The best measure of someone’s mental, emotional and spiritual development is not how strong his/her opinions are.
Nor the complexity of their beliefs or the fierceness with which they’re defended.
It is their capacity for empathy and compassion.
Their ability to remain open to looking at (and hearing) different opinions without feeling attacked, defensive or triggered.
It is easy to cast judgement and wallow in our pool of self-righteousness, believing that we’ve got it all figured out.
It is those who doubt the most in their beliefs, the ones that feel the strongest need to protect them and convince you of them.
If you don’t believe me, just look at religious fanatics:
Quick to judge, alienate, coerce, force, discriminate and even kill in the name of God.
Like having sex in the name of virginity.
Nobody has to convince you that fire burns because you have probably burned yourself before.
You have experienced the truth.
And if someone came by and told you that fire freezes or tickles, you would look at them with a big smile and listen, knowing that they will probably get burned at some point.
But then they’ll understand and learn, and that’s good!
Or if they are curious, they might listen to you and ask questions and avoid learning through pain.
One thing is certain: there wouldn’t be a need (especially not an aggressive one) to convince, indoctrinate or change the way they think.
There wouldn’t be an emotional charge towards their opinion (even though it contradicts what you know to be true).
So in your quest for truth, know that most of the time we only (barely) reach OUR OWN truth.
A partial truth.
Our own way of seeing the world.
And there are as many ways of seeing the world as there are humans on earth!
Every teacher and mentor I have met (whom I have chosen to trust) has had one thing in common:
They do not judge.
They do not think they own THE truth.
They share what has worked for them and hope that it can inspire you and help you in finding YOUR OWN path.
The opposite is also true.
The fastest way for you to know whether to trust someone or not (especially a teacher, coach, mentor or spiritual guide) is in how they react to conflicting thoughts and opinions.
If they believe that their way is THE only way – RUN!
Intelligence, love and confidence breed curiosity.
Fear and single-mindedness breed judgement and closedness.
So be mindful of whom you follow.
Everyone is entitled to their own truth, their own perspectives and their own narratives.
Afterall, everyone gets to write their own story.
Some like to write prose and poems.
Some like drama and thrillers.
Some like science fiction.
Some lack proper grammar.
But it’s THEIR story.
And yours is also only yours.
If it is working for you, amazing!
If it is not, perhaps it’d serve you to change the style of the narrative.
It’d serve you to look for people (who are writing similarly to the way you’d like for your own story to unfold) and to learn from them.
But at the end of the day, what defines YOU as a person is your ability to accept conflicting beliefs with an open heart.
Loving the other when in disagreement.
(That is when it really counts. Being loving when we all agree, that’s effortless.)
Accepting the world as it is.
And not expecting it to fit your own, unique, personal model of how it should be.
So in these times that everyone seems to have THE truth, THE right advice, THE right insights (into health, into politics, into the economy) The truly scarce thing is not information…
Or toilet paper 😉
What is truly scarce (and needed!) is compassion, understanding and acceptance.
And THAT is the real proof of your character.
PS: SHARE if you feel some people could benefit from reduced righteousness and enhanced compassion and curiosity!
PS2: I have a Newsletter! Where every Monday I share non-bs practical spirituality and relational tips. If you enjoyed this, you’ll enjoy being part of that.