We’re living in a world that is boldly questioning the truth. A world where the lines between truth and lies have been completely obliterated: We are constantly assaulted with active misrepresentation and deceit.
Many of us are exhausted.
This exhaustion is not only because of the paradigm-shifting events of recent years. It also comes from being constantly fed misinformation about our own experience, and from constantly reworking our experience of reality to reconcile what we know to be truth with what is being said/ announced/ reported on/ etc. Misinformation can be as simple as an inaccurate statement about product availability. Or, as debilitating as a denial and dismissal of abuse or even genocide. This extra work to make sense of it all is taxing on our mental, emotional, and physical systems.
The good news is, we have an intuition and instinct about what is true. When that instinct is finely honed, the labor of reconciling reality and truth is much simpler. Now, more than ever, we have to take on the work of rebuilding that intuition, of affirming and solidifying our inner knowledge about what we can believe. It starts by looking at ourselves first, which should feel like a relief, considering how little influence each of us has over the way media, advertising, and academia functions.
Building intuition can be done through a style of self-guidance called reparenting. This is about choosing, as an adult, to be intentionally aware of your own experience of your body, mind, feelings, and spirit, and to purposely make sense of them. Reparenting is a free and effective way to build yourself up from the inside out.
It starts by allowing ourselves to question our own cultural systems or upbringing. Oftentimes, we don’t realize we have assumed the cultural norm we experienced was healthy. It may well have been. Certainly, for most of us, it was complex and unable to be defined as simply one thing.
We owe it to ourselves to ask and answer that question, because culture is established through repetition and reinforcement. What is repeated and reinforced may or may not build us. The repetition convinces us it’s normal and the normalcy seems to be healthy. This model of cultural norms guides our core beliefs without first asking, what’s being repeated? Is it a behavior or message, a way of eating, relating, going about our day, or worshiping? Without the benefit of questioning behavioral patterns and evaluating their impact, the common way forward is to believe repetition is normal and normal is healthy.
Normal is not in and of itself healthy, it’s just a repeated, unqualified experience or behavior.
In a healthy system, we are welcomed to question repeated actions, to evaluate their impact, implement change and always, consider all available data. In healthy systems, that data includes and perhaps prioritizes emotional input, thoughts, ideas and beliefs. Those parts of a person’s inner world are unseen by others but are the most real part of every individual’s experience. The signs our cultural system needs questioning are when we notice life has become harder than usual.
When life becomes harder than usual, we may find relationships to be complicated or dramatic; life to be full of chaos; an increase in internal conflict. For anyone who has been rocked by the violence of their own response to the world around them, there’s a way to guide ourselves that will simplify and restore ease that can change everything around us.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.