A friend taught me a very important lesson today, but I suspect it was not the lesson he was trying to teach me.
This is the nature of learning things in life – we cannot be told what we need to learn, we need to experience it. How often do we hear parents lamenting that their children won’t listen to them and avoid the mistakes they made when they were young? We simply need to learn through our own mistakes, whether young or old.
My friend’s warnings were unpalatable to me. I am a trusting person and like to give people the benefit of the doubt. The notion that others may be trying to “play” me meant that I would need to stop being the friendly, open and caring person I naturally am. I would need to put up walls that I don’t believe I should need to maintain. That the world was a much more primal place than I would like to imagine.
What did I learn today? That a man can be right? No, I knew that already, as frustrating as that can be (hee hee). Did I learn that the world is a harsh place? No, I still have faith in the angel that resides in us all. Did I learn that people are manipulative? No, I don’t believe that people act that way intentionally. Maybe I learned that the world is driven by primal urges? No, I believe that deep down most people are driven by the need for love and acceptance.
The most important question is: did I learn how I should modify my behaviour to protect myself? The answer is still a resounding NO. For I believe that the only way we can change our outward behaviour in a genuine and consistent manner is to change our deeper understanding of ourselves and start to act from a different place entirely.
My friend was protecting me. He didn’t want me to get hurt. But he knew that he couldn’t stop me doing what I was doing, as I can be a little stubborn and headstrong (I know, crazy, right?!). So, he armed me with insight, then allowed me the freedom to go out and experience the unfolding events.
Within an hour, what he had predicted would happen came to pass. All I could do was laugh.
So, if I learned none of the lessons he was hoping to teach me, what was the lesson I took away from this experience?
I learned that I possessed something worth trying for, that I had value that I was unaware of, and that in realising this, I discovered that I had total control over how I allowed people to act towards me. That I had rights I thought were denied of me. That I didn’t have to be a victim to this behaviour. That it didn’t matter what others did around me, I had a treasure that was mine to share if I chose to, or to bury if that was my decision. This treasure gives me power that I never knew I had.
This was not the lesson my friend sought to teach me today. This is the lesson he has tried to teach me for the last six months. How did he teach me? Through love, trust, and freedom.
Now, if only I didn’t have to tell him he had been right all along…
Couple picture by Vera Arsci from Pexels