Recently I saw something about lessons learned, and I thought I might tackle it from my screwball perspective. I thought what the heck, I might as well. I am a fan of idioms or sayings and expressions, why not take a stab. There I go again ha-ha.
Learning from Our Mistakes
Lessons learned reminds me of an old saying that goes something like this; if we don’t learn from our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them again. Well, in this age where everyone is believed to be a winner, maybe mistakes are not such a big deal? No, some mistakes can be a big deal but of course it depends on the context, severity and the resulting over time-consequences. I am reminded of the law of unintended consequences or another saying that suggests that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I am not so convinced that good intention does pave the way to bad consequences, at least in such a stark way as the saying implies. Bad intentions will rarely produce any good outcomes but one could also apply the rule of unintended consequences I suppose.
This is not a lecture on how we are doomed to terrible things because of our choices in life. For me, that kind of thinking only divides us and creates an environment where some of us feel more entitled and judge that others deserve less, or we identify as victims, which can stifle and frustrate future recovery and wellness. This is not my ideal world view. We see the result of that kind of thinking in hep C, causing stigma as a result. How easy it has been to deny care to people who are sick because they made bad choices, even when choices have nothing to do with them being sick. Even if they are connected should that disqualify them? No not in my opinion.
Lessons on Stigma & Discrimination
We can all learn a lesson about stigma or discrimination and the damage it has caused to people who are at risk for serious illness and death. Do we deserve to be treated in this way so that we are punished or taught some lesson; I don’t think so. What exactly is the lesson in that approach or response to hep c?
As my close friends know about me, I am prone to look inside as much as outside my self, and surely I find as many flaws with myself as I do with others. The lesson for me in that is to be less critical. Less critical of others and myself, but that does not give me permission to be sloppy, lazy or inconsiderate of others or to myself. These things are separate. If I choose to be sloppy or lazy that is a choice I make just like choosing to do any number of things that carry consequences. Action is inclined to have a reaction whether positive or not, but when there are punishing consequences is where it all falls apart for me. I think we need to move away from punishment as a lesson.
The biggest lesson I learned in my journey with hep C was to live now and not wait or postpone living my life and to not to be so quick to judge others. No matter how well we learn, how many mistakes we make or have made, as long as we own them without punishing ourselves whether others do, and don’t live with regret or bitterness, we are likely to live well. Whether we are the best learner is unimportant, it is not a competition or popularity contest after all. No race to run. Live long and well is my wish for all.