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INSIDE OUT: How the Journey of Unlearning Creates the Space for Greater Hope, Self-love and Growth

The most profound and meaningful learning I have ever experienced is unlearning. Unlearning thoughts, attitudes, biases, behaviors, feelings, and beliefs I held, things I knew to be “true” which either never really were or no longer are. Most often these “truths” were others’ beliefs, others’ perspectives, through their lens of experiences or choices. It was what they knew. In that regard, we need to accept that others are being, doing, and sharing the best they can from where they are. Their lens in their lens. Yet, we do have the power to question our or others’ views and in doing so choose our own values, beliefs, and truths as the foundation for our being.

Curiosity, and the healthy questioning of our own beliefs and those influenced by others, is paramount to clarifying, connecting with, and becoming our truth. It is choosing to say no to what no longer applies or works for us. It is being vulnerable and open to being and seeing differently. It invites and allows us to be free to be our authentic self unapologetically.

What has my journey of unlearning taught me?

  1. I choose my thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, values, feelings, and beliefs. I choose my actions. Changing what I believe is not only possible but healthy and necessary as I learn anew. What a gift the freedom of choice is, to be free to choose what we value most, what we believe, and who we are, or are striving to become.
  2. The power of purging. Purging is a cleansing, a letting go that creates space for what matters most now as we release that which we no longer wish to accompany us on our life’s journey. Purging feelings from the past that no longer serve me (and maybe never did). Purging thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs that no longer align with my values and the person I am or am becoming. Letting go of any judgment of self and others and choosing acceptance instead.

Healing and hope through intentional, reflective, nonjudgmental curiosity. Unlearning is an inside-out process that, like life itself, is a never-ending journey of discovery and renewal. Unlearning ignites my curiosity, inspires hope, and invokes my agency to choose different and better in the present and for the future.

The most impactful outcome of choosing to embrace unlearning and what the process revealed and created for me, was greater self-love. Not a greater ego, rather a greater acceptance of who I am, belief in who I am becoming, and conviction in what I have to contribute to uplifting others and creating a joyful life for myself and with others.

Unlearning is a deep, comprehensive, and thought-provoking topic. I will be writing and sharing more about unlearning in the weeks ahead. It is so important to our ongoing relationship with self, and then of course, our relationships with others. For those of you who may want to delve deeper into this topic, I share more on unlearning, my chapter title, as a contributing author to Becoming You: Stories of Courage and Vulnerability curated by Caroline Cares.

What say you?

I would love to hear your thoughts based on your experience or curiosity around unlearning. What has unlearning meant for you and your life’s journey? What has changed for you as you courageously and curiously stepped into your journey with unlearning?

Please share your comments below as we extend and expand our discussion on the power of unlearning to helping us grow and thrive individually and together.

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Brian Kelly
Brian Kellyhttps://briankellyleadershipcoaching.com/
Brian Kelly is a visionary connector, community-builder and human development specialist who helps people and teams unleash their human greatness so they can create better together. Brian believes in each person’s unique human greatness and the power of harnessing this to amplify impact for teams, communities, and organizations. Brian is an ICF Accredited Coach whose three-decade career spans business, technology, finance, and human development. He is co-author of the book Becoming You to be released later this year. Brian’s encouraging energy and relational and strategic approach invite the inclusive business leaders and teams he works with to expand their perspective to strengthen their belief and their ability to create better together. Brian works with clients to understand the conditions that create greater contributions, fulfillment, and success and then works with them, using proven frameworks, to help them create those conditions through the lens of their strengths. The results are greater self-awareness, confidence, connection, teamwork, creativity and innovation producing better human and business results. Brian is the host of the We Can Do Better Conversations series, which invite inclusive conversations on topics relevant to bringing greater humanity to our workplaces, communities, families, and relationships. Brian serves on the Executive Board for Overcoming Odds where he helped the Executive Director with board development, strategic business planning and expanding the reach and impact of the nonprofit’s mission. Brian has also served on the Washington DC metro area chapter Board for several culturally-based National nonprofits focused on professional and leadership development.

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CONVERSATIONS

  1. Very interesting topic.
    Ideas also age, and often need to be updated with the times and circumstances. Everything changes and even knowledge becomes fluid, aging quickly and transforming itself into something that seems to contrast with what was valid only a short time ago.
    Unlearning means learning to put them aside to make room for something more useful. In other words, it means being willing to dialogue with new acquaintances and make them your own (if they convince you, naturally and without prejudice). you need to know how to renew your knowledge and expand it to increasingly distant portions of reality.
    One consideration: it is not obvious to interpret information, put it together creatively and analyze it critically. More does not always mean better: you have to know how to choose what you need.
    Unlearning, and then learning, becomes tiring especially if you are not driven by a deep and spontaneous hunger for knowledge.

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