I wish wisdom was something we were born with. I wish that it was already hidden somewhere deep inside our minds, waiting to be readily retrieved when we needed it. I suppose the simplest answer to why wisdom is not innate is simply: “this is the human experience.” That each of us has our own path to take, lessons to learn, and that we acquire a responsibility to share our knowledge with those around us. It often feels frustrating that in the exact moment you need it, it isn’t so easily obtained. In hindsight, these are the moments where wisdom is learned. Where self-reflection and self-awareness show us what we need to learn in order to live a more purpose-driven life. These moments teach us things needed to understand who we are and why we react to situations the way we do. These lessons better equip us for the next time these experiences fall into our paths. Then they will feel more like a bump in the road rather than a tremendous mountain to climb.
There are clichés about wisdom coming with age. I disagree. Experience comes with age, not wisdom. It is an individual’s choice on what is learned from those experiences. Not everyone is receptive to what life is trying to teach them. There is an art to allowing yourself to be broken for awhile and allowing the process of healing and growth take place. If you cannot be broken, nothing can get in. I have met twenty-something year-olds who had more perspective on situations than some 60 year-olds. I have also met some 60 year-olds who had been so open in life, that wisdom just seeps from their very soul.
Wisdom is the endless pursuit of the understanding of one’s self and how we respond to situations. And if we allow it, our experiences will shape our reactions over time. It is the ability to recognize when we are at fault and are able to right our wrong. It comes from being open to others perceptions of ourselves, but having the discernment to sort through what is true and beneficial vs. what has ill-intentions towards you. It is understanding that you can have a reputation built over the years that is suddenly torn down by someone’s words…. but having enough grace to realize that your integrity is worth more than striking back. It is learned through every mistake, misstep, and failure. You will know better for the next time. Wisdom is the application of the knowledge we have learned through experience. Which leads me to this thought: the pursuit of perfectionism is dangerous because wisdom can only be received by those who are unashamedly imperfect.
“Wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” Socrates
My understanding of this statement is to be self-aware enough to know that not all the answers you need exist inside you. The answers will come from the moments you think are the darkest. Look back on those nights. The ones where you cried yourself to sleep, or the ones where you didn’t sleep at all. Maybe the waves of uncertainty and anger kept flowing through your chest, and weeping didn’t allow you to rest. I think human nature is to fight the circumstances we consider to be unjust. But maybe instead of fighting, maybe we allow it to hurt for awhile, and allow ourselves to be broken enough to be filled with whatever it is our souls need to heal.
So here I am, standing at the bottom of another mountain, and it seems pretty dark. I can see the sunlight on the other side, but I am stuck in the shadows it is casting on the ground around me. But this isn’t the first one I have climbed, nor will it be the last. I have sifted through many fields of trial and error and have harvested enough grains wisdom to give me the confidence to know that I will eventually make it to the other side. When I get there, I will have gain another seed of insight to add to my pocket.
It is easy for me to write on this side of the keyboard with clever analogies and metaphors. It is much harder to feel stuck and defeated in whatever corner you feel backed into. But I promise, as we are falling apart, we will get put back together stronger, braver, and wiser than we were before.
Featured dress is from Fashion to Figure. It has a very old-world feel with a modern twist. It made me feel like a gothic Disney princess! Now…..if only wisdom could be found from singing to friendly forest animals!