Today is day five of a five day, 30 hour course I am taking to gain a new certification. This will help propel me one step closer to my goal. The course has been broken down into five parts, all of which have been helpful and educational.
Most of all, I learned that I should always keep learning. I learned that I should always keep growing, that I should always seek and not be satisfied or complacent with old models of thinking, and more importantly, I should always remain teachable and learn how to learn.
My class was interesting to say the least. It was helpful for
more reasons than one. First and foremost, one of the lessons stressed is to
understand personal biases and stigmas.
We discussed crisis. We discussed cultures and culture competence. We went over the differences in people, in their backgrounds, their beliefs, their upbringings, ethnicity, fashion, religion, sexual preference, and educational background.
We went over racism. We watched Jane Elliot’s blue eye/brown eye experiment, which describes and helps to understand racism and the ignorance of racism.
There are those among us that claim, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” which may or may not be true; however, in this class we learned about cultural and social programming.
We learned about what we were taught and how our differences were taught to us.
We started this class in a room where most of us were strangers to each other. We never knew about each other’s thoughts or dreams or where we came from.
We had no idea about each other’s cultures or freedoms.
All we had were our preconceived notions of each other. We were defined by race, by our looks, by the way we spoke, and by the way we interacted.
It was not until the class gained momentum that we, as s students, began to learn more about ourselves. And me, I learned more about my abilities as a life coach and sober coach.
I saw where I want to make improvements. I learned that change is not always good but it is also necessary. I also learned that I have reason to be proud of my efforts and that if I am to achieve my goals, I need to continue working on and not only refining but also redefining my skills.
There are stages that we all go through in life. There are stages of change. There are stages of recovery. There is a process to our growth in which we evolve—and sometimes, we regress.
Sometimes, we forget where we came from. We forget what it took to get where we are, —so we regress or find ourselves back to an old stage, which is okay.
This often leads to doubt and to questioning ourselves.
Is this me? Is this what I want to do?
This is more common than people believe. I know so because I have had conversations with others about their system of growth. The truth is we all have bad days. We all go through struggles. We all understand doubt; however, the idea is to continue to move forward. This is what helps us create a new “Normal.”
I was uncomfortable in the beginning of my journey. But thankfully, I am not at the beginning anymore.
I can see where I allowed my personal biases and insecurities impose. I can see where my subconscious programming created a divide instead of bridging the gap between me and my next short term goal.
I can also see where this led me to unnecessary judgments and miscalculations of my time and my efforts.
We discuss self-care today. We go over motivational interviewing. More and more, I understand this is a process. Much my like my life is a process, I learn in stages. I enter at the pre-contemplation stage which follows through to the contemplation stage.
I find myself in preparation to change; then I create action, and then come the maintenance. I learned about this cycle when I began my efforts to educate myself as a coach.
This cycle is still the same but the circle I am in is growing larger now. I am opening myself up to a new learning curve in which, gratefully, the instructor reminded us yesterday. “This is a marathon, not a race.”
To this I say, indeed it is.
Since I began this journey in the mental health field, I have had both success and failures. I have fallen flat on my face. I have seen where my ego interrupted my progress and where my humility saved me from destruction.
Above all, we learn. We live and we grow. This is the lesson I took away most. I look back and realized the difference between me now and me then, —and by then, I mean in the beginning and in my earlier experiences. I can see where I allowed personal hope and emotion to intervene with practicality.
We do this as people. We want and we hope. We have passion and emotion; therefore, we choose our beliefs based on the biases that support our hopes and dreams because we want them to come true.
And that’s okay. . . but is this realistic and/or practical?
This is why experience is important. This is what teaches us. This is why we need to learn how to learn Theories and books and role play rehearsals are important. But life teaches life and these lessons are the most valuable.
I learned a lot this week.
I am one step closer to being the person I want to be. And for now, I am being exactly as I am supposed to be, which is perfectly changing, perfectly going through the stages of learning, thinking freely, challenging my own assumptions, understanding my biases and insecurities, rewiring my programming to keep subconscious thinking to lead me back to old or default settings, and most of all; I am growing and learning how to learn.
I couldn’t ask for anything better.
Not everyone gets along in this world. Not everyone sees eye to eye or shares the same views or opinions. We all have our own things going on. This is where culture competence comes in because this does not mean I adhere to our differences.
No, this just means I understand them and that systematically, I can move forward and be unmoved by our differences so that I can achieve my goals and build my dream.
I had a friend that used to tell me, “It’s just a box of rain,” whenever things were tough. This was his way of saying don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t let life intimidate you from living. It’s just a box of rain, which means soon enough, the sun will come through. Just learn. Just live. And whatever you do, just don’t give up.