“We teach what me most need to learn.” This phrase has been turning over in my mind recently and seems to be calling me to write about it. Yet another beautiful gift from one of my long-standing clients. It consistently demonstrates wisdom as I see this concept play out over and over with my clients, friends, family members, and teachers/coaches. Do you ever wonder why I love to work with divorce recovery clients and help couples build intimate relationships? Its because rebuilding my life after my divorce and enhancing my emotional availability and vulnerability in future relationships are very important to me. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and often learn the hard way. The lessons I have learned along the way motivate me to teach you how to develop these aspects in your own life. I cannot tell you how many times I have been speaking to a client and suddenly realize, I need to heed my own advice! I hear it more clearly when I am speaking to another person. When we teach, we learn more deeply. Remember that from school? When you would teach a friend the material, you actually absorbed the information at a deeper level.
What you are motivated to teach (or convince your friends of) provides clues to your life lessons and purpose. What are you consistently speaking about with your friends? Maybe you teach classes, train co-workers, or offer seminars. What topics are you consistently drawn to? What books lay on your bedside table? For years I was drawn to subject matter about wellness, meditation, yoga, holistic healing, finding balance, quieting the mind, transformational healing, self-care, fitness, self-acceptance, etc. These were the exact topics that my own life was calling me to examine. I spent a long time learning and growing in these areas and now I do a lot of teaching on these subjects. Certainly not because I have mastered them, but because they are my greatest challenges. In my own search for truth, I have gained a lot of knowledge, and I am fully aware of how tough it can be to put into practice. Therefore, as teacher and therapist, I believe that it is my life-purpose to help you live a balanced, empowered, and conscious life. And perhaps even more central to that purpose is to develop a balanced, empowered, and conscious life for myself. In your own personal application of this concept, look at what you are attracted to learning about. Just remember that if you find yourself preaching about all that you have learned without applying it to your own life, you will not benefit from the internal lesson the information was originally there to provide.
We are all hear to teach each other. I have talked about that before, that all relationships are here to teach us and they serve as a mirror to what we are here to learn. So look at who shows up for you in relationships. If you keep attracting people who leave you stranded, this may be a clue for you to look at how you abandon yourself. Now if you are able to easily tell all of your friends, clients, class participants, etc. all about how they need to make stronger commitments to themselves and stop choosing these unavailable partners, don’t forget to inventory your own relationship with yourself. What you are telling everybody else is most likely exactly what you need to hear.
Teachers can often be put on a pedestal and look like they have it all together. I hope this blog helps you to see the humanness in your teacher, counselor, coach, guru, motivational speaker, pastor, parent, or spiritual teacher. All that you hear them dispelling to you is what they go home at night and attempt to apply to their own lives. I remember someone telling me once how they no longer wanted to listen to Tony Robbins because he was such a positive role-model, and preached all of this knowledge about self and relationships, yet he had gotten divorced. I often have a similar concern or question posed to me, “How could a marriage and family therapist get divorced?” Well, nothing addresses these questions better than “we teach what we most need to learn.” This is a great phrase to humbly apply to your own life and also to see those whom you look up to in a new light. At our core, we are all students of Life. And our truly greatest teachers are those who are willing to practice what they preach. May you teach and learn to the best of your ability in each moment of your life.