I have discovered, and verified through the journalistic rule of three sources, that people react badly not only to “being taught,” but to learning.
I was writing copy for my wellness practice and I ran the following past my marketing guru. “I do not think of myself as a healer, but more as a teacher and guide who uses BodyTalk as her primary tool.” And she cautioned me against using the word “teacher.” Apparently, this has a tendency to trigger issues around inferiority and problems with authority.
Another friend shared the trigger that she has around the word “lesson.” As in I hope you’ve learned your lesson, young lady!
This is very, very, interesting to me. I had problems of my own in school. Me and my three siblings were often picked on. In my case, I was shunned, because I was lippy and articulate enough to turn the teasing back on my attackers. I had a habit of correcting my teachers— oh that was fun! (Dear Noel, I never corrected them unless they were actually wrong. My math teacher kicked me out of class for correcting his math problem on the board. ) I hated a lot of things about school. But I never hated school.
The idea that there was a place where you went every day to do nothing but learn. Wow. What could be better? Ok, so the reality didn’t quite live up to the dream, but there was always university, was there not?
Learning, growing, changing, has always been so exciting for me. It’s hard for me not to see that as a default setting. (I think it is, actually, it just gets trained out of most people)
So, the updated version of “Getting Great Mileage out of Shitty Experiences”
You had the experience. You’re not going to be able to change that. You also don’t have to believe that God or the Universe sent you that experience to teach you a lesson, because that’s a fairly self-flagellating outlook to have on life, not to mention the fact that it makes it easy to blame people’s problems on themselves.
What you can do, however, is to use the enormous pattern-seeking abilities of your brain, and pick a lesson, any lesson from your shitty experience. That gives it purpose. That gives it meaning. That makes it useful.
This may seem cynical, a sort of Pollyanna spin on a tragic situation, but I assure you, you’re already putting your own spin on the situation. Every time a memory of [whatever] comes up, you’re already thinking “Not this again. I thought I dealt with this. Can’t I get rid of it? Can’t I do anything? I’m useless, stupid, broken, etc.”
Yes, I am saying you get to pick your truth. Truth is a pretty funny thing; it’s not nearly as easy to nail down as people seem to think. So you can say, Here I am, I was born to suffer, or you can say, it is pretty damn awesome to be me.