My family and I use to eat at buffets often when I was a child. I’d walk alongside my mom or dad, tightly holding a plate in my hands, as they scooped different foods onto it. Then I’d run the plate back to the table and eat whatever was there.
As I grew older and more able to make my own decisions about which foods I did or did not want on my plate, the concept of a buffet began to take on a more symbolic meaning.
Through life, we’re offered a buffet of choices to scoop onto our plate of beliefs: religious beliefs, what we believe is a meaningful life, what equation equals happiness, what’s right and what’s wrong, what we actually want and don’t want (and not what we think we want because someone else told us we should want it).
Truth is malleable and takes shape depending on what information we decide has power. When it comes to meaning, purpose, and wellbeing, there isn’t a single thread of truth that runs through the world. Success and happiness are vulnerable to the interpretations of the translator. Each of us are the translator between society and our own lives. We choose our own threads and weave together a fabric through which we view the world.
Although, it doesn’t often feel that way. Rather it feels like truth is etched in stone: fixed and unchangeable. We’re born into the structure of our parents’ and our society’s truths. Much of what we believe is directly connected to what we were taught to believe, and it’s incredibly challenging to re-evaluate, deconstruct and reconstruct our beliefs, so many of us don’t.
Someone filled your plate for you when you were a child and handed it to you. Are you still holding that same plate, or have you explored the buffet and made your own choices?
You may at any moment decide to shed what no longer fits into your view of the world. You may, at any moment, reconstruct what you believe is meaningful. You could throw the whole plate on the ground and start fresh. You don’t have to, but you could.