Happy Sunday All! It is such a lovely day today, I hope you are all basking in the sunshine and Spring time views! Today’s prompt is one I considered not writing about, as my answer may seem vague, and I considered how much my words may be misinterpreted or misunderstood…then I remembered that is a regular occurrence when we read others’ writings, and so I said “why not?”!

What experiences in life helped you grow the most?

Most people will tell you that you never grow unless the experience is bad, has repercussions, or you learned a lesson. While the latter is most true, the former is not the exception, nor always true. Yes, our experiences may seem to be more impactful with a negative connotation, because human nature focuses more on the negatives, but can you remember a positive experience that held just as much, if not way more weight, in helping you grow? I can, and I will share that with you, eventually. Let’s start with the negatives, looking at them in an overview sort of way.

When we are children, we often learn from things that scare us, especially when reinforced by parents or authority figures. This holds true throughout our lives, again this can be reinforced by those around or influential to us, but the way we hold on to how fear impacts us can seriously alter our experiences and our lives. Let me give you some examples.

Growing up for me, my parents would have differing reactions to my actions. Sometimes I would be met with harsh criticism, other times they would ask me if I thought my solution/answer was a good idea, and some times they would tell me that eventually I would learn. While I eventually saw merit or purpose in all three methods, it dawned on me that harsh criticism was typically done when they were stressed, when they were worried about or for me, or when I seriously was not getting the lesson. This is when they would typically sigh and say I would learn eventually. I always knew that at that point, I really had to pay attention, this was on me to learn from. Thanks mom and dad, this was my favorite part of your parenting of me, and I also use it for my kids-telling them they will eventually figure it out.

I learned so much from those experiences, and I honestly think the most sunk in with those instances…because I was truly aware and paying attention then. Do you know why? It was because my parents were not having a negative feeling about it, they felt a bit helpless, and I could feel that it was up to me to help myself and to change things if I wanted a different experience, with them, and with whatever the situation was. Ironically, that is what I have been doing with my life, seemingly forever, but definitely recently. I want a different experience, and so I am making decisions to have that. I have had several people think there is something wrong with me, commenting as such and asking me if I am okay, but that is so far from the truth. So much in my life is right because I am making different choices, and this is providing room for me to grow and enjoy my life more. I am choosing differently than most people would, and while that looks like self isolation, it is me eliminating negatives or distractions so that I am more choosy with the good things in my life. Talk about misinterpreted or misunderstanding, but that also comes from the others’ levels of perception. They might get it eventually.

I have had all kinds of experiences that have helped me to grow, some amazing experiences where another person’s kindness has made my heart bloom like a field of wildflowers. I swear in these experiences, you feel your heart expand threefold, almost to the point of bursting with joy and love. This is when we find ourselves growing in love, compassion, joy, empathy, kindness, happiness, etc.. We often forget these over the painful or the less than stellar times, maybe we should hold on to these experiences more and let them guide our hearts and minds more frequently.

So which experiences helped me grow the most? All of them. The good, the bad, the indifferent, the negative, the positive, the stumping, the hateful ones, the joyful ones, the ones that held no clarity. I have learned from them all, grown from them all, I am having the human experience after all! I will tell you the ones that I did not grow from, that would be the ones I kept repeating…until I eventually paid attention, let go of something and learned.

Tell me, what experiences do you grow the most from? I am still not on FB, so feel free to drop me a message, or chat amongst yourselves. In the meantime, embrace being misinterpreted, misunderstood and have a laugh about it. You know you and that is all that matters, not what others think they know. Chao!