De-mythed: 4 things that aren’t always true

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2011 was the epitome of the #strugglelife for me.

Failure, mishaps, and oddities assaulted me on just about every angle of my life.

In the midst of those assaults, there was a whole lot of personal, professional, spiritual, physical and emotional myth-busting taking place.

I hated it.

No one likes to have their mental, financial, spiritual or emotional foundation rocked. I had all of that.

And then some.

I reconnected with my life coach yesterday and decompressed what I felt the last year was for me, and my hopes for this year.

She said, “it sounds like your mental and physical house was stripped down to its foundation.  Now it’s time for the rebuilding.”

“Hmph”. I thought.  And Yes, I agreed.

So yea, 2011 was house stripping and myth-busting for me.

And on that same note, I want to bring to y’all a few common (seemingly random) myths that I want to talk about.

1) Myth:  If/When He(She) cheats…the other partner will leave

While in DC last weekend, Me and the girls were talking about some random cheating. It went something like.

Friend: “Amanda cheated on Pete.”

Me:  ”So.  He’s not leaving.  And furthermore, who are all of these people who ‘leave’ once they initially find out their partner has stepped out.”

You see, I don’t know one person. Not one person.  Who has ever left after they initially found out their partner had went astray.

I’ve never left. My friends have never left. My family members have never left.  Friends of friends have never left.

So, that leads me to assume that most people don’t leave.

At least initially. Maybe eventually.  But almost always, never, initially.

Don’t believe me?  Think about it.

2) Myth:  Your dreams/purpose/passions are gifted to you to make you rich

Where in the world did we get the idea that our innate reason for being and our inner purpose was to buy more stuff, accumulate excess, and feed the beast of capitalism?

Who told us that our passions should pay?

And what do we do when something that gives us life and purpose doesn’t pay monetarily but actually PAYS by giving us ‘life’, energy, inspiration, motivation, joy?

Is it (the dream) not real if it doesn’t lead to greatness in the eyes of the world? Is the (the dream) not real if you can’t buy an expensive THING off of it?

Nope.

The reality is this:  God didn’t make us and give us our purpose to get paid, he gave us our gifts to serve, to make us happy, to give us life to give us peace.

You may say, “Well, God wants me to be rich so that I can be a financial blessing to others?” And to that, I say…”huh? the main contribution you can give someone is some dirty dollars?  Not time, not attention, not relationship?”  Ok.

I’m not saying that passions/purpose/dreams don’t make some people rich…that’s obviously not true. What I am saying is that overwhelming financial success or external accolades aren’t needed to validate passions/purpose/dreams. 

If all of your dreams revolve around getting paid, if you believe your sole purpose is to accumulate stuff, I’ll have to ask you…why? And who’d you get that from? And are those dreams feeding you or chasing you into a weird despair?

3) Myth:  You know what will make you happy…always. You can predict future feelings

I’ve read about Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness.   Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, writes that we are horrible predictors at what will make us happy.

I thought that was a crock of crap…until it happened to me.

I’m a seminary student. But before I was a student I was ambilvalent, angry, anxious, weirded out about the prospect of going to ministry school and taking this path.  I was flip-flopping on going even up until the first day of school.

Then school started.

And I loved it.

And it became a source of salvation and peace in my otherwise frustrating world.

That experience let me know that: my fears be lying and I can’t predict future feelings. 

Dont believe that you will always know what makes you happy?  Think about the times you’ve been surprised by happiness. I know you got some.

Bottom line:  You can’t predict future feelings.

4. Myth:  People have to be perfect to give advice

Penelope Trunk, a popular blogger and entrepreneur, wrote a telling post last December about her experience with domestic violence. 

Most of the commentors railed and roared against her for still staying with her abuser.

Some of the commentors expressed deep sorrow at her turmoil

And other commentors worried about ‘how’ she was dissolving her ‘personal brand’ by writing about such intimate matters.

And some more commentors thought that they couldn’t take anymore advice from her because her life was such a sh*t show.

Reading those comments, I realized that most of us only want to see and hear about the good things in people’s lives.

This is exaggerated when the person is a thought leader, a spiritual authority, celebrity, etc.

We people have a desire for our ‘experts’ to be perfect.  My psychology professor would maybe say that we project this, our inner most desire for perfection on these type of people because we want to know that perfection is possible. And then we become disappointed, angry and disgusted when an ‘expert’ shows that they are indeed just like everybody else and go through the same crap as every one else.

I thought further still:  this is why religious leaders stay getting in trouble.  Especially the more popular ones who brand themselves “moral authorities.” (a post on personal branding and honesty).

The problem happens when moral authorities perpetuate the lie that they are indeed perfect. There is an interplay between the expert and we ‘regular people.’  The experts play a part in the deceit, and every one eventually loses because of the lack of true transformative transparency that can not happen in the name of appearing holy or developing a ‘personal brand.’

The bottom line is this:  Does the world need more people pretending to be perfect and creating perfect personal brands? People that give expert advice, may not be experts in their own lives. Or in all areas of their lives. But, so what?  Great advice doesn’t have to come from perfection for it to be true. (A Steve Harvey joke could be inserted here, I’m sure). 

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