26. credible sources

If you want to read the truest account of what’s going on in the world, you are likely to pick up the newspaper or go to CNN’s (insert credible news station here) website. You may even turn on the news. From experience, you know these to be trustworthy sources of information. For the most part, what’s reported is not fabricated. There may be slight embellishments but not in such a way that the stories are drastically changed.

It is extremely unlikely that you would pick up one of those cheap “magazines” made of newsprint to be filled in on the events of the world. You know what I’m talking about. Those eye-roll inducing gossip magazines filled with headlines such as, “Woman births 50 lb baby!” or “Aliens Take Over Chicago!”. Common sense tells us that the information in those publications is not very high on the validity scale. What is reported is most likely skewed in such a way that it is on the opposite end of the truth. A small, easily overlooked detail suddenly turns into a “breaking news” headline with zero regard for the truth. The information communicated is more about the shock value and less about the real story.

Why am I choosing to write about credible sources? Why am I bringing up gossip magazines, world news, and newspapers? Because. You’ll see.

Conversations and experiences in the past year have caused me to have a HUGE realization.

In regards to who I am as a person, my trust has been in those “not-so-credible” sources. I’ve completely disregarded the facts presented by those that truly KNOW me and taken to heart the information from those that just say they do.

The past year has been a whirlwind of emotion. Everything I thought to be true about myself was challenged by people who I’d only known for a short amount of time. They’d offer up their opinion and support it with weak evidence, throwing in a few embellishments here or there. Was some of it somewhat true? Yes, I’m human. I make mistakes. But because this information was shocking, negative, and gossip inducing…I took it to heart. My thought process was that if people thought this then it MUST be true.

While I struggled to sift through these new “facts”, the more credible sources in my life tried to offer up honest information. I heard things such as:

“You are such a positive, inspiring person!”
“You have a wonderful heart.”
“We are lucky to have you in our life.”
“Sure you may be anxious and emotional, but you make our life brighter.”

Every piece of tirelessly researched evidence came from someone who has been in my life for over 10 years. People who have known me through countless situations, stages of life, and emotions. People who have been by my side and will continue to know and love me through it all. The majority of the people I’m lucky enough to have in my life.

Even with understanding all this, do you know what I did?

I quickly dismissed each thing they said and continued to buy into the more shocking, weaker evidence. As I started to believe what this small amount of people said, I started to lose grip on the knowledge of who I truly was.

I would take their evidence-based facts and hold up the shock value, embellished opinions of those who barely knew me and use that as proof of who I was.

It got to the point where my best friend started to tell me that she refused to believe the things I would say about myself. Who I truly was as a person was NOT what these few people claimed to be true.

Just rereading what I’ve typed shocks me. I can’t believe I allowed myself to do that.

Today, my eyes were opened. I had allowed false information to start to change the truth. I was allowing myself to believe things I knew were not true. What I do know though, is that I am sure of who I am.

I know that I may encounter struggles, heartbreak, and challenges…but they do not define me.

I can take the opinion of others, look to see if it is consistent with those that truly know me, and either dismiss or learn from what is being said. That last part is crucial. Reflection is key.

Authenticity is hard, let me tell you. While it sounds great in theory…it takes courage. It takes determination. It takes speaking from your heart. It takes faith and trust.

Here’s to being picky with what sources I choose to believe. To celebrating those that are “credible.”

Here’s to happiness, authenticity, and originality.

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