Learn the Lesson: What Next? – Emotional Pro

April 17th, 2006

Yesterday one of my daughters reminded me of a lovely thing that happens once you really learn a particular lesson. Not too long after you “get” what you’re attempting to teach yourself, you have the experience of observing someone else caught in the exact same trap, utilizing a similar response to the way you reacted, and you can “see” the entire scene as if someone were acting it out on the stage for your benefit!
This is a curious, but exceptionally helpful, feature of learning life lessons. It does several things: 1) it allows you to see the lesson and the “syndrome” in “living color,” 2) it gives perspective on the issue; 3) it affirms that you have learned the lesson (you can’t see it like this if you haven’t completed your learning); 4) it allows you be empathetic with the other person, perhaps even to help them out in learning that same lesson, and 5) it allows you to feel gratitude for having been able to learn that lesson. (Do remember the principle that Help that isn’t asked for, never works, which means don’t help unless you’ve been asked or gotten agreement for the help.)
When my daughter was younger, she had a lot of difficulty speaking up on her own behalf. Her big concern was that in speaking up, she would inadvertently or directly hurt someone else. She was most willing to “do without” than to take the risk of hurting others, of taking up too much space on this earth. As she and some friends negotiated a new living arrangement this week, she watched a friend go through the entire “scene” as she struggled to let the others know which room she’d prefer to have in the house they were renting together. The friend indicated that others would think she was “bitchy” because she asserted which room she wanted. Hooray for learning! My daughter was able to reassure her that “taking up space” in the world was something to which her friend was entitled, and that she, for one, was not thinking of her as “bitchy,” merely assertive! And the nicest part was that my daughter contacted me to tell me about what she had seen and said, thanking me for what I have taught her over the years, and giving me permission to use the story in my quest to teach this information to the world!
But that’s the way it works. “After the lesson,” we have an opportunity to view that lesson, in its entirety, in the life of someone else. And we can see it because we have finished it and are separated enough to have perspective, like viewing a vase of flowers where we have set it on a table. Over there. I see the entire picture. Wow, am I glad to be finished with that! And now I can see the struggle and what needs to be done to end the struggle! I see what needs to be learned. I feel the struggle, yet I can see it separate from me. And I can help that individual, if they wish it. And finally, I am so GRATEFUL to have had the lesson and, more importantly, to have learned it!
This “earth as giant school” plan is miraculous. It never ceases to amaze me.

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