I find meaning and gain wisdom
from the difficult experiences of my life
I have heard a catchy song on the radio lately by Avicii called Wake me Up. The chorus is what sticks out to me the most, "wake me up when it's all over, when I'm wiser and I'm older. All this time I was finding myself and I didn't know I was lost."
How nice would that be? More than once during an uncomfortable experience in my life I have wished I could just check out emotionally. My instinct has been to dodge pain and impatiently wait for it to pass. I think, "just let me go to sleep and when I wake up hopefully this will all be behind me."
When I was in middle school I remember learning about osmosis. I would joke that I was going to sleep with my books under my pillow so I could just learn by osmosis as I slept. It is no more likely that I can avoid the difficult experiences of my life and expect to be wiser just because time has passed, than it is to expect myself to understand calculus if I put my head down on the textbook and fall asleep.
Whatever wisdom I have is earned. The lessons that can come from difficult experiences are often hard to see in the moment, but if I am unwilling to let myself fully experience what is happening I am likely to miss them completely. Wisdom comes from the hard work of facing my challenges and learning from them. Pain and discomfort can teach me, but if I try to avoid them the lesson is lost. Today I will be fully present in all of my experiences so that I may glean meaning and wisdom from them.