I’ve written many blog posts about my core beliefs and how I’ve developed them. The core beliefs I hold, the values of education in which I hold sacred, are one of the most transformational gifts I’ve given myself. Developing them took work and patience and I couldn’t have sat down and written them prior to really living them out and determining what they were through reflection. All of this hard work means I love and cherish my values. I know what I stand for.
However, if you work hard and you align your core beliefs to your actions and you are constantly double-checking and reflecting that they are still in tact, there will inevitably be someone who comes along and challenges them. It may be because their core beliefs and my core beliefs are just different. Or, it may be that they have not taken the time to develop them so they are flying by the seat of their pants. Either way, I can’t control their beliefs anymore than they can control mine.
Some challenge to your belief system is good. It forces you to take a step back and evaluate what you are doing and believing. I’ve had to ask myself:
Am I fighting this battle for the right reasons? Is it about the impact of this decision or is it about the person with whom the challenge is with?
Am I making this personal?
Are my beliefs really what I think they are? Do they need an adjustment? Am I fighting against this only because I am upholding my beliefs or am I listening to the issue and recognizing that possibly the right decision goes against my beliefs? After all, I am not the be all and end all of deciding what’s right and wrong.
Any time I’m forced into deep reflection is valuable even if the reason it’s done (adversity/challenge) is uncomfortable. However, I’ve also been in situations where the challenge and adversity was too great. Where the situation was so against my core beliefs that I needed to make a decision to either walk away or go against my beliefs. And if you really have taken the time to develop your beliefs and you hold them as some of what makes you you, it feels like ripping a piece of who you are out and handing it over to someone else. It’s seriously gut wrenching. And at that point, you have a choice. You change your beliefs – you go against your beliefs – or you leave. George Couros wrote a post about it awhile back that sums up how I feel about the latter situation: