Challenge Old Beliefs – Feeding the Drive to Self-Actualize

The pandemic we find ourselves in has done more to upend our lives beyond health and economics. Staying occupied with thoughts of these two survival necessities has held us all captive to the internal strife within. Much like clinging to a 2-inch railing so we don’t plunge off a 60-story building. The obsession allows for little more. The result is a stalling of our true purpose – the drive to self-actualize.

It is important that we continue our progress despite our current state. I am not saying that you should disregard either your health or your money needs. These must be taken care of to maintain and support life. But when this is all we accomplish during the day, life grows stale. Without realizing it, we soon find ourselves fighting the inevitable listlessness that such striving produces.

The Road to Recovery starts now.
The Road to Recovery starts now. You’ll find beauty around the corner. (“Newfound Gap Road – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN” by pvarney3 is marked under CC PDM 1.0. To view the terms, visit https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)

Breaking free from the drone of lack, slack and indifference is no easy task. It takes courage, fortitude, and determination. It takes a strong-willed effort to move freely through the concrete bonds of apathy to return to full purpose and discovery. Sometimes we need a little push, a little emotional jumpstart.

It is my hope that this blog will give you that jumpstart. That here you will find help on your way back to the path you were born to take. To the goals you were meant to accomplish. To the life you were meant to live.

We will explore new ways of thinking, inspiration, encouragement, and guidance to life’s mysteries. Our topics will include self-discovery, mind-body connection, perception, critical thinking, emotional healing, and much more. Motivating insight and knowledge to personalize. Open-minded differences of opinion are welcome.

If you are ready to:

  • Take back your life from the clutches of disheartenment;
  • Start or restart your personal growth journey;
  • Boost your day with a shot of optimism;
  • Find solace in a community of like-minded folks;
  • Expand your insight and intelligence; or
  • Open your mind to a deeper understanding of the world in which we live . . .

. . . make yourself a promise to tune into this online journal for five minutes a week.

I hope to see you jump on board. I’m looking forward to our journey together.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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The Difference Between Confidence and Arrogance and Why It Matters

Years ago, I had a guest in my home with whom I was having a good-natured disagreement with over the path a particular road took. I don’t remember the specifics of the dispute. What I do remember is that she asserted her position in a cocky and pompous manner. As this person left my home, I thought to myself, “She is going to go racing down [that road] on her way home so she can call me back and tell me I’m wrong.”

I knew it would take her about half an hour to get home. Sure enough, at the appointed moment, my phone rang. “I drove down [that road],” she said before even greeting me, “and I was right.“ I conceded my error, and she continued bragging on the subject. Before we got too far in, she switched directions and started to complain. Apparently, in driving down [that road], a cop decided she was going a little too fast and she ended up with a speeding ticket.

I suppressed a chuckle. She literally did go racing down the road in her attempt to prove her superior knowledge.

Do you know someone like that? One of those people you don’t mind seeing get a rare instant karma moment.

There are those who would characterize her behavior as extremely confident. I call it arrogance. There is a difference, and it matters. A lot. Here are three areas where you can see the difference:

Image courtesy of Schaferle on Pixabay



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Attitude

Attitude toward other people is a good way to discern the difference between confidence and arrogance. Arrogance sees a class system or hierarchy of people and they sit on the very top.

Confidence sees individual strengths in everyone they encounter. Confident people never look down on anyone and are grateful to others for their contributions. They will apologize for harm done to someone else, though it means admitting to fault.

Motivation

Achievement is the cornerstone of a confident person. To see the difference in the two attitudes, look to the motivation behind any accomplishment. An arrogant person’s motivation is power. They have no regret stepping all over people to get it.

Confidence takes into consideration how the outcome affects others. A confident person does not revel in an accomplishment gained at another person’s expense.

Failure

An arrogant person will not consider the possibility that they may be wrong. They are all-knowing. There is nothing that they can learn from anyone else because they know everything. Failure for them, therefore, is not possible.

Confidence allows for failure. Failure is a teaching moment, a steppingstone to new growth and further accomplishment.

So why does all this matter? The two traits, while sometimes confused with one another, are opposites in their manner and outcome. Confidence achieves good. It is based in love. Love for others, and healthy love for oneself. It is a positive force.

Arrogance tears down. It is based on fear. Fear that the person will be looked upon unfavorably. It is a fear that says, “If I’m not the best, then I’m no one. So, I have to continually push down others who might threaten me.” It is a negative force.

There is a thin line between confidence and arrogance but beware that you learn to discern the difference. Take care when dealing with the arrogant; emulate the confident. Their effects on you are very different.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Leveraging the Edge Between

What’s your edge?

If you need to solve a problem or pique your creativity for a project, what do you turn to? Either you seek the insight from a conscious state (your wakeful day), or you look for the answer at night in your sleep through dreams. Both are good sources of inspiration. But I’ve found that the states between full wakefulness and sleep are rich sources for out-of-the-box inspiration, whatever your goal might be.

This is not a new concept. Many creative over-achievers, lauded by history to have extraordinary talent, have tapped into these two states for their genius. These states are called hypnagogia (the period you experience as you begin to fall asleep) and hypnopompia (the period you experience as you come from sleep into full wakefulness). Each of these produce dreamlike hallucinations, or dreamlets.

These dreamlets produce visual and sensory phenomena like your sleeping dreams. They tend to be shorter and (unless you are skilled at lucid dreaming) more easily manipulated. I’ve used dreamlets many times.

In my personal experience:

  • I have posed questions whose answers were obstinately elusive and received clear direction;
  • Obtained insight into people and relationships;
  • Gained wisdom into personal aspects of myself;
  • Acquired topic ideas, whole content structures, and actual wording to my writings;
  • Sensed calming feelings I had only previously experienced during meditation; and,
  • Intuited a path to the future.

You, too, can use this resource. Be sure that you provide ample time to linger in your in-between state. Also, keep a pen and paper nearby. Either go to bed early or set an alarm earlier than you need to rise. Allow your mind to slip into the state between sleep and wakefulness. If you have something specific you want to know, spend the day before reminding yourself that you want an answer to your issue. Record the images and insights you get.

One of Salvador Dali’s favorite methods of attaining the hypnagogic state was to sit comfortably holding a spoon over a tin plate. As he totally relaxed his body, he would begin to fall asleep and enter the hypnagogic state. As he did, his hands relaxed, and the spoon fell from them. As the spoon hit the plate, it made a noise that aroused him from the state. He would immediately capture the images and other phenomena from his dreamlet.

At first, what you gather from your dreamlet may not make sense to you. Write it down anyway. Clarification may take a while to come, but it will. As you become more experienced and more comfortable with trusting your subconscious, the answers you seek will show themselves.

When looking for answers to life’s complicated problems, don’t ignore the edge you’ll find between sleep and wakefulness.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Three Lessons I’ve Learned from the Pandemic

It’s in times of big hardship that we learn the most. Everyone has faced the challenges of potential illness, separation from loved ones, and disruption of our oh-so-comfortable routines. And we all, in our unique perspectives, have come away with lessons.

Here I share three of the lessons I’ve learned in the last one and one-half years of the pandemic so far.

Image by 7089643 on Pixabay

No One is an Island

Fiercely independent is a term I have enjoyed indulging in. I love my independence. I thrive on my self-reliance. While I still consider this a good trait, I have become very aware of the importance of community and helping one another in crisis.

Image by 7089643 on Pixabay

We are all connected. There is no grimmer example of this than how one case of Covid has grown to 235,579,484 (as of this writing) cases in the last eighteen months. We get within a minimum of six feet of one another every day, leading to transmission.

Human contact is necessary for our survival. There are very few true hermits in this world. Human connection helps us grow and thrive. We gain knowledge, companionship, and progress through community. We are stronger together than we are apart.

We also suffer when we do not get this valuable component of life. Human touch is so important to our ability to live that we die if we do not get it.

Our lives require us to be in contact with one another. Cherish the ones you love. Hug them (within guidelines) and tell them how much they mean to you.

Image by 7089643 on Pixabay

Life is Unpredictable

So much emphasis has been put on making plans and following through. If you do, you get your heart’s desire. Or so the wisdom goes. I think this is a great truth to live by. But you should also keep in mind that you can’t plan for or control everything. Life throws a kink in the best of plans.

It’s important to remember that life is unpredictable. The best way to cope with this truth is to remain flexible, be grateful for the beauty in it, and remain open to its ways.

The pandemic has upended so much of what we came to rely on. Daily routines have by necessity had to morph to consider so much we used to take advantage of. You must find a way to get through and thrive despite its uncertainty.

Image by 7089643 on Pixabay

We Have Limited Time – Don’t Waste It

It may be a cliché, but life is short. It’s gone before you know it. If you are putting off some important goal or waiting to start something new, you might find you run out of time before you can get to it. Time is something you can’t get back. There is no time like the present to start that project, take that trip, write that novel, or get that degree. Follow your dreams before you’ve run out of opportunity.

Find the hope you need to overcome the woes of the pandemic. If you change your perspective a little, it may teach you valuable lessons from which you may thrive.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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How to Communicate with Integrity – 7 Points to Prevail

Words have power. They can soothe, uplift, empower, inspire, and create vivid mind pictures. They can also wound, deceive, manipulate, gaslight, and degrade. They can implore and they can demand. If integrity is your goal, it’s important to apply that virtue to the power of your words.

Integrity means being honest and morally upright. To communicate with integrity means employing honesty, compassion, and empathy. This form of communication demands that you speak forthrightly and ensure that the message you convey is sincere, relaying it’s meaning in understandable terms.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

It’s an honorable goal. So, why don’t people do it? It is because they focus on what their words mean to them. They sabotage their message by refusing to take into consideration the people they want to reach with their message. That communication is one-sided. Your focal point for good communication should be first and foremost on how the other person hears it; and then, using that knowledge, on how you convey that message.

When communication only indulges the speaker, it cannot be effective. Remember — it is not what you say, it is what people hear. If you want people to really hear you with 100% accuracy, they must also include the other party or parties. Here are seven elements to help you get it right.

1) Get to know your audience

Who is the person or persons you are talking to? What is the educational level? If it’s a group, what is the minimum level in the group. For understanding, you must use language appropriate to that level.

What is the person or group’s emotional quotient? A lower EQ may require more explanation of emotional issues. Or a more rational explanation. Any detail you can identify in your listener will give you clues how to talk so they can understand your position.

2) Develop an ear for how people hear you

It’s not what you say, it is what people hear. In the long run, people will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Integrity demands that we communicate with empathy. Be cognizant of the feelings of the person you are communicating with. Speak with conviction laced with compassion. Use assertion, not aggression.

3) Be aware of what you don’t say

Watch out for subtext – when you may not say something outright. The listener may or may not infer meaning. It is best to be explicit in your talk, so your position is clear and concise. If there is something you need to avoid saying, your reason must be of upright intentions.

4) Determine your intent

Find your place of authenticity. Derive your intent from this place. What do you want to accomplish? How are both you and that person or group best served by your speech? Keep your values at the forefront as you converse.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

5) Recognize and hone the tools of communication

Use the following tools of communication to their greatest advantage: word order, emphasis, intonation, nonverbal communication, and auxiliary gestures. These elements complement your words and work together to convey just the right message. Hone them to perfection.

6) Get feedback

Be open to listening. Use reflective listening to really hear the other person’s meaning. You must determine if you are both understanding each other. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification.

7) Practice delivery and analyze what message was received

Use these tips in all your conversations, from personal to business. Later, in private, review your conversation. What did you do right? What could you improve on? If you felt you may have been misinterpreted, contact that other person and clarify.

Communication with integrity brings meaning to your relationships. Words have power. Direct your words to reveal exactly what you want them to say. Deliver them with accuracy and authenticity.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Four Reasons Why You Should Allow Your Opponent to Talk First in an Argument

People like to talk. And they like to be heard. Notice when two people are arguing how both parties compete with one another to talk over the other. No one is listening. When this happens without pause, no one can be heard. Nothing is accomplished. They might as well be talking to the wind.

While wanting to be recognized and heard is an innate characteristic we all have, there are advantages to stepping back, being quiet, and listening instead. The real advantage lies in being the listener. To gain this upper hand, you must quell the impulse within and concentrate on listening to your opponent. Here are four very good reasons to do just that:

1) Listening Indicates Respect

When you are quiet so that your opponent can speak his/her mind, you validate their feelings and show respect for their opinions. It is hard to feel antagonistic toward someone who gives you that level of respect.

What you get in return: Your opponent feels validated and becomes more open to hearing your opinion. They let their guard down. This sets the environment for meaningful communication.

2) Acquiring Perspective

Employ active listening. When you listen with an ear to really hearing what your opponent is saying, you gain perspective into his/her mind. To hear someone is to place yourself in their shoes and understand where they are coming from. Often, learning new information from another person’s point of view will change how you see the issue. When you can identify with their point, it becomes personal.

Knowledge is power. When you get information about your opponents’ wishes and desires, you gain strategic influence.

What you get in return: You gain insight in the intent, motivations, and desires of your opponent. You experience their side within yourself. Changing how you view the issue will help you work toward a resolution everyone can benefit from.

3) Coming to a Feel-Good Solution

If your goal is a win-win result, the best of all outcomes, listening gets you past the stalemate of inaction. You’ll never reach a conclusion until there is progress in exchange of ideas. The only way to do that is for one side to hear the other and vice versa. A lesson today’s politicians should learn.

What you get in return: It starts the process toward mutual resolution. The process cannot begin between two stubborn people demanding the other give in to their desires.

4) Changing Your Opponent’s Perception

To be the first to stop and listen puts you in the driver’s seat. You gain the leadership advantage. When you allow your opponent the first expression, you are steering the course of the argument.

Leading with your unexpected action gives you the advantage because you are perceived as confident in your stance. Taking the high road is not an easy thing to do. It is the mark of a leader.

What you get in return: There are two advantages here. One, it puts you in control. You are in the driver’s seat in this process. Two, your opponent now sees you as confident enough in your position to step back and let him/her talk – adding value to your persona.

In conflict, it’s a natural desire to aggressively force your position ahead. But if you want to move toward resolution, you’ll be the one to lead the strife into a win-win end. By stepping back, you step forward.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Stop Lashing Out – When Anger Wins, We all Lose

Anger seems to be taking over everything. New expressions on the age-old emotion have showed themselves in road rage, Internet and social media rants, and harmful behavior directed toward total strangers. A new wave of belligerent travelers are now attacking airline staff in the confined space of our skies. What has happened to us?

The stresses of a life-threatening pandemic combined with our already fast-paced, technological world are getting on everyone’s nerves. Entitled people think it’s their way or no way. We all operate on a short fuse these days. But that does not give us license to lash out at people.

A disclaimer, before we get into the steps you can use to get control of your anger — If your anger issues are the result of a medical condition, seek help from the healthcare community. Depression, alcohol and/or drug abuse, grief, or anger-based mental health disorders are serious. You are best served going to the professionals for help.

For the rest of us, here are some ways you can take control before anger controls you:

Before An Angry Situation Arises . . .

  1. Get plenty of exercise. Physical activity reduces stress.
  2. Put humor into your life. Lighten up with laughter. Listen to comedy. Perspective and your ability to control how you perceive your world is paramount to a positive world view. See the humor in every moment.
  3. Spend a few moments each day doing deep breathing exercises. Take relaxation breaks. Meditate. These activities help you gain the control you need when you need it.
  4. Work on your empathy skills. When we can place ourselves into the shoes of someone who makes us angry, we are less likely to place blame and ridicule.
  5. Put the brakes on rumination. Misplaced aggression, the result of reliving an experience over and over in your mind, can cause you to lash out at innocent people and pets. Ban it from your life.

During a Conflict . . .

Image by 95C from Pixabay
  1. If possible, remove yourself from the situation. Putting time and distance between you and another person who is the cause of your anger, allows you to calm yourself, think rationally, and be able to speak without raising your voice.
  2. Take control of your reactions. Stop. Breathe a slow, calming breath. (If you’ve practiced, this comes easier during stressful and challenging times). Remember, you own your reactions, they don’t own you.
  3. Focus on finding a win-win solution. Allow your creativity to distract your impulsivity. Pull your empathy for their position into your resolution.

After the Encounter is Over . . .

  1. Don’t ridicule your response. We are all human. But learn from it. What could you have done differently? Did your actions escalate or de-escalate the circumstances?
  2. Apologize if you were in error.
  3. So often, how we respond to another’s anger determines the outcome. Lashing out may initially feel good, but regret can follow if our actions/reactions were less than we expected them to be.
  4. Forgive, regardless of who was at fault. Don’t allow the bitterness to build. That only hurts you in the long run.

Use these suggestions to fine-tune your response and gain control over your anger.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Character and Choice – How will You Make your Mark on the World?

You’ve had a rough day. Everyone is on your case — from the boss’s morning tongue-lashing to the parking attendant scowling at you as your leave. As you drive down the freeway, some idiot cuts you off. That’s it. The veritable straw to break your back. Without reserve, you lash out at the driver jumping in front of him and brake checking him until he swerves onto the shoulder. Now, do you feel better?

Good people can turn into monsters when they’ve been abused. And there seems to be a lot of exploitation going around these days. But abuse engenders abuse, starting a chain reaction of despair, hopelessness, and further corruption as it travels on its mission of cruelty.

You may feel justified lashing out. After all, you didn’t deserve the treatment you received. It all builds until you must retaliate. And retaliate you will in a blaze of glory. It’s healthy, you say, all that pent-up anger needs to go somewhere. Whoever gets in your way, that’s their problem.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This righteous indignation pervades our consciousness. With the rise of Internet voice and its anonymity, more and more people claim as their right to spout whatever vitriol comes into their minds, giving their simmering hatred a vent. Thereby pushing others into the same misbehavior.

On top of that, we refuse to hold each other accountable. We look at entitled and arrogant people as if they were heroes. Dismissing their manner to platitudes like: Oh, they had a bad childhood or They’ve had so many challenges in their life, they can’t help how they are or It’s just human nature.

Before you slip into ignorant naivete, consider the story of one ambassador of hope and stellar character to this dismal cause and effect. Her name is Maggie, and she’s not even human. But she puts many a human to shame. Maggie has suffered horrific mistreatment at the hands of victimizers, links in the never-ending chain of savagery and brutality. Her body has been pummeled with BB pellets, her eyes torn from her body, her unborn children killed from the ravages inflicted on her body.

If any dog, other animal, or person endured what she has, we certainly would expect an angry and aggressively destructive personality. But Maggie is friendly. She loves everyone she meets. And her life positively touches many, many souls. She works as a therapy dog, giving comfort, joy and peace to humans who most need her love. In one photo she sports a sign that reads: In a world where you can be anything . . . Choose to be kind. Her life exemplifies this axiom perfectly.

So, the next time you’re having a bad day, and think it’s so bad you’ve earned the right to lay in a path of destruction yourself, think about Maggie. Are you going to let a dog show superior character to yourself?

Remember – Your choices define who you are. And who you are determines your life’s contribution. How will you be commemorated?

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Why I Believe it is Crucial to Rise Above Materialism

In my six decades of life, I’ve known people from all walks of life. The range includes from the highly successful to the folks who struggle to make it through another day. What’s interesting is that within the two extremes are very diverse attitudes on money and the quest for materialism. The bias is not always where you would expect it. There are people who have more money than they’ll ever need who are not materialistic and there are people whose struggle makes them greedy for the good life.

Materialism can be defined as an obsession with obtaining money, material objects, and the prestige that goes with the first two. The emphasis is on obsession. The dominate thought that focuses on those lofty trio of goals. When material pursuits preoccupy your interests, there is little room for anything else.

You may not think that is a bad way to live. After all, doesn’t success spell happiness? And isn’t happiness what we are all about? Lend me a moment and I will tell you my three reasons for banishing materialism from my life.

I choose a superior peace of mind. There is some evidence to the premise that money can make you happy. The idea is that money and materialism motivate a person to improve their standard of living. And that that motivation positively influences your satisfaction in life.

The point this theory misses is that monetary satisfaction, while offering some happiness, falls far short of a greater return. You do yourself a disservice when you derive your satisfaction solely from your monetary conquests.

I don’t want to be enslaved to materialistic leaders. People who are materialistic idolize those who seem to hold the key to what they desire. And in the process seek to glom onto their idols’ coattails. The thought is “If I associate with this leader who has obtained the same success that I want for myself, then I will be sure to get what I am after.” In the process, followers dismiss, disrespect, and step all over people they deem to have failed. They not only treat people badly, but they miss out on the many wonderful benefits of knowing the nonmaterialistic individual.

Even though the enslaved idolize their leader, there is often a seething envy and resentment toward that materialistic deity. These are two feelings that I see as destructive rather than beneficial to my life.

My time is better spent in pursuits of the heart. I value the time I have. And I’ve been lucky enough to get a glimpse of the joys that come with a nonmaterialistic mindset. I have met kind, wonderful, altruistic folks whose examples made more of an impression with me than any self-made millionaire. I gain the most life satisfaction from humble goals and the drive to contribute in the most positive way that my qualities and characteristics can furnish. The priceless, but often most difficult to acquire, state of mind lies not in the hunt for more and more “stuff” , but in living a life that makes a difference.

If you try to capture “things” to make you happy, you’ll come to the end of a materialistic existence only to discover that you missed the most valuable of all “possessions” – the intangible rewards of an unselfish life.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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What is ASMR?

When I was a child, if someone were to whisper into my ear, I would get a tingly sensation running from my spine down my back and into my legs. The gentle force of that person’s breath against my ear created this sensation. I would invariably shrink away saying “That tickles.” Though I didn’t know it then, my response has its roots in one of today’s hottest trends.

ASMR or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response has become a relatively new adult phenomenon that has found fame on YouTube. Certain sounds or music are claimed to produce a “brain massage” or “brain-gasm” in the listener. It is most often defined as a pleasurable feeling or tingling sensation that begins in the scalp running down the body. The ASMR response is triggered by many different types of stimuli: crinkling paper, scalp massage, whispers, humming, playing with the hair, fanning a book’s pages; the list is limited only by the recipient’s individual reaction.

Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

Introduced in 2010, (by Jennifer Allen – you can read her story here), ASMR has fast become another method for producing relaxation in our ever more stressful world. Adherents put on headphones and listen to videos, or enlist a partner to play with their hair, or sign-up for massages. Many recorded sessions are geared toward helping the listener to fall asleep.

Initiating a stimulating trigger, the recipient will almost immediately begin to feel a relaxing, almost sedative-like state. Accompanied by other emotions such as happiness, calming, and pleasure, the condition is becoming highly sought after. Unlike the similar experience of frisson, whose sensory response is usually a chill accompanied by goosebumps brought on when listening to music, this is a more serene and longer lasting state of mind.

Unfortunately, not everyone experiences this sensation. Where meditation, if practiced regularly, allows anyone to reap the rewards of a peaceful, relaxed state, ASMR is biologically selective in its chosen beneficiaries. Since not everyone can experience it, some question its existence.

Science has now gotten involved and has begun to study the phenomenon. Recognized as different from other atypical sensory events, as in the case above, there is much to learn about this experience. But science is clearly at the beginning stages of investigation. Significant evidence and solid, proven methodology are years, if not decades, away.

However, there exists many, many anecdotal reports. Though not scientific, they are very compelling.  My guess is that the answer lies within the individual’s sympathetic nervous system and how susceptible or sensitive that person is to environmental stimuli. Only time and experimentation will bring accurate answers to its mysteries.

There is only one way to find out if you can reap the benefits of ASMR. Try it out for yourself. Triggers can be anything you hear, see, smell, or touch that brings up a pleasurable feeling in you. Remember, ASMR is a unique experience to everyone so you must do your own discovery to find what gives you its euphoric pleasure.

Side Note: My personal experience with ASMR was not what I expected . . .

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Truth Seeker or Phony? – There is a Difference

Recently, the term “Truth Seeker” has garnered a bad name for itself. The name appears to have been snatched from a group of honest people with original thought and integrity in intention and action. Stolen by people whose previous connotation was and should continue to be aptly named “conspiracy theorists.” Those who are determined to cleanse their reputation and put a more acceptable label on it at the expense of authentic seekers.

I am a truth seeker. I offer an example of a recent truth I sought out. I don’t believe Covid-19 is a hoax. It is a very real and ominous threat to our way of life. When it started, I was skeptical. My only knowledge of such events was through past iterations of the flu. Yes, people died. It happens every year. So, what was all the fuss? I analyzed the data I was receiving and sought out both sides of the issue. As the numbers progressed and were reported, as stories of its destruction arose, as health care providers’ personal stories emerged, and as I sought out one-on-one advice from medical professionals (the people who are on the front line and have the most knowledge), I began to realize that there was more to the pandemic than what I initially thought.

When the vaccine became available for everyone, I signed up. I still had concerns about it due to the quick turn-around from inception to release. But I knew, by this time, that getting the shot was not only for my protection but for everyone else’s protection also. I became fully vaccinated at the beginning of April of this year.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The bad rap “truth seeker” is getting runs parallel with another absconded term: “critical thinker.” Critical thinking is the key to working toward truth. A simplistic definition would be “gathering facts, examining all sides of an argument, reflectively analyzing the whole, and coming to your own personally formed opinion, free of mob influence.” It is a complex concept. You will find a more integrated definition at The Foundation for Critical Thinking.

Critical thinking is a desirable concept. In the university where I earned my undergraduate degree, it was held up as the highest aim of that institution’s goal for each of its students. Critical thinking moves an organization, a business, a society, a culture forward toward the elusive ultimate truth.

Do not be deceived. Truth seekers are:

  • People who authentically explore a belief, opinion, or previously supposed ideal to find their own truth. Then share that truth in the form of a logical argument.
  • People who are willing to give up on old conclusions in favor of fully thought-out, newly revised interpretations.
  • People who set political beliefs aside in their hunt for the truth.
  • People whose open-mindedness is pure and unselfish. They do not follow a blind mob rule mentality put forth by charismatic, but narcissistic leadership.

Truth seekers are not:

  • People who surreptitiously call themselves something else for self-centered reasons.
  • People who would bend and fold the truth into a subverted version to bolster their own egocentric agenda.
  • People who associate their truth-seeking activities with a political movement. Truth may be sought for political issues, but the process itself has nothing to do with politics.
  • People who follow herd mentality thinking before fully questioning the viability and authenticity of that concept.

We do ourselves a disservice when we label everyone who calls themselves a “truth seeker” as politically motivated, former conspiracy theorists. Instead, use some of your own critical thinking skills to root out the fakers from the genuine article. And don’t make the mistake of being taken in by the imposters.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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