Seeing is believing.
Not so fast. In today’s world, I think there is a lot more ‘believing is seeing’ going on. Especially when it comes to people’s core beliefs and opinions.
More and more I see people closing their minds to other perspectives and differing ideas because of their dogmatic beliefs that their way or their understanding is correct. In our day and age, can you really blame them? Any belief you have you can pretty much type in on the internet and find hundreds (maybe thousands) of people and articles that support and bolster your beliefs.
This is especially true surrounding diet, health, nutrition, and fitness.
Paleo is the best diet? Here’s 16,200,000 results that say YES.
Bread is bad for you? Here’s 157,000,000 results that would agree.
Cross fit is a cult? Here’s 397,000 results on board with that claim.
You get my point. Anything and everything you believe can be supported or argued against by merely searching about it online.
It leaves us at a loss for what is true….what is reality.
But instead of being all out skeptics, people go to the opposite extreme. They latch on to one way of thinking, and then decry any and all information that doesn’t support their one-track mindset. In fact, they actively search out information that supports their beliefs just to feel a sense of security that what they think is correct. In some cases they get angry at anyone who has a differing opinion or evidence that counters their claims. Sound familiar?
I bring this up because I think it happens a lot in the world of health. People get defensive about their certain lifestyle and become very intolerant of anyone else who may have found an alternative form of personal wellness. This comes from a place of insecurity. If these people were confident in their beliefs, they wouldn’t feel the need to put down others or or defend their choices to the extreme.
The truth is, we see what we want to see in the world. When we choose to make our beliefs the be all end all, we close the door to all the other good things that could make our life rich. Just because something doesn’t specifically align with what we think doesn’t make it wrong or bad. It just makes it different.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that the world has very few absolutes. What works for some doesn’t work for others, and everyone truly is an individual. There are very few cases when you can place a whole portion of the world under the same umbrella.
The thing is though, people like absolutes. They like concrete facts. They like structure. They like routine. And that’s why we easily get caught up with the dogmatic chains of various fitness and diet beliefs. We forget that living with flexibility, acceptance, and outside of black and whites, is really what makes life full.
Being open and receptive to others beliefs makes you a more dynamic person. It creates a world of possibilities, makes you a life long learner, and may even help you discover your own truths. You’re more approachable, you’re more empathetic, and you have a more well rounded perspective on the world.
So I offer this to you, what if you actively went out of your way to challenge your beliefs?
Belief: Being thin makes you happy?
Go out of your way to find an example of heavier person that is living the life you dream of…health, happiness, and fulfillment outside of exercise and diet.
Belief: You should be gluten-free even though you don’t have celiac?
Consider the fact that cutting out food groups is not recommended and that grains have a lot to offer you nutritionally. In fact, speak with an RD or nutritionist that can give the hard science behind eating moderately from all the food groups.
Belief: Lifting is the only good way to exercise and cardio sucks?
Have a chat with a runner! See where their passion lies and maybe work together to see how you could improve each others training regimens. It’s good to have a balance of both!
These are just a few examples, but the ways in which you could challenge your long held beliefs are ENDLESS. And by doing so, you’re not only opening up your mind, but you’re opening up your life to the expansive, ever changing world around you. And that, my friends, is what life’s about. Restriction in any form (including in how you think) is ultimately only serving to hold you back from what you really want to accomplish.
Do you find yourself getting defensive when other people challenge your beliefs?
What can you do TODAY to be more respectful of other people’s differences?
Have you noticed the dogmatic belief systems that are entrenched in the world of health & fitness?
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