By Branden Henline, PhD, LMFT
As someone that regularly works with people to help them with challenges in their lives and relationships, I am often left with the question: What can we learn from this situation? We all go through really difficult times and also have wonderful experiences, but do we really stop and consider what we can learn from life and use to make things better from now on?
Take your typical argument between husband and wife for example. It may be about the kids, finances, chores, sex, in-laws, or even what they are planning to do that night. Most couples have a common pattern or process to their conflicts. One way or another, the conflict usually ends, at least for a while. But, how many think back, after the fact, to figure out what worked or what did not work to overcome or resolve the problem? Unfortunately, not many.
Some situations are incredibly complex and some patterns are so ingrained that it is hard to even see or understand what is happening. In such cases, people often find themselves meeting with a professional therapist to help them figure it out and find ways to change. But, even with professional help, if we do not stop and learn from life struggles and achievements, it will be hard to live better as we move on.
In my professional work and my personal life, I like to ask: What can we learn from this? Over the years, I have gleaned many profound (at least to me) life lessons from asking that question. In this and future blog posts, I will share some of these life lessons and, when possible, describe research that we can use to learn from what others have discovered about life and relationships. Each “lesson” has a short (hopefully memorable) phrase to keep the lesson succinct and poignant. I hope these lessons are as valuable to you as they are to me.
The first lesson is very brief and follows the theme of this post: Learn Your Lesson. To apply this in your life, think back to the previous few weeks or even a few months and look for patterns. Is there something that is really working for you? Is there something you are constantly struggling with? What can you learn from this pattern? What is your life lesson to learn from it? Try to clarify something specific you can learn from your recent life experiences and think of a short phrase to remember it. Then, use that principle in your life to make life better.
If this is useful to you, consider subscribing to see future posts. I will be sharing new “life lessons'' each week. You can also consider setting up an appointment to meet with a professional in person by clicking here.
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