Saturday, November 24, 2012

What Is Wisdom?

Sometimes, I don't like the lessons that life tries to teach me.

I wrote this status today on FB:

"Even the worst people in your life can put things into perspective for you - show you where you are lacking,  what you need, and what you need to do."

It is woefully inadequate, though, to really express what I feel.
It's one of those things that life insists on teaching you, even when you fight it with every ounce of your being.

The last few years have been rough for me.  Really rough.  They've been rife with loss, confrontations with the past, hurt and confusion.  They were simultaneously some of the best and worst of my entire life.  Confusion pretty much sums it up.

In the past few years I have learned a lot - at a high cost.

I've learned that the past never stays there.
I've learned that hate can easily cross the line into love, and vice versa.
I've learned that people you trust wholeheartedly will betray you.
I've also learned that I've trusted many that I shouldn't have - and they betrayed me.  I should have listened to my gut.
I've learned that all decisions have consequences.
I've learned that love is often one-sided.
I've learned that things I've believed for many years weren't as I thought at all.
I've learned that I have been shaped by those whom I've deeply loved more than anything else - even those who took that love for granted.

There is something to learn from everyone you've ever loved, trusted, or even hated.
Sometimes that lesson is simply that you were naive, and too trusting.  I have certainly learned that the hard way.  I've trusted people too easily, and given them too much of myself too soon.

Everyone wants to be wise, but nobody really wants to put in the work to get there.  I can see why.  It sucks.  When I was little, I never understood... never understood the difference between wisdom and knowledge, and thought that anything there was to know could be learned at will.

It can't.

There are things that only life, and other people can teach you.
Things that only failed love, betrayal, abandonment, death, and other life experiences can teach you.

I was so naive about life for so long.

I thought that love and marriage would make me whole.
I thought that kids would fulfill my purpose.
I thought that friends could always be counted on.
I thought that my parents and my childhood were just like anyone else's.
I thought I could look to others to find what was missing in my life/heart.

I also used to think that being honest, forthright, open, and true to myself would be well-received and appreciated by all.  It isn't.  It really, really isn't.

Part of the wisdom we fight so hard to gain is the ability to sort through what we need to change because OUR ways are not working and what we are doing right, but others are too blind (or emotionally stunted) to see/receive/understand.

Man, this is tough.  The last few years have made me question everything I ever thought or knew to be true.  It's very sobering to realize that you've been living in sort of a vacuum, holding onto a set of 'rules' that seem to be working until life tosses you on your ear.

Wisdom is certainly hard-won.

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