“Transformation is often more about unlearning than learning.” -Richard Rohr
Wow. It feels so good to be back in this space, letting these thoughts out on these keys! I apologise for being AWOL for a while. I had quite a number of commitments and just had to slow down my mind before it fell off an edge. But today, I woke up super excited and thankful just for life, you know. And even though I am a little bit exhausted and have lost my voice thanks to the weather, I feel thankful. As the year draws to an end, one cannot help but look back on how it began and the journey thus far. There is really so much to be thankful for, there always is; the very presence of life in you at this point is enough to be super thankful.
I figure that so much is talked about the learning process and how life presents opportunities daily to learn new things in its different facts. In fact, looking back, I see that I have alway been passionate about learning new things; even in university when a friend might ask me why I liked going to class. My response was always “It’s not that I like going to class per say, I just like learning new things.” I figured pretty early that I did not know a whole lot of things and was determined to learn as much as I could in life, especially on topics not within my field. Whenever I learn something random and new, I feel this sudden rush of excitement that might not be understood by some other person but I go around feeling happy for most of the day.
So here I am, coasting through life feeling great, learning new things, picking up these habits, learning lessons of life as we know it. I am also picking up other random useful information and it feels good. But in recent times, I started to give the unlearning process a good thought. This became necessary when I realized that somethings and habits need to be consciously unlearned in order for me to relearn new things, or maybe that they just have to be unlearned and dispensed with. In time, I quickly found that while learning is easy and exciting, unlearning is…well, not. I have however been encouraged and motivated to diligently chase this path of unlearning to enable me grow in certain areas of my life.
The unlearning process simply entails consciously discarding or throwing away something learned, especially a bad habit or false or outdated information from one’s memory. I am finding that in order to make way for a new understanding of things, of people, of relationships, of situations, you have to let go of something you thought you understood or something you thought you knew. And we all know how difficult letting go of anything is. (Sidebar, is it not the funniest thing how difficult letting go of something is even when we know that thing might not be the best for us?)
“The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learm, unlearn and relearn” – Alvin Toffler
So you have a strong belief about something that you have always known to be true. You have known it to be true all your life that believing something different will upset the way your life is set up. So you reject any contrary argument although same may have truths. You cannot imagine your life without this belief and it unnerves you to even think that there might be a world outside of all you’ve ever thought. You will find that with things like this, you tend to dismiss new information or understanding easily and maintain a closed lid when it comes to learning new things. You may also have subconsciously picked up several bad habits which you have to be conscious and aware of and seek to unlearn.
I am currently learning to unlearn some aspects of my life as I have known it be it my failed attempts at multitasking on a daily basis, my opinions about relationships and some bad habits I know I need to shed. It is an uncomfortable shift but I am also learning that it is okay to question habits, beliefs, values and principles from time to time to sort of give your mind a refresher on why you do what you do or believe what you believe.
Do not be afraid to unlearn and relearn new things or just unlearn certain things. It is a process that requires time and conscious effort. It may be scary at first, but just remember that whenever you are transforming or in a transformative state, it gets super uncomfortable because it is not what we are used to.
Sometimes we find that we just want to crawl back into our old habits and die in them just to avoid the uncomfortable feeling, but allow yourself to change, allow the change and unlearning and relearning process to course through you. Welcome change, welcome a better way of doing things, welcome good habits, welcome an end to bad habits and beliefs without any foundation. Remember that we do not just get wise by adding and adding; we also need to subtract.
It will be worth it in the end.