Imagine for a moment that life is like a bead market. The market includes several booths, and at each booth are people, companies, and institutions selling unique beads. Each bead represents an idea or a belief.
In this market, each of us shops for beads that we then string onto a necklace. Everyone wears their self-made necklaces for others to see. Our necklaces are a representation of who we are, and so we take it quite seriously. Some people are eager to show off their necklace; others nervously hide theirs due to fear of judgment.
Each bead requires something in return: money, exchange of another bead, or some other form of payment. For example, if you buy a bead that represents your belief that social status is a person’s greatest measure of worth, then you might trade it for a bead that says a person’s value is most dependent on their character. People frown upon those who wear contradicting beads, so it’s important to be aware of what beliefs you hold and those you do not.
Watch out for those who deceive you into buying their beads. They’ll spend desperate hours trying to convince you why theirs are the best to buy. They may even threaten you by saying if you don’t buy their bead, there will be some sort of consequence. If their tactics work on you, your necklace will eventually contain beads that represent your fears and not the things that you genuinely believe.
We each have the freedom to remove a bead or add another one. We’re never required to remain loyal to the beliefs that we no longer identify with. Sometimes we feel restricted, like there are police patrolling the bead market looking for “bead traders.” In reality, we’re the ones holding onto the belief that we must always remain true to ____, even if we know that we no longer consider it true. The police only exist in our minds.
We are the sole creators of our identities. No one else can buy or trade our beads. Taking accountability for the beads on our necklaces opens us to a world of freedom where we realize that our beliefs are malleable. Meaning, they can be changed. We’re not humans with personalities made of concrete, and beliefs aren’t permanently carved into our existence.