Thursday, November 8, 2012

Conversations with Ourselves- The External Struggle

So far we've covered the struggle with mustering up the courage to ask ourselves who we really are and the internal struggle it brings when we open up Pandora's box. It's one thing to internally wrestle with difficult questions but the external struggle with what others may think is different and can be just as challenging (even more so for some). Keeping the internal struggle in is near impossible, we want someone to talk to, someone to share in the journey.

We gravitate towards a community where we can be comfortable. A place where we can suffer and journey with one another instead of alone. We first try to reach out to our friends and family members because we trust them to accept us for who we are and to be understanding. This can be difficult if they firmly oppose what you may be struggling with (i.e. change in religious beliefs, change in political stance, or sharing something like sexual orientation) and the fear of rejection by your loved ones can be too much to bear.

How do you handle both the external and internal struggles? Some would say it's far easier to give up asking and go back to who you once were. Go back to what? We are constantly changing, evolving, so there's no way I could be the same person I was before I started questioning. In my situation I did not have anyone locally who shared my same evolving views. And that's when I turned to the internet and sought out a digital community of like-minded people. If it weren't for people like Don (Simple Thoughts from a Questions Man), Doug B (Groping the Elephant), Andrew Hackman (Hackman's Musings), and Ronnie (Dreaming with Captron52) I wouldn't have progressed as far as I have without their experiences and insights they shared (there are many more so don't feel bad if I left you off, I appreciate you as well). The internet grants us the ability to connect with others across the globe who share the same interest. My recent post on the spirituality of Facebook touches on this global connectedness. The web also grants us with a digital dose of courage allowing us to say things we wouldn't normally say to people face to face. Believe me, I've gotten quite a few suggestions that I should jump off a cliff or that they're praying for my lost soul and one interesting "I hope your children kill you for what you believe". I believe the interactions, comments, and squabbles on social networking sites like Facebook depends solely on the participants. If you're a jerk (or I should say "troll") then your external struggle is going to be much harder.

I know some of the things I say may offend, but why are you offended? Have you tried to examine why you may feel offended by my non-belief? If I say "I don't believe that Jesus is the son of God", or "the God of the Bible is too violent", why would it bother you (if you're Christian)? It's just a statement of what I believe (or not believe) and declaring a statement should not destroy your beliefs. I don't go out of my way either to pose these questions to those who may feel uncomfortable (I have certain Facebook friends filtered out from receiving certain "blasphemous" posts).  HOW and WHY we say things is important but more important is the quality of our relationship with our friends, family, and neighbors. I want to improve that relationship while also discovering who I am. Along the way I may ask disturbing questions and I don't ask them to be a jerk but to discover and explore. Dr. McGrath at Exploring Our Matrix sumed it up best: "let's be human first."

Part 1) Conversations with Ourselves: The Question
Part 2) Conversations with Ourselves: The Internal Struggle
Part 3) Conversations with Ourselves: The External Struggle
Part 4) Conversations with Ourselves:  Reflections on Who We Were
Part 5) Conversations with Ourselves: Making Peace with Chaos
Part 6) Conversations with Ourselves: Making Sense of It All


Don said...

As a father of three boys, I have encountered the "push back" when one of them found out my new spiritual direction. Nothing cuts as deep as a son (the eldest) telling you that your soul is in jeopardy and that you are deceived and headed in the wrong direction. I have since learned to accept the fact that we may never be on the same spiritual page again. It has not changed my pursuit of the answer to who I am. It has not in the least changed my love and appreciation for my son and the good father that he has become.

captron52 said...

Great post Sam! Guess we all have to just keep on keeping on and hope we dont "offend" to many folks.But remember too, that is their problem not ours. So keep up the great work and keep on expanding that beautiful mind of yours!

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