Lessons: Are you a student or a teacher?

Whenever someone walks out of my life, I always look for the lesson. There are both warm memories and painful ones. Eventually, the bad stuff fades and I hold on dearly to the good. But the teaching most often lies within the difficult times.

I’ve always believed that people come into our lives for a reason. They bring us something we need. Often, what we need is to be challenged in some way – to be pushed in a new direction or to have a mirror held up in front of our faces so that we see ourselves differently.

What if we also wondered why we were brought into their lives? Could it be that their lesson was the polar opposite of ours? Suppose you needed to learn how to depend on someone else and you met a generous and willing individual who offered you that opportunity. Might it be that he benefits from trusting someone (you) to rely on him without taking advantage or using him? Or, the lesson for him might be something completely separate. We never really know what we’re giving to someone else. I think this is true of chance acquaintances as well as true relationships. We seldom realize our impact, whether on someone we meet briefly or long term.

Why do we only seek the lesson after someone leaves? I’m going to be a better student and start to wonder earlier. Not to say that everyone I encounter will be given constant scrutiny and analyzing. That would certainly put a damper on the ability to enjoy the person’s presence in my life! But I think a general awareness might be worthwhile and will actually enhance the experience. 

Recently, I came to know someone like that. We became friends and spent time together. Then we argued and went our separate ways. Around Thanksgiving, our paths intersected again and we renewed the friendship. Once again, it didn’t last. Each time it ended, I felt badly and experienced loss. We are once again trying to fit into each other’s lives. I asked the question, “are we crazy for doing this?” We laughed about it. But, I wonder…. What is the lesson? Why does the universe keeping placing this individual in my path? What am I missing? Perhaps, there is something I am supposed to give – possibly, I am the teacher. Moving forward, I will keep my heart and mind open.

Are you the pupil or the mentor? My guess is that we are both. In all things, there is give and take, yin and yang. The balance isn’t going to be perfect. More likely, it’s fluid. 

I hold on to people and find it extremely difficult to let go. Relationships can change, roles can evolve, if you’re both flexible. There are times, of course, when people leave. Keeping a piece of them with us can be achieved by internalizing what they taught us. If you can’t save the friendship, save the message. Leave everyone a little better for having known you. The universe sends us what we need. In return, offer your own energy and be what someone else needs. It’s subtle, but powerful. Look for the lesson. Save the message. Embrace the opportunity. In knowing someone else, you come to a better understanding of yourself.

5 thoughts on “Lessons: Are you a student or a teacher?

  1. Your message reminds me of hugs. When you open your arms, you can be offering your support, or receiving someone’s support, or often, doing both at the same time. What’s important is opening your arms. Sending hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always so inspiring to read your blogs Barbara. This is a very important one and I believe that we have a dual nature, teacher and student depending upon the people with whom we interact.

    Liked by 1 person

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