It is unreal that is already more than halfway through February. January had its trials and tribulations in the form of colds, relationship challenges, and intense workloads. And there have also been regenerative moments where I am reminded that I am safe, I am loved and I am right where I need to be.
The first day of February was also the first day of the Lunar New Year which always feels like another “chance” to start the year anew. Really though, any and every day is a good day to reset and start something new. While we are 46 days into the new year, this doesn’t mean we can’t embrace the potential of all that is today! Needing to start something on the new year is learned behavior but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.
For the next few months, I will be examining the theme of Unlearning in Season 2 of my podcast, All The Things.
If you are reading this, chances are you are on a path of unlearning in some way shape or form.
I wanted to share 3 foundations to the idea of unlearning:
- When we are babies, we are learning. There is no unlearning because we are a blank slate, soaking up everything. When we are adults, we sometimes learn new information but much of the time, we are unlearning and relearning what we took in as children. We certainly learn and unlearn straight facts – those are easier to unlearn. The juice unlearning is in all the ways we see the world based who we are and our learned worth, abilities, potential, values, and boundaries.
- Our family system or lack thereof plays a huge part in who we are. As babies and young children, we learn patterns in order to feel safe, accepted and secure in our family system, home, community, etc. This comes out in many ways. Maybe we stop asking questions because our grandmother told us to stop trying to be smarter than everyone else. Or we try our hardest to be “a good girl” and not get in trouble because the family was already stressed with other troubles already. As an adult, I have found practicing those deeply engrained patterns like not getting in trouble or not wanting to explain myself (my unlearnings du jour) now hold me back from being the person I want to be. It is incredible work to break out of those patterns.
- How we see ourselves in the world is also very much shaped by the environment we grow up in – culturally, socially and systemically. Which impacts all of our experiences – in our homes, at school, at our friend’s houses, in the hospital, at the store, etc. Depending on our identities related to race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, physical and mental abilities and so much more, we learn who we are and essentially our worth in the world. If we were the “different” kid in class, our teacher may have given us more or less undesirable attention. If we grow up in world where heterosexual relationships are the only kind that exist, we may not have the framework to identify that we are queer. If we grow up in a society that doesn’t value our skin color, we could feel less like we cannot be successful.
The wonderful thing about unlearning is that it can take many forms and can happen at any age – if you are in your 60s, 70s or 80s, it is not too late! And it doesn’t happen solely through books, courses, articles, podcasts, etc. All we need to start doing is observe and be open to seeing things differently. What we learned as kids is so hardcoded into our system that we have to de-code it before we can dismantle it.
Unlearning is deep business. It touches on all of the parts of who we are, our traumas, and our inherent understanding of the world we see. While it is often hard, uncomfortable and scary to unlearn, the other side is reclaiming who we are and that is the most beautiful thing.
What are your thoughts on “unlearning”? What are you unlearning now?
I’d love to hear.
A daily practice challenges the person who creates on “inspiration.” We have to mother everyday, and ultimately, it is the daily grind that gives us perspective, clarity and the “high’s” of motherhood. I am exploring if the same happens when I write everyday on the topics that normally light me up – motherhood, self-development, healing and creating. Sign up here to receive those thought nuggets in your inbox on the daily.