Personal Transformation: Broken Wide Open to Embrace New Beliefs

Check out this post by Marlena Fiol’s author of Nothing Bad Between Us

Monday’s blog explored the illusions of perfection I’ve hidden beneath — about my family, about my society — which have temporarily made me feel secure and satisfied in my own little bubble. But illusions of a perfect world in the face of today’s ugly imperfections finally cannot hold up. Eventually, I have to stop believing my own stories and notice what is really happening around me.

But here’s the thing about deeply held illusions. When I discover that what I believed with all my heart is actually a sham, a lie, it clearly signals the need for me to unlearn those beliefs, right? But it may take more than recognizing this need for change to truly abandon my false beliefs.

In my prior career as an identity researcher, I was recognized as an expert on learning and unlearning processes. One of the things I used to argue is that the only way we can completely unlearn deeply embedded patterns is to learn new ways of thinking that eventually crowd out the old.

So more than ever, it’s important for me, for us together, to identify activities that support the work that’s needed to dismantle white supremacy and injustice, starting in my own home and in my own community. As a privileged white woman, I know that I still have to do a lot of listening and learning to become a better anti-racist ally. But I also know that the more I learn to think in new ways, the less room there will be for the old false illusions to creep back into my consciousness.

I can only be responsible for my choice, my voice, and my actions in this moment. When I find myself wondering what good my one voice can possibly do, I remind myself of this fact:  If there was ever a moment in history when we should feel like our one voice is melding with millions of others to generate a sustained change in our beliefs, a shattering of our old illusions, it is now. A new ABC News poll found that nearly three-fourths of Americans view the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer as a sign of underlying racial prejudice. This is a significant shift from responses to a similar question asked just six years ago. In the 2014 poll, only 43 percent of Americans said that similar incidents were signs of a broader problem.

Thought leader and international bestselling author Bryant McGill wrote, “The storm is out there and every one of us must eventually face the storm. When the storm comes, pray that it will shake you to your roots and break you wide-open. Being broken open by the storm is your only hope. When you are broken open you get to discover for the first time what is inside you.”

I do wish to discover new truths that are inside me. Do you?


Nothing Bad Between Us

A Mennonite Missionary’s Daughter Finds Healing in Her Brokenness

This story differs from similar accounts of childhood domination or abuse because it tells the story of the author’s seemingly paradoxical responses to the powerful forces in my life, but doesn’t leave it at that. It sheds light on the social and religious dynamics underlying these responses, giving readers insights into and understanding of her otherwise incomprehensible choices, as she found my way back into loving relationships with her parents and the Mennonite community.