Don’t tell me what to do!
Most of us are familiar with the term, “learning the hard way”. Perhaps used in reference to that crazy cousin who wired $2000 to some guy she met on Match.com. You know, the model-looking-dude whose whole family died in a fire he escaped and he happens to be an international lawyer-slash-professional soccer player who is stuck in Germany because all of his legal documents were stolen and now needs two-grand so that he can fly home and whisk your crazy cousin off of her feet and love her forever. Yup, that’s the one. Your whole family tells her that red flags are abounding, yet she sends it anyway. Shortly after the money hits his account, lover boy disappears, your poor cuzzo is in the corner crying her eyes out, and the relatives just shake their heads muttering, “She had to learn the hard way.”
Well, just so you know, I am your crazy cousin. OK, so I’ve never sent a stranger a stack of cash, but I do always learn the hard way. This means that I have heard my fair share of “I told yous” and far too often I am the one that people are shaking their heads about. Is it because I’m stupid? (nope) Am I just too stubborn for my own good? (This is plausible…) Could I just be a raging masochist? (hahaha…well…)
I shake my fists dramatically at the heavens screaming, “WHYYY OHH WHYYY???”. Then I remember that Wikipedia exists. (whew…I can just look this shit up)“Educational results developed in the process of living life…” PROCESS. YES. You are speaking my language!
“Perspective gained as a result of trial and error” PERSEPECTIVE. Preach, Wikipedia, PREACH!
“Which lead to better judgment” BETTER JUDGMENT! UHUH, I do have that now!
As I ponder the wiki definition, I come to the conclusion that “learning the hard way” is actually a fucking GREAT WAY TO LEARN. In fact, as I recall, the lessons that I have come to through my own experiences are undoubtedly the ones that have taught me the most- the lessons that have stuck.
You see, growing up in a small town in the ‘Bible Belt’, I had a plethora of authority figures telling me how to be- from what I should believe and how I should dress to what I was capable of and how I should feel. Trying to fit into the mold of what others thought I should be might have made them more comfortable, but it never helped me at all. Instead it just made me feel caged and unheard and angry. So I bucked the system (a lot) and yes, there were plenty of times I fell flat on my face (like, in the mud), but at least I was living my own life and you can bet that I was learning from my own so-called failures. I shudder to think about where I would be now if instead of forging my own path, I had spent all that time trying to shove myself into a cast that would never fit.
I have also encountered my fair share of people (family, friends, spokes-people, TV personalities, self-help gurus, etc) dishing out advice that they guarantee will make me happier/skinnier/more successful/better in every way. This counsel comes in the form of “This is what I did and now I am happy/skinny/more successful/better in every way, so if you want to be all of these things, then just do exactly what I did”. It’s never worked for me, BUT, I must say that through these experiences I have gotten really clear about what we will and won’t do as facilitators at Rooted Center.
We won’t be telling you what to do or how to do it. We won’t be giving you advice on your life. You will not be given any lectures. You won’t have to create lists of “to dos” in order to make your life “better”. And we most certainly will not dismiss your experience, your knowledge, your truths or your feelings.
BUT we will strive to be authentic by admitting that we too are still in the learning process (because we ALL are). We will offer you tools that will help YOU find out what works for YOU. We will create an environment that allows you to explore yourself without judgment. We will listen to, acknowledge, and empathize with your truths and your feelings. And we will encourage you to “learn the hard way”- that is, on your own terms and through your own experiences.
And we WON’T shake our heads at you (or your crazy cousin).