With Love & Relationships, When Is Belief Not Enough?
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With Love & Relationships, When Is Belief Not Enough?
~ by OneMoreOption
Driving home today, I passed a moving van for a charitable organization in our area called “Goodwill.” On the side of the van it showed a large photo of a heavier, grey-haired woman, with simple clothes and thick eyeglasses. The quote beneath her picture said, “Thank you for believing in me.” Goodwill, in addition to running second-hand clothing and goods stores, also does great work to help other charitable organizations, feed the hungry, and assist the unemployed in finding employment. As I was driving, I started pre-wtiting this post in my head, connecting several recent thoughts and experiences around concepts of “belief.”
A couple weeks ago, one of the most visited posts on the WordPress domain was cleverly titled “I don’t believe in evolution.” (Click on the link if you’d like to read it.) It was well-written, clear and concise. It’s easy to understand why over 200 comments responded to it. In summary, the post asserted the author didn’t choose to believe in evolution because evolution is a scientific theory that has long been vetted through empirical studies. The reason evolution doesn’t require belief is that it can be proven from literally hundreds of thousands of observations and studies that provide no evidence the theory is invalid. There are no unexplainable gaps that require a deus ex machina - a supernatural entity is not needed to come down and intervene in order to explain what cannot be explained. Evolution doesn’t require a leap of faith to explain the parts of the theory that have no consistent, observable, or verifiable explanation.
Similar “belief” principles apply to love and relationships.
I’ve known beautiful people who were in loving relationships with some of the smartest and most socially capable people I’ve encountered. Their partners believed in them, believed they had the capabilities to be a loving partner. But as with science, in love and relationships, “belief” and “hope” are often not enough.
A coach on a sports team can believe in the potential of all of her players. She can fervently believe. But in the end, no amount of belief alone will create the best athletes. In the end, the best athletes must prove, on a level playing field, against all the random elements and adverse competitors, they have better or more consistent skills.
Returning to the beginning of this post, the message on the side of the “Goodwill” van suggested the middle-aged woman had never overcome basic obstacles because no one ever believed in her. And now, as a direct result of the people at Goodwill believing in her, she is succeeding. That may be true. And it is essential and great there are people and organizations willing to consistently provide the time, work, and encouragement to show belief in people who have never had someone believe in them and encourage them.
However, conversely, I have observed people who had many people who believed in them, who had remarkable access to assistance and people who cared about them, and who despite receiving great support and belief, failed to achieve many of their stated, primary goals.
In the end, it takes more than belief alone. In the end, each individual must play their own turns on the field of play. They must prove their social and other skills on complex, random, unstable, and wind-blown fields.
An old friend once said to me something to the effect of: “The world is full of ‘shoulds’ that can be overwhelming and a source of disproportionate guilt.” I understood her valid point. I replied, “Trying to avoid ‘shoulds’ is like going outside and trying to avoid the wind. ’Shoulds’ exist whether or not we want them to exist. Some ‘shoulds’ are valid and others are not.”
With love and relationships, when is belief not enough?
When your beliefs don’t practically lead you into perceptions and behavioral responses that make you a consistently loving and considerate person, then your beliefs, no matter how doggedly you stick by them, may not be enough. When your beliefs don’t lead to consistent, observable, and demonstrative pleasant results, then your fervent beliefs may not be enough to keep you in healthy, re-energizing love relationships.
There are people who believe with their whole heart and mind that on December 21st of this year, the world will end. That’s fine. But when December 22nd comes around, those beliefs will become moot.
There are people who believe they have excellent social theories and priorities – they just haven’t found a sufficiently adequate and compatible social partner yet. They believe their past conflicts and break-ups have primarily been caused by their flawed partners or individual incompatibilities with their specific partners. Their understanding of their past social dynamics may be accurate. Or their beliefs may be inaccurate, misperceived, or flawed. Their strong, resolute, or unshakable belief in their point of view and social theories may not be enough to lead them into future healthy relationships.
At some point, maybe ego and pride should be questioned when your beliefs have not practically led you to maintain healthy and pleasant loving relationships with significant others, family, and friends. At some point, the problem may not be everyone else. At some point, your beliefs may not be deserving of your zealous loyalty and allegiance. How many good people do you have to fail with before you question your beliefs?
Beliefs, when healthy, tend to produce healthy results. Both love and science have that in common.
Beliefs, when invalid, tend to produce unhealthy results – no matter how much you believe you should believe them.
For regular readers and writers: Thank you to new and old subscribers, for your kind comments and likes. I like living in a world where through various social media, like blogs, Flickr, or Facebook, it is so efficient and easy to “like” and show gratitude for so many things.
Thought of the Day – In life, it’s often better to take flight than to fight. Sometimes you have to fight, but if you find yourself fighting too often, that may mean you either a) should consider changing your perceptions and responses or b) take flight.
This post was added to the “What Is Love?” series of posts on this blog.