I was sharply reminded today that we have to unlearn before we can learn.
My client has a generous spirit and is a wonderful person, who has been struggling with making a negative situation work. He has been bending over backwards, being kind to the people involved, keeping his peace and holding out for the good in others. While I applaud his search for the good in people and his eagerness to celebrate whatever they do as good, today I asked him to take a reality check on his relationships. I asked him to be honest, face the truth and make a choice.
I have been there before and I know that whenever I get to that point of doubting what I see as real or making excuses for others I need to make a choice. Whether this happens in a job, a friendship or another human interaction I know the truth – the choice has already been made and I am delaying acting in my power. When I delay action, more negative stuff happens and I suffer even more. The longer that I dither, the more I suffer.
I have accepted that leaving, giving up, saying no and starting over are good choices. To get to that point I had to unlearn a few things.
Be nice – This took a long time for me to conquer. Girls are taught to be and play nice and subtly we are taught not to set boundaries, and to not say No. I no longer need to be nice, I need to honor myself, say no and set boundaries so people know how to treat me and what I will accept.
Give until it hurts – Why should generosity be painful? When I give away 100% I have nothing let for me, I am left wanting and that hurts. I will share but I like my nose so I would not be spoiling my face. I share and give generously as well, but I am not doing without.
There is good in everyone. While I agree with this as a fundamental truth when people show me there ugly I accept that as part of them as well. If they don’t show me their good, I don’t go looking for it. I accept that they are good, and that they choose not to show me their goodness. I don’t stick around waiting for the good to be shown; I accept what they show me and run.
Don’t give up – I have walked away from jobs, relationships and situations because they were toxic and I accepted that I had no power to change the outcomes or interactions. When I feel powerless, or keep getting angry or depressed, or make excuses or try hard and nothing is changing, or feel that I have no choice or feel trapped and powerless or that the interaction no longer serves its initial purpose, then I know that I have no choice but to walk away. It does not feel good and in the moment I am not proud of giving up. When I get over the feelings of defeat and stop listening to the voices that say “Try something else,try harder, don’t give up,” it feels right. I always give of my best and if my best is not good enough then I need to find something that my best is good enough for. What is the sense of putting energy behind something that is not working?
lt is in the spirit of unlearning that I have been honing my relationships and experiences over the years, trimming off the excess, culling the negatives and keeping only those that bring value to me. It did not happen overnight, some of them I have had to plan and take baby steps to reshape. Today just before the new year I am celebrating those choices, for me they are excellent ones.
PS I have more unlearned stuff to share with you and I am still unlearning.
What do you need to unlearn for 2015?