A Ton of Bricks
The realization can hit us like a ton of bricks: we have been taught much about the world that might not be true. In my journey, I’ve found that to be the case over and over.
How can that be possible?
Think about the concepts that shape our lives: success, work, relationships, history, and even ideas like democracy and poverty. Often, stories that aren’t entirely true shape our understanding of these. These stories are like paintings with essential colors missing, and they leave us with an incomplete picture.
Why does this happen? Sometimes, intentional misinformation causes it, where people twist or hide facts to serve a particular agenda. Other times, it’s a simple matter of perspective, where a narrow lens views truth, and that lens doesn’t capture the whole story.
And what is a story? A story is a narrative, either true or imagined, that describes a sequence of events. It’s a means through which we communicate, share experiences, convey ideas, entertain, and instill moral values.
Stories are powerful tools that influence the way we perceive the world. From folk tales to history books, the narratives that are shared and passed down shape our values, norms, and perceptions of what is possible. One of the more subtle, yet profound, influences of stories is how they can perpetuate limiting beliefs across generations when presented as education.
Stories that perpetuate stereotypes shape how we see ourselves. If narratives consistently depict certain groups as weak, unintelligent, or inferior, members of those groups internalize these beliefs, limiting self-worth and potential.
This realization can be disconcerting, even alarming. It can hit us like a ton of bricks. But liberation also exists in this realization. If everything is a story, we have the power to seek out the truth for ourselves. We don’t need to remain bound by the past or the false narratives handed down to us. Because we can author our own.
Bricks by Bricks
We investigate and explore, seeking the missing colors that complete the picture. Can we question what others have told us about success, love, and history, so we peel back the layers to find what resonates with us? And then, build our understanding from the ground up, enriching, deepening, and authenticating it.
Doing this requires courage, curiosity, and a willingness to question what we’ve always accepted. But we can find a more genuine connection with ourselves and the world around us. And we are also able to laugh more when reality hits us like a ton of bricks.
When we feel deep anger, we ask whether it’s genuinely our anger or beliefs someone has stuffed into us, teaching us about justice and what we deserve. What truly upsets us and why? After all, we learn hate, including self-loathing. None of us were born with hate; we were born with purity, even in the toughest conditions.
So, as we learn, can we embrace the ambiguity, contradictions, and even beliefs that form a story of a complex world? We recognize that everything may not appear as it seems. And we discover our unique path through life’s maze, understanding what’s healthy and unhealthy for us alone. In doing this, we’ll embrace, and create our own truth.
At the end of the day, health is everything—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. What is good for one person may be bad for another. So isn’t it time for us to break through good and bad as society dictates and find out what is truly healthy for us?
As we tap into our storytelling prowess, we empower not just ourselves, but also those around us, ushering in an era where health is both a personal journey and a shared adventure. Instead of blindly following societal norms and prescriptions, we listen to our bodies and hearts, and forge our own paths to wellbeing.