Fwd: The Incomparable Wendy Luhabe On Belief Systems; #GiftThemBeautiful – A Campaign To Build A More Equal Society


Belief Systems represent an invisible operating system, like our computers have an operating system that wires them.  Belief systems, like computer operating systems, are invisible and are operating systems, and they shape how we relate to one another, it shapes how we relate to the world, how we respond to experiences, it defines the assumptions, the expectations and the perceptions that we have that are mostly not expressed but shape our relationships to a large extent.  Belief systems are responsible for how we show up in the world.

Belief Systems represent an invisible operating system

Secondly, belief systems are either dysfunctional or they add value.  And thirdly, belief systems develop to become strongholds in our lives primarily because they are passed down to us, we inherit belief systems from previous generations and we own them without questioning them and examining their relevance to our own lives, we just take them on and carry on with life without really understanding their relationship to how we engage with each other and engage with the world.

An example I can share is that I grew up in apartheid South Africa.  I came from a home where my mother left her marriage in 1960s when women didn’t do that, women in the 1960s just didn’t leave their marriages.  This had a huge impact on me, ‘what kind of a woman has so much courage to leave her marriage because it wasn’t working for her?’  I grew up realizing that I am not what society defines me to be, I am not less than, I am not unequal to someone else and that is how I came to live fearlessly in a in a male-dominated world.

My first career was in a car manufacturing company, which was completely male-dominated.  I was one of the first women to work in that industry and over the last 30 years that has been my experience, living in a man’s world to demonstrate to myself that I am just as equal and I am just as capable.

And the reason I am able to stand is because I don’t compare myself to what they are able to do or what someone else is able to do. I compare myself to what I am able to do, because I truly believe that each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made, so that’s the premise from which I live my life.  That if we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, we each must have something really special to contribute to the world, and I can’t contribute that if my life is shaped by some belief system that someone passed on to me and conditioned me with.

I can only contribute to the world to the best of my ability if I step outside of that box, because all that it (someone else’s belief systems) offers is a box that is actually quite small.  But if I step outside of that box and really explore, that is really when I can show up in the true measure of my potential and it’s when I can make a contribution to the world that can only be made by me.  So the contribution that I have made to the world, no one who is sitting here or anywhere else in the world can make. In the same way I cannot make any of the contributions that all of you have made or that you are depriving us of, because if you are not making your contribution you are depriving the world of that contribution that can only be achieved by you.

…the contribution that I have made to the world, no one who is sitting here or anywhere else in the world can make.

How do I remain true to myself and my beliefs in a changing world…

I always surround myself with six generations of people, three younger, my generation and two older, that is my first practise, this has been hugely invaluable to me.  The second practise is to be intentional; I am very intentional with my life, how I live my life.  I don’t make choices that surprise me because I have not thought them through. I don’t make choices whose consequences are surprises to me. I think through every choice that I make because every choice has consequences.  I think as human beings, a lot of us, don’t have a relationship with consequences.  We make the choices and then consequences show up and we think oops! what happened there?!

The third thing I have been doing for the last 30 years is to grow my consciousness a step at a time.  Living in a mindful way is something you have to be intentional about. A lot of why we are where we are in the world is because we lack consciousness.  And values are important to me, when I stand in my values I am not confused about being in my integrity in whichever choice I make.  These are the four practises have assisted to remind me to step outside the box and not allow a moment or situation to hold me ransom and this happens if you live your life mindfully.

I think as human beings, a lot of us, don’t have a relationship with consequences.


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