There are a lot of things that may come up for us when we’re learning. When we are put in situations that are new, we may approach them with excitement and eagerness, or we may approach them by shying away or retreating back. Neither one of these are “better”, they’re just the realities of coming out of our comfort zones. Taking inventory of and reflecting on what feelings come up for us can both inform us (What does this feeling say about my interest in pursuing this?) and help us assess (Knowing I feel this way, how can I move forward?).
Common positive feelings that come up with learning are:
- Enthusiasm -you’re eager and hungry to learn
- Excitement -you’re anticipating a positive experience
- Hopefulness -you’re optimistic about the opportunity
- Confidence -you’re thinking you can take on this new venture
Common uncomfortable feelings that come up with learning are:
- Intimidation -you’re afraid of the time, commitment, and/or change
- Inadequacy -you’re feeling dumb and like you can’t handle what it takes
- Worry -you’re unsure of what leaving your comfort zone looks like
- Guilt -you’re afraid of how learning could change things
- Insecurity -you’re feeling like it’s too much for you
What can we learn from these feelings? Whether we feel only positive, only uncomfortable, or a mixture of both, there’s a lot that these feelings can tell us. Sometimes they tell us about our relationships with others (Am I feeling guilty because of my people pleasing tendencies?). Sometimes they can highlight negative perceptions we have of ourselves (I’m not smart enough for this).
Where do we go from here? Well, we’re feeling our feelings for a reason, right? Right. But, sometimes we allow our feelings to dictate our decisions and that isn’t always the best course of action. Let’s use intimidation as an example. If we allow intimidation to rule our minds then we’ll probably never try anything new. If we’re feeling intimidated by advanced yoga positions when we’re a beginner, that makes a lot of sense, but that doesn’t mean never try yoga. Sometimes we’re intimidated by the bigger picture and when we zoom in, it’s a lot more doable. When we focus too much on the ideal outcome then sometimes we’re too intimidated to give ourselves a chance at the smaller steps within our reach.
When we choose to learn something we’re committing to a process, not a result. However, it’s often the idea of the result that holds us back (It’s going to take so long to get there). We want to be experts when we’ve just begun. Learning is far from the endgame and it’s important to slow it down and recognize where we are in our own process.
Think about the feelings that come up for you when you learn something new. Jot them down and ask yourself, What is this feeling trying to tell me? When have I felt this before and shut down the pursuit and when have I persevered?
Catherine at Revive