" with "man", if you need to). Some we might even still believe.
Just think about it, and add onto the list if you have something that you feel deserves it (whether in your own mind, or in the comments).