When I was young, I believed I was allergic to mac and cheese! I won’t go into the details of why, but that belief was so strong that once at a pre-grade 8 summer camp, I refused to eat dinner one night because it was mac and cheese. To this day, I still don’t enjoy mac and cheese, even though I know I’m not actually allergic to it.
Belief is a powerful thing, especially if it is a belief that you have carried with you since your childhood. It shapes how you see the world, how you interact with other humans, and even how you interpret global events.
Sadly in today’s social media-driven world, our beliefs can be abused and used against us to make us believe new things that are not true, or are true enough to us, if we are already inclined to believe them. And so these new “truths” become part of what we believe in, and we will fight tooth and nail to protect our beliefs, especially if others would attack and ridicule us because we believe them.
I often think back to that summer camp, and I wonder what would have happened if the camp leader had treated me with disbelief and ridicule, instead of taking the time to understand my fears, and offering me an alternative. I may never have discovered that I was not allergic to mac and cheese…