With the idea of Personal Growth in mind, first, let’s look at Ideology.

Ideology is a set of beliefs that you may cling to, and not be willing to clearly see beyond. Ideology is allowing your beliefs to define and limit you. They serve as a protective buffer zone, keeping you safe from outside truths which can be painful, frightening, uncertain, too big to grasp, and hard to live with at first. We all may do this to a certain degree.

A good way to understand Ideology is to compare it with Ideas.

Ideas are expansive. They open you to new thoughts and theories and understandings, with curiosity, without judgment. They’re positive.

Ideologies are contracting. They close you, are limiting, self defining where you are unable to look for truth beyond the safety of your boundaries of definition.

The key here to opening the door to move beyond these self imposed boundaries of Ideology is clarity. Seeing clearly. As in, not veiled over with our heavy belief systems which muddle our view. We need to see clearly – above and beyond our self imposed limitations. That’s where truth is. And the tool that sets us free is curiosity. With an honest, open curious mind, how can we not desire to clearly address and understand our Ideologies, and then want to see beyond the borders of our limiting definition? With curiosity, how can we not strive to see where the other person is coming from? With curiosity, how can we not know there is more that meets our eyes? With curiosity, how can we not try to understand everything?

Some examples of Ideas vs Ideology:

  • Nursing is good for babies and mothers – vs – Every woman should nurse.
  • A shared bed can make nursing easier on the mother and baby – vs – Mothers and babies should share the same bed.
  • Organic food is a fine choice when available – vs – You should always eat only organic foods.
  • Going to church/temple is a powerful way to connect with community and the Divine – vs – Everyone should go to this church/temple if they want to connect with community and the Divine.

See what I mean? One way is positive, encouraging, open. The other, well…

Did you notice the use of the dreaded “should” word? That can be the clue to noticing when we’re turning inward to our Ideologies instead of opening outward in curiosity. Should, must, have to, need to… listen for these clues in your speech, and in the speech of others and you might start seeing the truth.

Okay, now… are you ready?

Take the first step.

Look around and see, hear, read the Ideologies others are extending. Listen for the “should” words. Notice the restrictions, impositions, limitations, demands, expectations, and closing off.

Now the second step. This one is harder.

Look inside yourself. Look closely. Uncover what Ideologies you are holding onto.

Seeing is the first step. And it’s more than many people do. Are you willing to take this step?

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