Make a list of your non-negotiable beliefs. How did you find out what they were? Did you run into any questions or problems with this?
I believe that Christianity is wrong. I refuse to accept or acknowledge the supremacy of this vision of deity. I did make the attempt of believing the Christian way for nearly a year, but it's something I feel deeply in the core of my spirit is WRONG. The idea that it might be right terrifies me, but I am secure in the knowledge that it is -not- because a world like this can NOT have been created by such a spiteful and temperamental deity.
I believe that I have personal power, that my person is not so far preordained that I am a puppet. I have felt power, and I have felt power and refused to use it. I use my mind in ways that only I use my mind, and the only way for it to be preordained is if I have assisted in the pre-planning. But if I'd done that then I'd essentially have already lived and therefore I would no longer be me by virtue of experience. Not to mention the fact that if we all pre-lived to pre-plan our actions, what's the point? Was it a dress rehersal?
I believe that while I will indeed suffer for my misdeeds as appropriate for the action, I do not believe in eternal damnation or any similar idea. We are all fallable beings and no deed no matter how heinous requires continual unending penance.
I believe in reincarnation. I've been born before, and I will be born again. I just -know- that fact, and I can't say how or why I know it, I just -do- and I know it in my =soul=.
1. Who are you? Look at your life up until the point where you decided that the path was the right avenue for you to take. Study who you have been and who you are.
In my childhood, I was very in tune with myself. I was a happy child, who trusted others easily and happily. I had a below average amount of friends in my life--few enough I felt lonely, but enough that I didn't feel anti-social or alienated by society. I first discovered I was truly different when I began school. My classmates began what would become an eleven year crusade to make my life hell. I was an outcast from the first day of first grade--too polite, too smart, too small. I couldn't understand why they didn't like me, except perhaps that I was different. So I strived to make myself like them. And the greatest tragedy is that I think I succeeded. Everything I hated about them I see now reflected in myself. Overweight and lazy, cynical and narrow-minded, too in need of easy entertainment to even simply -read-...I want so much to return to how I was as a child, not in being childish but in the sheer what I was--I was studious, polite, kind, helpful, active, athletic, trusting...pretty much the antithesis of everything I am now. I can't nail down when or how it changed, just that it did. At fourteen I wasn't studious anymore, by sixteen I was lazy and overweight. At seventeen I was openly cynical and harsh. I don't know -when- the narrow-minded-ness set in, but looking back I see it almost everywhere. Twenty one and the year 2009 rang in with everything that was wrong about me. I know it wasn't meant that way, but in trying to be helpful a friend started listing off all the problems that are stopping a mutual friend and I from getting along, and all of them centred on what I do wrong and what I say wrong and what I believe wrong...I was so shocked by it all I didn't even cry. I just sat there dazedly, and when it all sunk in I went looking for a way to move forward. If myself is the problem, then maybe if I examine myself I'll find out what the problem with myself is, and if I can find what the problem with myself is, I can change it. But all this work changing one's self needs a bit of guidance, or it's wasted efforts. So I'm on this path.
2. What do you believe in? What are the core truths for you? What are negotiable beliefs? Study what your values are and why you hold them.
My faith, my family's faith, small as it is, is the one thing I confidently believe in. Unfortunately, it doesn't give a lot of support. I believe in reincarnation. I believe in taking the path of least harm, to self or others. I believe in fairness, but I believe that not a lot of other people believe in fairness. The last there is one of my negotiable beliefs--it makes me sad to think that so few people believe in fairness, but I have so much proof that no one does, it's become almost unshakeable just by the sheer number of knocks my belief in fairness has taken. People seem to take the "fact" that life's not fair to be an excuse to be unjust to one another. My morals and values are based on the path of least harm--there's so many grey areas in life, far too many to mete out a set of 'rules', even ones that seem like they should be obvious like "killing is wrong"--there's much too much debate on such topics. The path of least harm, however, I feel looks at the bigger picture and handles all those moral qualms with at least some semblance of respect and dignity. There's too many ways to poke holes in solid unyielding rules, but the path of least harm is breatheable. It usually meshes with the legal system of the real world, and anywhere that it doesn't would likely be a crusade of mine to -change- that I would be -willing- to do time for breaking. I can't think of any examples on that in particular, but if a law was in direct conflict against the path of least harm, I'd have to say that said law would be immoral in at least some way. As far as my values besides following the path of least harm...I value having friends, I value being confident within myself, and I value doing good. I like to help others--it makes me smile, makes me feel useful, makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing with my life. And I like helping in ways that don't involve money. I think money is the most useless form of help. I need money to run my own life, and if I'm making enough that I can give it away for charity, then I'm spending too much time at work--time that would be better spent doing something else, like talking to a friend in need or weeding an old lady's vegetable garden. She'd appreciate it more than a check anyway.
3. Who have been your guides? As you have journeyed through life, look back at the people who have influenced you most and think about why they have. Parents, teachers, friends, mentors, employers (heh).
I wish I didn't have to say this. I'm really -ashamed- that I've let these people influence my life. All the people I hated growing up, the people who upset me and hurt me...=they're= the people that made the most lasting impressions. Wiley, Patrick, Angelo, Suzanna, April, Emilie, Ellen, my third grade teacher, most of my sixth grade teachers...I remember their full names, but I won't post those for the internets to see. Everyone who had qualities I did NOT want to take into myself...are all the people that I've become the most like. My greatest 'achievement' was to systematically dissappoint everyone who believed in me. Wiley, Patrick, Angelo, Suzanna, the anger and hatred they had towards me as I grew up was probably the most poisonous, toxic, and -lasting- effect on me growing up. If they were going to hate me for no good reason, then I'd hate them for hating me. April, Emilie, Ellen, the two faced liars that backstabbed me and schemed to bring me down despite having a kind face to me if my back wasn't turned...I've become just like them; angelic and sweet as long as people are looking, but within the sanctity of my own mind or to the anonymity of the internet, I've been nothing but spite and hatred. My teachers in the years that stifled me the most, their narrow minded ideas of how the world was SUPPOSED to be, the idea that anything unusual was WRONG and BAD...I find myself repeating their words time and time again. In the face of undeniable fact and incontrovertable proof...It's not how it's SUPPOSED to be. All of them, their doubts of me, of who I am, of my inherent worth as a human being...I starve myself or vomit my food back up again because they never thought I was pretty, refuse to acknowledge my achievements because they never would, deny myself anything I find fun except for one or two things--which I overindulge in past the point of excess--because I was never 'good enough' to join in their fun. I feel so terribly emotastic for saying all this, but mostly I'm ashamed, that I've become everything I've ever hated, and I don't even know how to break it all down so I -can- start over. I remember their full names, first and last, their faces, their favourite phrases...but when I try to think of the people that have had a positive effect on me...a well and truly positive impact on me...all I can think of are fictional characters and the names of the authors that penned them.
4. How does who you are affect those around you? This is also a part of being empathic and mindful, but it is important to consider how you fit into the big picture. We are not islands after all.
I'm one big ball of spite and hurt, and I can be totally caustic to those not willing to look deeply beneath the surface and see the girl inside still reaching out for someone to help me. But if you look far enough to see that, then I'll burn you harder, because you're not =supposed= to help me, because I'm not good enough to deserve your help. All in all, it can be a real pain for everyone around me, both those close and those just in my vicinity. I've screamed at total strangers, penned long internet rants about those that upset me, usually just by existing. I twist the truth so far that even I can't remember what really happened and what was my embellishment. In short, I hurt everyone. Sure, I'm a great friend, I'm willing to listen to people's problems and give my advice as best I can, I'm a load of fun and full of ideas to do things besides just going to the pub and hoping that's good enough, but in the long run...I push everyone away, violently if nessicary. But usually a well-placed knife in the back is plenty good enough. And I don't even mean to. Except for the fact that I do. I am the betrayer of trust, the fair weather friend, the Judas... I don't want to be, but I don't know how to be anything else.