Hard Learned Lessons

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or where you are at – life is going to throw you a curve ball. Sometimes, you may see it coming, other times, it’s probably going to whack you on the head. These wild pitches of experience tend to leave a mark – but we each choose whether we bandage our wounds and learn from our experiences, or keep picking at the scab and making the same mistakes.

It’s pretty safe to assume that every one of us has at some point in our lives performed at least one random act of stupidity that brought about some type of physical pain. Whether we touched the hot stove, jumped off the roof with an umbrella for a parachute, or simply weren’t paying attention while walking – we’ve all had at least one incident of cause and effect that resulted in a bump, bruise, or lingering unpleasantness.

Pain, in all of it’s various forms, tends to be one of our greatest teachers. We are more likely to make sure the stove has cooled before we touch it, watch where we are walking, and if compelled to jump off the roof again, well, we are more likely to consider how to soften the impact of the landing, or better yet, choose not to jump at all.

The living experience
If life came with an owner’s manual, it probably would make things easier for those who actually took the time to read it. But, since we don’t have that handy little guidebook, most of us have to figure things out as we journey along the way. This process opens us up to a world of possibilities and experiences, large and small. What we experience influences our decisions, and our decision-making processes. Every choice that we make sets in motion our next opportunity or consequence, and not a one of us is going to make the right call every time. Sadly, even when we have the very best of intentions, or what we regard as a well thought-out plan, things can still blow up in our face. At the time it may not make sense, certainly doesn’t seem fair and ultimately causes some type of lingering pain. The up-side to finding yourself in a bad situation is that through this process, a whole lot of knowledge is likely to be gained.

Learning the hard way
When it comes to life, there are just some lessons we have to learn the hard way. The arena of the lesson doesn’t seem to matter – it could be family, love, school, work, or relative to one of our own personal characteristics. The hard lessons tend to shape our perceptions, cause us to look at things differently. Each of us most likely has a list of mental and emotional dents and scars, invisible reminders of the cause-and-effect lessons we have picked up along the way. Some of these hard-learned lessons of life may seem like punishment, but if you can process through the unpleasantness and look for purpose and meaning at the core of the experience, somewhere under the emotional turmoil is guidance geared toward teaching us not to be such a disservice to ourselves.

What have you learned?
Okay, things haven’t worked out quite the way you wanted, or expected, or planned. It is highly likely that there are some consequences that need to be cleaned up or endured regarding the experience. Even though it can be a tough mission, do what you can to look at the whole picture – from the situation or goal, the path taken, and the actions, reactions and interactions involved. Pay attention to the details, and think about any times you previously found yourself in the same or similar situation. Patterns are great indicators of lessons to be learned. Whether its cause and effect, or incentive to grow and change, the knowledge of hard learned lessons can be applied to many areas of your life, and by doing so, you may be able to save yourself from a great deal of repeat fiascos and pain.

When life gives us a parental spanking, we tend to think that it was a hard learned or hard earned lesson. Often, we will swear that we won’t make the same mistake again. Sometimes we uphold that oath, but other times… well, live and learn, right? We’re only human, so we are going to make mistakes. Some of us, repeatedly. But when the lesson sticks, and the message is clear, we can pull on the knowledge of our hard learned lessons, and move forward in life with wisdom, instead of fear.

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