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Posts Tagged ‘religion’

I have spent a great portion of my life allowing others to make my decisions for me.  When I was a child, I did everything according to what my parents dictated.  As I grew older, the peer pressure kicked in and off and running I went with the pack.  Then it was in the work place where I acquiesced to all of the rules and regulations of the office.  And at the same time, my social life was governed by all of the usual ways of meeting and getting to know others.  That was until I started to see that all of the tried and true methods of existing with others didn’t work for me.

The first thing that I had decided to tackle was religion.  I had been raised to believe that God was someone/something to fear.  This worked for all of the time that I was under the thumb of my parents and religious studies but once I was on my own, I started to question this premise.  That wasn’t my God – my God loved me and helped me and I was made in his image.  Ding, ding, ding!  So what everyone else had told me was true was not my truth. 

That wasn’t the end by a long shot.  As I moved through the work place, I worked very hard and was able to work my way up through the ranks in a segment of government dealing with taxation.  When I reached the top position that I could attain without a political appointment, I knew that it was time to move on but that did not happen until I learned another very important lesson.  There were rumors going around that said that the only way that I could have achieved what I had was because I was “sleeping” with someone higher executive.  I was having a really hard time dealing with that and I chose to discuss it with my dad.  His response to me was that at the end of the day, I had to answer to myself and if I wasn’t doing anything wrong, then it didn’t really matter what anyone had to say.  Now that was something that fitted with my thinking.

Well, I guess I still hadn’t learned my lesson because the next big event in my life was my marriage to a controlling and abusive man to whom I gave my power for 10 years.  It took me that long to understand that I did not deserve the abuse that I was receiving and that all of the things that I was told that were wrong with me just weren’t true.  I believe that that was my true turning point.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I still do ask for people’s opinions especially when I need to make a decision in an area where I don’t have any expertise.  But, I will take that information and do my own research and if something doesn’t make sense to me or doesn’t feel right, I will not stop until I can reach a decision that feels like the right thing for me.  This has ruffled more than a few feathers along the way but if my relationship with another person has to be based upon what that person thinks about me, it won’t take long until we part ways.

So to anyone who comes my way in this lifetime, I don’t care what you think about me.  I will appreciate you for exactly who and what you are and I expect the same in return.  I will support you in any decisions that you make and I will accept nothing less in return.  And should you choose to talk negatively about me or do things that are harmful to me, I will not do anything in retribution but will quietly remove myself from your sphere, knowing that what goes around comes around and you can set up any karma for yourself that you choose.

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When the word “acceptance” is mentioned, it is usually associated with religious or racial tolerance of those that may be “different” than you.  However, there is a much larger scope that I believe needs investigation.

 

Each person is an individual and has a separate set of experiences in which they were raised.  Most of our beliefs are what we were taught by out parents, teachers and other authority figures as we grew up.  For some people, these teachings have become infallible and there is no way that there will be an acceptance of any other tenets in their lives.  And if you look at the reason that wars are fought, it is because of people’s steadfastness in their personal beliefs that they are right and anything that does not fit into their teachings is wrong and the holders of those opposing beliefs are a threat and should be eliminated.

 

If you look at the underlying reasons for such steadfastness, I believe that you will find that such beliefs are based upon fear of the unknown and/or a struggle for power by those who believe that they are better than others.  I was raised as a Catholic and do believe in the basic teachings of the religion.  However, when I went to Catholic school, I was taught fear of God and that I had to behave in a certain way or God would punish me.  I was also taught that every other religion was wrong and that it was a sin to enter their places of worship and to investigate anything about those religions.

 

Thank heavens I was also taught to think for myself.  My God is a loving God, not a God to fear.  And if other people believed differently than me, that didn’t make them bad people as I would have been led to believe.  So I decided to explore not only my religion but everyone else’s as well.  As I studied, I determined that there was no reason for me to believe that my religion was right which meant that all other religions were wrong and ultimately I decided for myself to not participate in any organized religion.  Such organizations represented to me only that certain people had chosen to have power over other people and they were using religion in order to make that happen.

 

I believe that all of us have the right to believe as we choose and that no one has the right to judge those beliefs.  This does not only apply to religion but also to every other choice that we make in life.  I may not always believe that a decision that someone else makes is the best one but I am in no position to judge that that decision is not the best for that person.  I accept people exactly as they are and have no desire to attempt to change anyone in any way.  After all, I need all the time and information that I have to make my own decisions and can’t begin to think about those of anyone else.  As a result, I would hope that others would accept me for who I am and what I do just as I accept them on the same basis.  Now if everyone would accept everyone else in that same way then we would have no more conflict on any level.  What a prospect!

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