“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung
What can we learn by looking at our life, and our experiences, over time?
How can this be helpful for the future?
I think it’s very important in life to take the time to look back from where you came from to where you are now.
The person you are now is a result of everything that has happened to you in the past:
- Who you were with,
- Where you have been,
- What you have done,
- The outside events that have influenced your life.
We all learn from the ups and downs of life.
One way I do this on a regular basis is to re-read previous journal entries.
I refer back the same day of earlier years to understand what was happening on the inside and the outside and appreciate my growth.
What stands out for me is my 12 year mental journey struggling to come to terms with my overly anxious mind.
Each day seemed like a battle. I knew I needed help but something inside of me resisted seeking professional support.
Then one day potential relief appeared from a surprising source.
Randomly I regained contact with an old client. He had previously been suffering with similar anxiety symptoms as myself. But now things had changed for the better.
On discussing his journey to a calmer mind he told me how his doctor had referred him to an 8 week Mindfulness stress reduction program.
From learning to meditate he had effectively gained control over his problematic anxiety issues.
I decided to attend the same course that had worked for him. Within weeks I became aware of positive results. Meditation was starting to work for me.
By the end of the program I had a yearning to learn more. Then I had a crazy idea.
I packed my bags and took myself to Thailand. I found a Buddhist temple where I could devote time to going deeper.
It was my “Eat, prey, love” moment.
From that experience I ventured back many more times to Thailand. Then I decided to spread my meditation wings and took myself to various other Buddhist temples in other parts of the world such as India, Sri Lanka, japan and Vietnam.
What did these experiences teach me about life?
Firstly, you do not have to move to Thailand, or any other temple, to find a calmer mind. It helps but is not an essential ingredient.
When I look back at my journal entries it taught me so much about myself and what needed to change.
If I’m honest I was running away from facing reality.
The real learning taught me to be a more caring person. It instilled a desire to want to help others who may be less fortunate than me.
I knew becoming a monk was not an option (orange is not my colour); therefore I explored other avenues with the same goal in mind.
I deepened my understanding of meditation and became a mature-aged student undertaking a degree in Counselling and Coaching.
That established me on the path I am on today.
Are there themes in the choices you make?
Can we see the difference between choices that you make and changes that happen that are out of your control?
We all experience ups and downs in life.
Whatever our experience, we are learning as we go. Learning is not something that stops when we leave childhood behind. Learning is lifelong journey.
It can be very difficult to look back over our life or our experiences; for some people, this may bring to mind some issues or memories that they would rather not confront.
Nonetheless it’s worth taking the time to sit down and try to understand how you got to this place where you are today.