Experience is the teacher of all things.
My mother always said, “You learn something every day.” She used this to facetiously emphasize times when she learned something unexpected—usually something she wished she hadn’t learned at all. But the truth is, life is all about learning. If we don’t learn, we don’t evolve. If we don’t evolve, what’s the point?
The human condition gives us infinite opportunities to learn, probably many more than we know or could even count. As part of the E.V.O.L.V.E. acronym, when we (E)xamine our lives, create a (V)ision and (O)bserve our reactions, we (L)earn more about our experiences so we can (V)enture into a new way of living and (E)levate ourselves above our previous ways. Without this process our life goes nowhere. I’ll explain more about this later.
While our experience as humans offer the fodder for growth, it is our soul—the essence of who we are—that is meant to evolve. Scientists have said that the human body has evolved about as much as it is going to, give or take a few subtle changes over time. But our soul has infinite room for growth and expansion. Therefore, the lessons we learn as humans are really designed to stretch the edges of our soul—to challenge us to outgrow patterns that no longer serve us and step into a new way of being. Why is it so hard to break an old thought, pattern, or behavior?
I explain to clients that changing our ways is not only a human challenge, it is the key to the evolution of our soul. That is why it is often very difficult to shift our lives in a way that enhances our well-being. Our ego wants us to stay the same—it doesn’t necessarily want us to learn and grow. Often fear, doubt and avoidance take over to “protect” us from something we perceive to be uncomfortable or dangerous. However, discomfort ALWAYS accompanies evolution. So in order to learn our life lessons, we must be willing to overcome the discomfort that comes along with change.
Essentially, it is a deeper phenomenon to learn about ourselves at the level that we understand the deep change that will take place if we follow through with change. We must learn about ourselves before we can put a new plan into action.
This is why I constantly ask people “what did you learn about yourself in that situation”?
I ask myself the same question all the time. I don’t always like what I’ve learned, but I always welcome the awareness so I can put it to use for my own evolution.
What did you learn already today? What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last week? Month? Year? In your life?
We tend to learn in retrospect. Soren Kierkeggard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” He meant that we learn as we look back, and what we learn paves the way for a better tomorrow.
As a therapist, I was taught to help clients explore their past, but only so they can heal and create a better future. I don’t believe in dwelling in childhood events or trauma, but I do fully believe the golden nuggets of learning are embedded in those experiences. Once we glance back to retrieve those lessons—understand what we did or could learn from those experiences, we can use those nuggets as building blocks to inform our future.
Are you willing to take a look? Are you willing to identify the core lessons that were presented along the way? What do you want to learn about yourself now that will help you create a better tomorrow?
Learning is the elixir of life. Are you willing to drink from the cup of self-knowledge?