I have several people I think of as mentors in different areas of my life, some I actually know and work closely with and others who are Friends/Mentors in My Head. A few who started out as In My Head are real life mentors/friends now… which is just manifesting at it’s finest… but that’s a how-to for another day, dear readers.
The other day, I heard one of my mentors say something that snapped me out of alignment… did she really just say that? Is that what she really believes?
In this time of Cancel Culture, where many are inclined to grab their things, storm away, unfollow and lambast on Yelp and any other platform they can access at the slightest unpleasant interaction, I took a moment to pause and ponder:
Do I completely write off everything this mentor has done for me and for my community because of one difference in beliefs?
A resounding no. She is not my guru or my goddess. She’s a person. One of my favorite things about being human is that we have the option of choice. I’m not trying to be her and she needn’t be a replica of me. Sure, it’s cool, affirming, even fun, when beliefs align… but I don’t think complete synchronicity is necessary in any relationship, particularly one of this nature.
We don’t have to agree on every single drop of life. I am fiercely socially liberal. I know it’s not always “recommended” to announce beliefs like that in my line of work but I am unafraid to say that I think every single one of you has the right to be who you are and live this life on your terms, including the right to make the choices that are best for you and your family.
If I relish that right and I work to empower others to embrace that freedom, why would I even consider writing off anyone who thinks differently* than I do?
(*unless they are doing harm… then, we can part ways)
In all of my work on myself, I’ve learned to snap back into alignment, to not let (most) things derail my spirit. Within two minutes of hearing her opinion, I was able to reframe it as just that, something she believes to be true. I believe differently. It’s that simple.
I completely acknowledge that not every situation, relationship, or belief is this simply reconciled, but I do think you can find understanding in even those more complicated or triggering issues through these steps:
- Know your values. Write them down. Acknowledge what’s important to you.
- Understand your belief system and convictions. When you truly believe, you have the power to stand confidently, without that frantic or combative nature to convince others to be “on your side.”
- Take a breath. Cutting someone or something off radically can leave wounds. When you cut a piece of ribbon in half, both sides can get frayed… even if you reattach the pieces, the ribbon doesn’t look or feel the same.
- Allow others the same grace and acceptance that you deserve in return. You remember that Golden Rule.
- If you do react in a way that you wish you didn’t, own it. If you’ve been on the receiving side of a harsh reaction, forgive and delete. Mute, unfollow, snooze, take a break, block… tools that exist for a reason!
As I write this to you, I celebrate my mentor’s opinions and beliefs… all while still holding onto my own opinions and beliefs. This feeling is far more freeing and happiness-inducing than my (thankfully temporary) anger and dismay a few days ago.
After all… I’m not Judy, thus I cannot judge anyone. Embrace the humanness of your mentors, role models, colleagues, family… Much love.