Make no mistake about it, everything we do in this lifetime is about learning. We learn to walk, talk, socialize, make a living and countless lessons in-between.
The choice of learning
Without getting into the esoteric considerations of life, we are always at choice as to what we learn. How many times have you learned a lesson about, for instance, lending money to friends? If your experience was a positive one you might lend again. But if your experience was not positive and you do it again, did you learn the lesson? What lesson did you learn?
When we go into the workforce our learning curve is very steep. We often make the same mistakes over and over again until we can find a way to incorporate those lessons into our life. We can choose to repeat mistakes or we can choose to learn from them. That’s why I say that we have a choice of learning.
Good lessons or bad?
This is a trick question. You see no lesson we learn can truly be called bad. They are all good. Certainly our lessons often come with a degree of pain, yet if that pain results in making more effective choices in the future (note that I did not say better choices) then the pain was worthwhile. Perhaps the major exception to this is when we have an experience that is less than joyful. We experienced the pain and had the opportunity to learn from it and move on but we choose to dwell, not with the lesson, but with the pain. This turns into anger.
What does anger do?
Anger, when left to fester, becomes resentment, frustration and a whole myriad of emotions which sooner or later impact other parts of our lives. We begin to think of ourselves as failures, unworthy and unloveable. Anger also eats us up inside which can literally result in physical challenges. Still these are part of our lifetime learning. Perhaps learning to let go of anger and anger’s stepchildren is our most important lesson.
We tend to gravitate to others who approach lifetime learning the same way we do. Those people who “live and learn” are more comfortable with others share the same strategy. People who experience pain and dwell upon it are more likely to find comfort in others who also choose to harbor their pain. Should you be of the first group you undoubtedly have an acquaintance who loves to dwell with their slights, affronts and perceived wrong-doing. This person is unlikely to be considered a friend. It just takes too much effort to live and let live while dealing with those who want to be victims. Conversely, those who want to live in anger see those who prefer to move on with their lifetime learning as foolish.
The funny thing is…
The funny thing about both these mindsets is that neither is wrong. Each of us is on a journey. Your journey may look similar to mine, but no two are exactly the same. They simply cannot be the same because, as individuals, we are so complex.
I think about the years I have spent in spiritual studies. How many people attended the same classes, study groups, seminars and workshops as I did but did not take from those common experiences what I felt was the message? They are still going though the same motions. It’s easy for me to look at them as ask, “weren’t you listening?” But that is part of my own lifetime learning. I must remember that what they learned might have been more profound for them what what I learned was for me. There simply is no way to quantify the results.
Learning to accept
Once we understand that each of us is on our own journey; a journey that is perfect for us and us alone, the urge to envy or judge others diminishes. As the urge to judge others diminishes we find it easier to accept people for who they are and make our decision about further association with them accordingly. Hopefully whatever choice we make will be based on acceptance that everyone is on their perfect path even if it is not our perfect path.
One can accept others without agreeing with them. Join me on this journey at BrianKGraham.com.