We’ve all had those difficult people in our lives. Maybe you worked with them or married them. Maybe they raised you. Usually any difficult situations which comes involves one of those people.
Painful but we do learn from heartaches. Maybe we can learn to love the way they build us, strengthen us, wipe away unneeded weaknesses in us. If we can learn to see ourselves not as victims but as these masters in training learning from life events.
One “Teachable Moment”
One of the “teachable” moments in my own life was my 12-week internship to get my teaching certificate.
I was teaching 2nd/3rd grade with a mentor who made my skin crawl. She and I could not have been more like oil and water. I was young, inexperienced, anxiety-ridden teaching 2nd and 3rd graders for 12 weeks while this woman supervised me every moment of my uncomfortable day. She had a very powerful reputation in the local county schools. When I got sick on the last day of school with 103 fever, she lost it with me over the phone. “You have let down my students, you are irresponsible, etc.” It hurt.
As a result, after 12 weeks of hard work, she did not want to give me certification. The supervisor of the program intervened and told her that I had followed all the instructions, couldn’t control the health on the last day, and though 2nd/3rd grade did not suit me, I nevertheless fulfilled the requirements. I finally got my certification and then my Master’s degree.
What I Learned from My Debacle
There was a lot of pain but some powerful good things came of this horrible experience:
a. I moved and found a city that I loved with new, dear friends.
b. I did not pursue a career in teaching at that level and ended up teaching adults in higher education which was a much better fit for me.
c. She brought some deep negative feelings about myself to the surface so they could be seen and released. This helped me–
d. Get stronger and more confident eventually because I lived through this shame and pain.
e. I learned to follow my nudges more closely in the future which serves me still today.
Obstacles in our paths can help (after the dust settles):
- Push us in a better direction.
- Bring up negative emotions to be released. This is key but it’s not taught. The way it works is the emotion/pain gets so large and you watch it release in you. For me in the example above, the shame was so great of having “failed” with this teacher, it got so bad, I simply couldn’t live with it any longer. As long as I chose not to be a victim and hold on, I could let it go.
- Help us have compassion for more situations and more people in your life which leads to more patience, more peace. In other words,
- This pain helps lift the wall off your heart. So for me, an obstacle usually physically gripped my emotions in my heart or my gut. It sometimes felt like my heart was breaking or something was gut wrenching. This took me many years, but with each “whack” to my heart or gut, it exposed more of it. It was like taking braces off my legs (in this case my heart) so that eventually I could walk again. At first it was painful and clumsy, but then I could run. Again–as long as we don’t hold on to the resentment. I learned to love better, give more.
- Gives us something to write about later.
- Forces us to dig deeper. We have to find more discipline, more compassion, more determination, or more ingenuity.
- With each experience of falling down, we learn how to get up. We grow this muscle for more success later because we stop judging “falling down” as a failure. It’s simply becomes part of the process towards success and leads to more success.
- We now have more skills to help the next person along. Each obstacle has taught us something. By definition, a trial is a test of a performance. After the test, you know what works, what doesn’t. You are a better teacher, coach, finance guru, citizen of the world, relationship expert.
Upgrade Your Past Obstacles
What are your obstacles? Is it a belief system, a person, or a past experience? Can you now upgrade this obstacle to a “turning point” by focusing on what you learned from it?
Who is your an obstacle in your life? Are they powerful and close to you? What are they showing you?
Obstacles Become Turning Points
From my teaching debacle, I couldn’t blame my mentor. She was mean and awful, but she was put in my life to show me something. Thank goodness I didn’t try to have a career with 2nd/3rd graders. Thank goodness it was a big flop. I went on to act, to teach, to design my own courses. It was tempting to point the finger back at her, but it didn’t help me move on.
What wisdom is underneath the rubble of your debacles? Let me know below or send me an email. And if this post has helped you, share with someone you know or love–maybe even the obstacle!