Outdated Beliefs

Love is enough. Or is it really?

Photo by Nicole Geri on Unsplash

Perhaps it is a product of growing older, but over the years, I realised some beliefs I have operated my life on especially in my younger years are not very sensible. Sometimes I wish I had known these sooner so I share some of them in this post.

This is usually meant to encourage children to believe they can do any job imaginable when they grow up as long as they work for it. As a child, I did believe this. However I have come to realise “anything” is such a strong word. As someone born in the Philippines with no connection whatsoever with people in politics, what chances did I have to be the United States’ Secretary of Defense? How about the single teenage mother in the slums, what chances does she have to get a job as a data scientist? I feel ambivalent about this statement because I understand there is some social pressure of trying to get the child to dream big but as reality dawns on people, this statement can be very misleading.

Quite a number of people I know (myself included) have a belief that they will be happy when some event happens or some wish is fulfilled. There are countless assertions like “I will be happy when I finish my degree” or “I will be happy when I find a job” or “I will be happy when I get that promotion”, or “I will be happy when I find a boyfriend / girlfriend.” I have come to realise part of feeling happy is feeling fulfilled or accomplished but it is not the end-all be-all. Part of being happy is also having a healthy attitude towards failures, being kind to oneself, and practising daily gratitude. As the author Mark Manson wrote, a good life is not a life without problems but a life with good problems.

This one may feel like an odd ball as this is less about the self but more about how I view human species. However, I include this as it affects other politically charged topics like views on animal and human rights, superiority of one species over another and the like. Human intelligence as an inherent gift that animals do not have was preached to me like gospel by various sources. But humans are getting better at understanding non-human intelligence. Today, I learned that crows can analyse and can communicate this quite efficiently. And we probably all know that dolphins are self-aware and octopuses have an amazing memory. As we learn more about our fellow animals, we should update our textbooks and un-learn this somewhat egocentric view.

And the last of the outdated beliefs shared in this post is..

Finding a good life partner is just as important in maintaining one’s well-being as something trivial we learn in school, such as getting physical exercise. And yet we rarely discuss or teach our children how to do this. Contrary to mainstream movie plots, love is not enough as a criteria to find a life partner and live “happily ever after”. For example, you need to be able to trust the person with your life and family’s lives if they depended on it, your money, and all agreements that come with living together. You can have love without trust and likewise, trust without love. In a life partnership, you need to have both. You also need to have friendship, learn conflict-resolution, joint decision-making, and have compatible goals in life.

With new facts and experience, we can welcome new understanding and with new understanding, we can welcome change.

Changing outdated beliefs are part of how we evolve as individuals. This belief is one that will last.

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