How we learn from doing stupid things.

I put “doing” for a reason. So many people take on titles that don’t really define them–at least not wholly. When we do stupid things we are not in fact, “stupid”, but we do have to own that yes, we did some thing that wasn’t so smart. We give others titles too. Not every person is all good, or all bad, or all neutral: we are messy and complex. This is something I’ve learned through my own failings, from working at a behavioral health hospital, and from being privileged (yes, I see it as an honor) to witness people’s vulnerability at some of the worst points/moments in their life.

Many of the people I see have addiction issues, have tried to hurt themselves or others, or are going through extreme periods of stress, anxiety, and depression–or a good combination of all of the above.

Time and again I’ve been asked, “You must really laugh at all this when you get home, and think we are all just REALLY crazy….”

My response? Nope. Not even a bit. See, I know that for me I am VERY imperfect. I have my moments of stupidity and not being my “true self” and I can only relate to that pain and suffering (albeit in different ways, shades, and time periods of my life).

When we do something “stupid” (such as harm ourselves, others, etc) it’s usually life’s way of saying “HEY! Some thing is wrong, and you have been just pushing all that STUFF (i.e. guilt, shame, and disconnection to ourselves) under the rug for years and years” … (and yes, we all do this to one extent or the other, but it’s in the extremes that we lose ourselves).  Now as much as that completely SUCKS to realize, there’s ways to look at it that we can grow from and begin to nurture our authentic, healthy selves or…..?  we can continue to distract and numb ourselves until we become just high functioning enough to make it through the next day, week, month, maybe even a few years and then?….. *Ding dong*, at some point all that stuff will be at our door step when we least expect it.

So, here’s the cool thing about doing stupid things: it’s a great opportunity to get deep, dirty, and vulnerable and start making steps towards figuring out what you’re running from (even if it is yourself) and really learn to embrace the shame and guilt as indicators that we have lost our touch with who we are–our authenticity. To me, authenticity is one of the most important things we can have.

On a personal note, it is a struggle I still work to face daily. I have explained away some of my own past “numbing” behaviors and have recently begun to realize I haven’t completely rid myself of all of that STUFF. But, again, it’s a great opportunity for growth. I’m excited to finally embrace some of my uglier parts and welcome them to tell me what it is I’m pushing down about myself– what I need, who I am, and how I can grow to be a more authentic, loving person as a result– and empathize with the “stuff” of others.

As always, this journey is painful, wonderful, and kicks my butt–but, if it takes doing some thing stupid to wake us up to ourselves–so be it. Here’s to hoping your stupidity becomes a doorway to growth, and not a label to your life.

Much love,

Jenny

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