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Learning curves

Jamieson Van Loan

You know when you're on the listening end of someone's problem and you sorta want to shake them and be like, HERE'S THE ISSUE AND HERE'S THE LESSON TO BE LEARNED. But we all have to go through the learning process on our terms. No one can coax us through the process, or present the lesson, without us having to trudge through the hardship. 

I initially started this rant on a completely different plane of thought. But life lessons kept popping up this week. There is that cliched (but completely relevant, hence the cliche) quote that basically says "when you stop asking why is this happening to you and replace it with what can you learn from it?" you can completely alter your perspective. And I couldn't agree more. Life will always have its difficult moments and decisions and it's what you draw from those moments that will aid in your evolution. 

As someone who is a sounding board for many friends, but also someone who reaches out to my tribes people for advice constantly, the question of what can I learn from this situation is always a topic of conversation. If this is not a continual subject in your world, I recommend making it one. It takes the natural instinct to complain into a completely different realm. Our complaints, our issues, become the foundation of learning. How can I process this situation in a way that isn't stressing me out, but is adding to my growth? 

And don't get me wrong, it is not easy to do this all the time. Sometimes we are stuck in shitty circumstances that makes us question our very purpose on this planet. We have all been through heartbreak and loss and massive regret and cruelty and pain. None of those situations or emotions beg us to find the silver lining. Once you get distance, healing and lessons typically prevail, but it isn't always so apparent. 

Our innate response to difficult situations is to put up our protective walls.  Our defenses go up. It is not our fault or our issue, but the other person, who is causing the grief, who is to blame. Our negative emotions and ego like to push against ownership and fault others. In the moment that your mind goes into that mode, that is when the reality check comes into play. Questioning the reality of your thoughts is key. We all over analyze, dramatize and do the "woe is me" dance when we want sympathy and understanding.  So stepping outside of your situation, as difficult as that can be, is so beneficial. How would a stranger, an unbiased human, interpret this incident? 

And if you can mentally distance yourself from the situation, can you push even farther and begin to see the lesson hidden among the suffering? This takes so much emotional intelligence and strength. It is no easy feat. 

But the quicker you can move through the "woe is me" phase into the growth phase, the happier you will be. 

I think one of the best gauges for tough situations is asking yourself the question, "will I care about this problem in a week from now, six months from now, a year from now?" How detrimental to my actual life is this? And if the answer is not at all OR the solution is completely out of your control, then let it go. Move through the emotions you need to, but let it go. Learn and move forward. 

That is a crucial component to dealing with tough issues, are you actually moving forward and through them? Or are you being stubborn? I know friends, and shoot, I've been there plenty of times, who are stubborn, or moreover, stagnant with their problems. They complain and get upset over and over again, which can be beneficial in the venting realm, but it's not facilitating to healing and moving past your problem. How many times can you complain about a circumstance before you take the leap to change it?

Typically taking the leap to change or learn from your issue is the more arduous path. And therefore, typically the path we choose last. I am urging you to choose it now. Be the person who acknowledges the negative situation and expends the least amount of emotional energy on it. Own your part of it, fix what you can, and then shut up and figure out the lesson.
Move forward.

If you are spending the valuable time you have on this planet, upset or stressed or complaining, you're on the wrong side of the tracks, my friend. Don't misread this- we will all be upset, stressed and will complain- but it is how you handle it and progress through it that matters most. Learn and grow- your future self will thank you.

Jamiesonxo