When I think about what skills are the most helpful in my own life, the first thing that comes to mind is my relationship to learning, especially what happens in the moment that I first become aware of something I didn’t know about myself, or didn’t know I didn’t know.
I remember when I first learned that feeling all feelings was positive and helpful in life and would bring me in connection with my deeper needs and aliveness. I was surprised! I thought some feelings, such as anger and fear, were a bad thing, and if I were feeling those feelings something was wrong. At that time, I didn’t understand the differentiation between feeling feelings and taking actions – for example, feeling angry and expressing myself to another person are two separate steps. When I first started learning about feeling feelings several years ago, my first response was sadness that I hadn’t known how to be with and feel my feelings before, along with some judgment of myself for not knowing how to be with and feel my feelings before.
The moment when a person first learns something they didn’t know before, is the moment I want to draw your attention to. In my experience, bringing awareness to this particular moment is very powerful and can create a big shift in people’s lives. I’m reminded of these stages of learning that I first heard Wes Taylor, a Nonviolent Communication Trainer whom I like and respect, share in a workshop. The four stages of learning are:
1. unconscious incompetence – you don’t know something that would be helpful to you to know; you don’t know you don’t know.
2. conscious incompetence – you have noticed that you don’t know something or have a skill that you’d like to learn or embody. You catch yourself in your old, habitual, way of doing things that is not helpful to you.
3. conscious competence – through awareness and practice, you start to do what you’d like to do, not do what you’d like not to do, and to embody your learning.
4. unconscious competence – you have integrated what you wanted to learn, and it is easy and natural for you.
The moment I am referring to is the beginning moment of step #2. In the moment when you first notice yourself in an old, unconscious or habitual way of doing something that you’d like to change, cultivate a sense of appreciation of yourself for noticing. Acknowledge to yourself that this is progress – this is a step toward mastery!
What currently happens for you when you first become aware of something you didn’t know you didn’t know?
I invite you to wonder how you can love and appreciate yourself for noticing, and make the shift to appreciation. If you’d like, try on this statement out loud to yourself, “hmmm I wonder how I can create friendlier learning for myself …. ?” “mmmm how can I enjoy myself more as my learning unfolds …. ?”
I invite you to share your experiences and learning with me. If you'd like to share publicly and/or see other people's posts, visit and join my 'Celebrate Life with Rhonda' group on facebook, or post here.
With love from my kitchen table and laptop,