Is What You’re Reading Controlling You?
I recently stumbled upon an article that talked about my generation (Millennial) and how we view the constitution of marriage. It implied that, due to our habits, we no longer identify ourselves within the constraints of traditional marriage and that a two year “trial period” marriage would be more in line with our habits, so we can easily “opt out” without the lengthy and costly divorce process.
This article was a little disheartening and I immediately wanted to discuss this with my husband. I wanted to strategize ways to avoid the mistakes described in this article. I didn’t want to become a part of this statistic.
But it very quickly dawned on me that…I don’t have to do any of that.
After thinking through what I read, I realized the issue is not that my generation lacked the ability to commit, the issue is what we are reading, and how we are interpreting the information we’re given. This goes for any article, opinion, television show etc. With the overwhelming amount of information we are bombarded with each day, it becomes too easy to lose ourselves in other’s thoughts and opinions of who we should be, what we are supposed to think, how we’re supposed to feel, etc.
Stories and articles like the one I read discuss topics that surely exist but a number of examples like these may; therefore someone will form an opinion around it. Some will try to explain it, others offer engaging and simple solutions.
How many articles do you come across in just one day telling you how to eat, what relationship is right for you, what career you are meant for?
We gravitate to these topics because they are relatable. And they are meant to be. Not only are these issues relatable, we’re even offered handy solutions. In this particular example, the solution would be a “trial period marriage”. By suggesting this, it’s almost as if the article is paving the path into existence by outlining it from beginning to end and bringing it full-circle. It completes the thought process.
You Become What You Read
“We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are … Or we can decide for ourselves.” – Chuck Palahniuk
Whether it’s a TV show, social media, or stories shared by friends, each of these outlets are attempting to make sense of situations we perceive as social issues by defining them; giving them a name, a label, a meaning, and a prescribed path. Our subconscious is constantly being fed information, we don’t even notice it happening. And it comes from all directions.
Our belief system is shaped based on the information we’ve received throughout our lives and most times we don’t even control the information we are receiving. So it becomes more and more critical to take control of our thoughts and attitude.
In a world where everyone is trying to make sense of life and searching for answers and direction, the easiest way to understand something is to define it. We tend to search for answers outwardly, and when we are presented with stories and scenarios that touch on the very topics we are attempting to decipher, we remove ourselves from our personal paths, and begin straying down these “proposed” paths believing that is the answer.
Deep Down, You Know What You Want
“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” Dr. Sues
We cannot control what is going on around us or what people are writing about, talking about or believing. Now, how we choose to act on it, or what we choose to do with that information is completely within our control. We can choose to be saddened or frightened by something, and hope it doesn’t happen to us, and dwell on it. But all we’re really doing is attracting it.
Instead we can choose to move on and not allow it be a path in life that we have to even try to avoid. Let me repeat that…we can choose to not allow it be a path in life that we have to even try to avoid. Because even if it’s something we don’t want, it will always be in the back of our minds, and we will therefore attract it.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we should avoid the news, or rid our homes of all magazines and newspapers and shut ourselves off from the world. And by no means am I attempting to diminish this or any article. I’m not blaming the articles for provoking these thoughts, they’re all reasonably informative and it’s important to stay current in the world, in our communities, and organizations.
But it’s also just as important to move past these topics just as quickly as we arrived at them. To form our own opinion on them, and not the one being promoted or imposed. These articles do not exist to do the thinking for us after all; they exist to state an opinion, just one out of 7 billion. Understand that while it is a reality that exists for some people, it is not the reality and it does not have to be your reality.
We need to continuously question everything, form our own opinions, do our own research and take control of what we feed our minds the same way we would our bodies. While we should continue to read, expand our minds and increase our knowledge, we should always study all sides of everything. Because the bottom line is, if we don’t think for ourselves, someone else will do the thinking for us.
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