The tragedy of our human condition is that on the one hand, we are prone to forget the valuable lessons that we have learned from the stumbles and hurts that had afflicted us in our pasts. But on the other hand, when we have learned the lessons from our mistakes too well that we become obsessed with fear of making the same mistakes again that these fears may be transformed into rigid personality compulsive disorders.
The great danger undermining the art of living is that the victim constantly makes bold assumptions (that may be obsolete and irrelevant)
based on lessons learned long ago. When facing new challenges in life, the victim may be fighting his/her battles with past scars and negative perceptual lenses which tend to distort his/her visions and decision-making process. On the other hand, if one is not burdened by unnecessary emotional baggage, one is free to see the problems as they are and not see things as they want to see. Hence to nurture a wholesome self-esteem, it is essential to see our past mistakes, our lessons, our risks in tackling life challenges and our self-worth and confidence in the right perspectives.
One wise American law professor once commented that it was important to have a good `forgettory’ in the art of living. In other words, he thought it was an advantage to have forgotten what we have already learned so that we will be forced to relearn and ponder about the problems from a completely fresh perspective.
Therefore it is important that we learn how to strike a balance between forgetting our lessons and becoming obsessed with the fears of our past mistakes. This is what creativity is about- learn your valuable lessons and keep them in the background so that when we recognize the relevance of the lessons, we stop and turn back. At the same time, mistakes should not be transformed into obsessive fears that may crippling the adventures of living a creative life. Too much fears injected into life will inevitably have a crippling impact on the creative spirit and damage our self-esteem.
Kahlil Gibran puts it beautifully when he says, `Which one of us listens to the hymn of the brook when the tempest speaks.’
The former UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold, reminded us of this wise insight for the art of living, “Is life so wretched? Isn’t it rather your hands which are too small, your vision which is muddled? You are the one who must grow up.”
Submitted by David YKK