Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Student Becomes the Teacher.

This will be a conceptual, perhaps nebulous post. Like I learned in my leadership program, I won't be able to state all the details of what happened, but I'll be able to say what I've learned, which is the most important. I can't control the events that occur, only my attitude and reactions. Too often, we spend too much time trying to control the things we cannot. I know this very well.

Everyone has a personal map of everything they have experienced. In the context of that, there are certain words that automatically trigger experiences to a reader or listener which aren't necessarily true to my story. Of course I could take time to offer my personal map to enable understanding for my reader. I believe that would take away from my message, so on to my process instead. :)

It really was a process, and I'm so proud that I have such a sound, stable mind. This was something that was an effort to acquire. I have a newfound respect for monks that spend years meditating, honing in on certain values endlessly, and deleting unnecessary details of life that take away from the profundity of their beliefs. I aspire to have that zen. For now, I'm miles away from where I stood. I know I will get there, and every challenge like the one I faced Sunday night will get me there.

I have learned that everyone is human. Let me repeat this: everyone wants to be loved; everyone wants to be seen for who they are; everyone wants to be understood and respected; everyone has needs and urges; everyone is at a different place in their life and their personal map has a topography that you simply do not know unless they sit down and go through all of their experiences and thought process -- while being completely honest. The concept of this fundamental humanity that runs within all of us has been the hardest idea to wrap my head around. I have created idols in my head. My father. Certain musicians. Such well-accomplished individuals that have hand-crafted an image that I admired.

Up until now, these idols were inspiring to the point of infallibility. They could do no wrong. When these idols fell, it broke my world. It was such a wrong way to look at the world. I allowed these people to be gods which either validated or invalidated my faith. What faith? Ultimately, it affected the faith in myself and my self-confidence. The question I asked was, "If these people I deemed as infallible can't manage to practice their truth, how on earth will I manage?"

Part of this sentiment was the belief that I wasn't in the stars where these idols resided. I placed myself on Earth, putting myself on the sacrificial altar as if I were to place my bets on who would falter first. I bet against myself. Not anymore. I know my worth, I know my strength, I know that my limits are only a battle between myself, not versus the world. I am independent from everyone's judgments and history.

I now understand that the lessons people impart on you still hold true no matter what they do. That is because there is a difference between knowing and applying what you know OR knowing and consciously failing to adhere to your values. People stumble. People fall. I believe completely that people are redeemers. They can always fall, but I have expectancy that they may one day change for the better. It may make someone a hypocrite for not practicing what they preach, but if their words have shaped you to be a better person, then the impact is good. That's what one needs to focus on. It's not a matter of their actions affecting and reframing every conversation that was once had. That's self-defeating and painful. What happened happened and for me, it fuels me to become the individual that practices what I preach, apart from those who haven't.

I can set the precedent.

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