This a term I first heard from Mary Morrissey, founder of the Brave Thinking Institute, but this is not necessarily about shared beliefs.
‘Partners in Believing’ may have different beliefs, different faiths, different cultural understandings: what it’s about is ‘believing’ itself.
What you or I believe in doesn’t matter. We can be ‘partners in believing ‘even though our beliefs are different.
This may be a little difficult to grasp, so I’ll explain – or at least attempt to!
The first thing is that the majority of folk don’t really believe in anything, they may pay lip service to something or other and as examples politics and religion immediately come to mind.
People vote Conservative or Labour, Republican or Democrat, but very few of them believe in the principles any of those parties stand for.
Many votes are cast for one party as a vote against the other, or on a ‘what’s in it for me’ basis – not for whatever the party they voted for proposes or stands for.
I have friends in Ireland, some are staunch Catholics, others committed Protestants – or so they say.
I was at a funeral over there a few years ago, I’ve never heard the Lord’s Payer recited so fast – almost as one word. No meaning behind what was being said.
They ‘religiously’ attend Mass or Communion on Sunday, just a brief interruption to everyday life, and the things they do most of the time don’t really reflect the beliefs of the religions they are supposed to be following.
I know many Christians and Muslims who never attend their places of worship, in fact, the only time they think about religion is when they fill in a census form or consider a wedding or funeral!
The point is, most people have no belief in anything, including themselves. They may have opinions about things, but opinions are in no way the same as beliefs.
A true belief is something fundamental to how your I live our lives. It’s closely aligned to, but not the same as ‘faith’, and again I use faith not as related to religion but as what you might describe as an ‘unsubstantiated belief’.
You can look at belief as something for which there is ‘evidence’ that you believe, and faith as something you believe and trust in for which there is little or no demonstrable evidence of any kind.
Belief in one’s self is like that. You and I believe we can be do and have whatever we wish for, we have faith in this belief, and this leads us to the actions we take in our daily lives to support that belief.
This is what having ‘partners in believing’ is all about – supporting each other in our belief and faith in ourselves.
Believing in each other’s personal belief about ourselves.
And when your belief ‘fades’ and you find things ‘difficult’ for some reason or other then – and here’s the key – you can ‘believe in my belief in you’.
As partners in believing we ‘lend’ each other our belief in each other when needed.
“I believe you can do it – I believe you are doing it” – whatever it might be. “I believe in who you are and in who you are becoming”
We usually find our partners in believing as ‘fellow travellers’ – those who have trod the same path at some time, those who have shared our journey and whose journeys we have shared, even for a relatively short time.
From time to time we encounter people who are genuine, people who really have a belief in themselves.
Too many people on this planet either have no belief in much of anything or have ‘sold’ their belief to someone else like a political or religious leader, sometimes even a ‘celebrity’.
They have ‘sold their Soul to the devil’ and are living their life through someone else.
It can even happen in a marriage, or people who live their lives through their children, forgetting that in order to really support your ‘loved ones’ you have to believe in your self first.
We call on our partners in believing for two things.
The first is inherent ongoing ‘moral support’ – knowing that there are others who believe in us, whatever we are doing and why.
It’s an underlying ‘knowing’ we are not alone.
Second, we can ask for help and advice or just to act as a ‘sounding board’ for our ideas.
Our partners in believing are the people we can got to with our crazy ideas and our blocks and restrictions for advice, support, help or even just for them to ‘hear us out’ – without any negative response.
We can work together as a ‘Mastermind Group’ looking at our ideas and issues, we can carry out mutual mentoring or coaching and occasionally use our personal expertise to provide practical assistance, or open up our networks to find someone else who may be able to assist.
Of course, you and I could decide to ‘go it alone’ but with just a few partners in believing the outcome of all our intentions is achieved more rapidly and more effectively, beyond measure.
Who are your Partners in Believing?