The truth and who gets to tell it
Whose truth are you following? Who do you believe?
Do you need me to agree with what you believe? You might believe something is your truth, but that doesn't mean it's mine too. Is there room here for us to disagree, peacefully?
When a belief becomes The Truth, conflicts erupt. If your truth doesn't match the truth of another person, and there's no space for both truths to exist, what happens?
Do you need others to agree to your beliefs in order for you to be safe, or do you have enough space to allow other people to have different outlooks than you do? If you find yourself in judgment of someone because she doesn't agree with you, maybe you're the one who needs to change. I don't mean you need to agree with her, I mean it's time to clear out your own judgment, because it isn't helping.
Note: I am not saying that people with racist and bigoted views have an "opinion" that needs to be respected. Just No. But clearing your judgment of these people is still a plus for you. Clean out your own space and work from a place of non-judgment, and you will have more power to help make positive change happen.
Create a peaceful agreement within yourself that you will give other people space to live as they see fit to live.
A peaceful agreement will include that we live here together, and therefore we are responsible for how our actions affect others around us. For example, if I am your neighbor and choose to blast my TV or stereo really loudly, I am in effect choosing to invade your living space. That is the truth, though I might choose to argue that I get to do what I want in my own home.
If we want to have peaceful agreements with our neighbors, it means that we are willing to be conscious of how our actions affect others.
Our agreements can become rules, and rules can become laws. A cultural agreement then becomes legislation, until we change the agreement. The adage "good fences make good neighbors" works for some people because a fence is an agreement, in which each party is clear where the boundary lies.
A powerful example is this: you claim that you get to decide what I get to do with my own body, because my available choices conflict with your own personal belief system. You have already decided your beliefs are more important than my right to choose my own autonomy, and that I am not important enough to choose for myself.
You are invading my personal space with your beliefs, which you are choosing to see as The Truth. This doesn't mean it is truthful in any way.
Who gets to be believed?
A current list in the USA of people who get to be believed: white men, authority figures, religious leaders, celebrities, politicians, bosses, parents, doctors, anybody with a PhD after their names. Advertising companies, corporate owned mass media, lawyers, judges, scientists, mega corporations. Talking heads on TV, no matter who is paying them to say what they are saying. People who make more money than you do. People who are given a pass in our culture, due to their status.
It's no coincidence that the higher the status you have in the culture in which you live, the greater your chances of being believed. You don't have to be anywhere near the truth, and you will still be believed if the culture has decided you are believable, due to your status.
Are the drug companies that raised the price of insulin in the United States by over 300% telling the truth? Is there truth in the fact that people are literally dying as I write this, because these drug companies decided they simply didn't care - that it was more important to give their shareholders a big return? Is this the Truth that capitalism wants you and me to believe?
Basically, we are all making it up as we go.
Even your mom, the local priest, and your boss are improvising on a daily basis. Improvisation is a real daily thing in all of our lives, because we simply cannot control what will happen, what others will say, do, and believe. We have to choose for ourselves in each moment.
When people make excuses and act as if they are helpless in the fact of their choice, is that their truth? Maybe it's what they actually believe in the moment, but that still doesn't make it true.
Or are they adhering to a belief that if you state something often enough, no matter how false it is, people will choose to believe it? If someone chooses to see himself as helpless in his choices, it doesn't mean any of this is anywhere near his own Truth. Believing something to be The Truth, versus living in and working from your own Truth, can be two very different places.
You have to want to be in your own truth in order to find it. It's sometimes very challenging to work from what is true for you, especially if others around you don't agree. This is where you get to choose.