What have you successfully, intentionally unlearned?
And what, if anything, do you want to unlearn now?
I recently unlearned that it is okay to be the first one to reach out in reconciliation. For years, I told myself if someone wants a relationship, they will reach out. I learned this from my mother, who thought that the phone line only ran one way. She would constantly complain about people not coming or calling. However, when it was pointed out she could call or go visit, she didn’t want to be an inconvenience.
I intentionally unlearned this in God’s perfect timing. I wrote the letters, made the calls, and made effort to visit more often than I had anticipated. As a result, I did not just reconcile one relationship, but multiple ones. It has had a ripple effect that is impacting generations. Sometimes not making the effort can lead to a lifetime of regrets. I don’t have to love with that regret.
I have also been unlearning the need to control things. I have always been independent and prefer to be in charge instead of following, especially if it is something that I know about. I am generally okay giving up control only if I am not the expert in the room. Lately I have found myself in positions where I feel control is not mine to take, despite knowing. I have found myself deferring to others.
My daughter told me Saturday that it was refreshing for her to see me not take control. It has certainly been a challenge to me personally; at the same time I have peace doing it. I know others beside my daughter have been surprised as I step back when I would naturally step up. I realize I need to stop and think about the implications when I take control and shouldn’t – not only in my life but for others also.
What would I like to unlearn next? How to not be so critical or negative when speaking of others. Lately I find myself asking “Why did you say that?” “Was it really necessary?” It shouldn’t matter that it is truthful, if it isn’t nice and necessary, it doesn’t need to come out of my mouth. And my opinion or perspective does not make something gospel.
Right now I find myself asking those questions after the conversation is over or the words are out of my mouth. I need to get to the point that they come before the words leave my mouth. I don’t need to participate in gossip, and I certainly don’t need to start it. My opinions about others or about circumstances do not have to be shared verbally. So I need to let the unlearning begin.
This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders