What Do You Believe?
Last week I had the privilege of moderating a Veritas Forum discussion on well-being between Dr. Todd Kashdan, professor of psychology and senior scientist at Mason’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, and Dr. Warren Kinghorn, professor of psychiatry and of pastoral and moral theology at Duke University.
In addition to sharing their views on what contributes to well-being and what barriers prevent us from experiencing greater well-being, the topic of worldviews came up. I have to say I haven’t spent a lot of time contemplating my own worldview. I looked up the definition and found this: “the fundamental cognitive, affective, and evaluative presuppositions people make about the nature of things, and which they use to order their lives.” It’s the way we interpret the world, which influences how we interact with it.
This week we started a Meditation Challenge at Mason as part of our well-being university initiative. The focus is on becoming what you believe. So what is my worldview? What do I believe? It matters, because what you believe about yourself and others influences your thoughts and behavior. If you believe you are capable of doing something, you are more likely to try to do it and to persist in the face of setbacks. If you believe people are good, you will treat them with kindness and respect and they will more likely be good to you in return. Your beliefs impact your experiences. They can empower you or hold you back.
You can only change what you are aware of, so you need to know what your beliefs are in order to choose those that are empowering. How do you feel about yourself, about others, about the world around you? Believe that you are beautiful, that you are strong, that you are worthy of love. And believe that others are, too. Believe that we are all called to make a positive difference in this world; that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that joy and meaning come from serving such bigger-than-self goals.
You are what you believe. Choose to be great!