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Filtering by Tag: life lessons

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

Own your regrets and move on...

Jamieson Van Loan

We all have regrets in life. Even those of us who think they don’t, they do. I used to be that person who always said “I regret nothing- everything in my life has brought me to this exact moment in time, precisely where I should be.” And that is true. To an extent.

All of the beautiful moments, the hardships, the tears, the laughter, the right or wrong decisions have brought you to this specific space. And I’m hoping this email finds you in a gloriously grateful space this morning.

But there are also moments in life we wish we could re-do or articulate in our best manner. You know these moments. When you’re brash and impulsive and say or do things without truly thinking it through. Last week, I was infuriated with my bank because my account information was stolen and abused for the second time in three months. I yelled. I lost my shit. I was a lesser and, quite frankly, embarrassing version of myself.

This is why apologies exist. Saying “I’m sorry” is owning your regret. It is saying, I behaved in a manner beneath me and I wish I hadn’t caused you to feel that way, please accept these words as acknowledgement of my deep regret.

The most important part of an apology is to know it’s true starting point. Are you apologizing for self relief or relieving the pain of the victim? To apologize in order to alleviate your guilt or just throw a band aid on a situation is not a true apology. When you use the powerful words, “I am sorry” your gesture must come from the purest and most vulnerable part of you. True apologies are never easy. They require humility.

And yes, I did apologize to my bank peeps.

Now do we have to constantly live with or analyze our regrets? Heck no! That does nothing for true living and staying present. But it also does not make you less of your amazing self to admit to regrets and wrongdoings. Admitting to and owning them followed by a retraction or apology and then releasing and letting go completely, is the healthiest way forward.

People who say they live without regrets are possibly better equipped to compartmentalize their wrong choices but more accurately, they probably create a dissonance between actual reality and personal reality.

 Actual reality is the current state without outside biases. Perceived or personal reality is the current state through your own projections.

We see the world as we want to see it. So if telling ourselves that we have no regrets is what our defensive mechanism or ego needs for survival or happiness, so be it. 

My point to all this is to take ownership of your poor choices or behaviors in life, apologize for them and move on. Quickly. Do not let issues linger. Do not shove them under your secret regret rug. This life is made all the better by finding the courage to be humble and own your mistakes. This brings you the freedom from the past and the ability to be more present. And being more present should always be your ultimate goal. 

Are you absorbing life’s lessons?

Jamieson Van Loan

There is a quote I posted on social media that said “anything that annoys you is teaching you patience. Anyone who abandons you is teaching you to stand up on your own two feet. Anything that angers you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion. Anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back. Anything you hate is teaching you unconditional love. Anything you fear is teaching you courage to overcome your fear. Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go."

The evolved within us knows all this. The question is: are we actually paying attention to it? Are we being cognizant of the signs and lessons around us?

I recently had the pleasure of meeting someone who completely changed my mindset in life. It is strange when you’re actively pursuing a certain mindset and someone can automatically spark that shift within you. It feels like the universe is speaking to you. This person was in my life for a blink of a moment, but they made me realize how much I was truly lacking. I had forgotten about this momentous person inside of me who valued laughter, joy and fun. It was not that my life did not include those imperatives; it was that I was prioritizing my work over everything else. I prioritize work over my sleep, over my friends, over my social life, over my family, over honestly, all the things that matter the most at the end of the day. To look back on my past post about “what would you do if today was your last day on earth”- I was spending mine working. If I was hit by a bus later today, would my last thoughts be about not emailing that person back or regretting that I hadn’t spent more time with the important factors in my life. I am going to assume the latter.

It is not always easy to be hyper aware of the lessons in life. We are in such a tight hamster wheel of precision and routine that when there are moments of fluster or aggravation, we tend to just follow the emotions. But when we step back and realize that those moments that deter our constant are truly there to push us in a forward motion, we actually grow. My most literal and daily attribute to this is how I am constantly getting stuck behind the slowest drivers. Now most humans would be ok with this, but I am not one of those humans. I tend to be in a rush and wondering why the person in front of me is going eight miles slower than the speed limit, which is actually 15 miles slower than the rest of society. Through deep breathes and self-awareness, I realize that this person is really here to teach me to be patient and that life is not a constant state of rushing (albeit I am normally missing a train to nyc at this point). It has made me grow, evolve.

Every single time I am bothered by someone else’s influence in my life, I take deep breaths and ask myself, “what are they here to teach me?”

There has yet to be an answer that has not rung true for all aspects of my life. I am so grateful to the person who reminded me that fun and laughter is crucial to my purest existence. I am so grateful to the slow drivers for reminding me of my need for patience. I am so grateful to all the people who have made me explore my inner self in order to happen upon some beautiful discovery.

Remember this:
Without exploration, there is no discovery.

My takeaway this week is that we need to be grateful for the people who force us outside of our comfort zones. The people who rile us up or upset us or anger us or frustrate us, they are the people who compel us to hone our reactions and delve deeper into our personas. Be grateful for all of it. These encounters, although not always positive, create a crater of experience that can only be filled with wisdom.