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How to have stress-free beliefs

In some ways, “agreement” and “disagreement” are two sides of the same coin.

Although they have significant differences, they are frequently united by a common belief in the supposed “rightness” of a particular position and the “wrongness” of those which contradict it.

“Agreement” is typically accompanied by the felt need to defend or attach one’s self to the ideas that have been regarded as correct.

Conversely, “disagreement” often compels us to refute or save others from the ideas that have been regarded as false.

These tendencies can easily undermine our peace when we feel our beliefs are under attack or they can make us feel threatened when in the presence of those who voice contrary opinions.

Below, I have outlined another way to approach ideas. Using it has allowed me to mitigate much of the stress and tension I once experienced on a regular basis when others didn’t see reality my way.

Perhaps it can help you do the same.

Find What’s Useful

We can see ideas as value-neutral concepts that function as vehicles of exploration for possible experiences.

For any given experience we might wish to create, we could pick those ideas that offer the opportunity to explore whatever we’d like to experience.

Rather than debating the logic behind our ways of seeing, we can simply choose what feels right for us and try them out. We can then evaluate whether or not our conceptual models are effective at helping us satisfy our personal goals.

Simply put, either our ideas work for us or they don’t.

This process of discovering and enjoying what works for us has nothing to do with debating or converting anyone else, unless we decide that debating and converting others is what makes us happy.

Are you wearing the “right” tee shirt?

In this sense, concepts could be adopted or abandoned, like articles of clothing. We could pick them up and put them down on an “as needed” basis without the stress that comes with feeling attached to them.

Just as a green shirt doesn’t need to be argued for, our ideas can be construed as expressions of our creativity which require no justification.

Our ideas wouldn’t have to define us any more than our outfits would.

We could still be passionate about our ideas, just as one may be passionate about wearing gym shoes rather than dress shoes to a marathon.

But our passion would not be based on the notion that our intelligence, self-worth, or integrity depends on us having the “right” beliefs and others having the “wrong” ones.

My opinions are not “true”

This way of thinking about ideas is just one of many possible approaches.

It isn’t necessary to see this way as “right” or “wrong.” It is necessary, however, that you do what’s best for you. And that’s something you can do without anyone else’s agreement or approval.


T.K. Coleman

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