Our theme for February is about unlearning… I saw a quote from Alvin Toffler, an American writer, who said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
From when we are small we are learning new things… exposed to new situations, influenced by our environment, the opinions of our parents, what we read, what we are taught at school, what we absorb through the media. We develop our own attitudes and beliefs based on all of this and carry them through life.
These are the values that guide us through life and often remain steadfast and while this can be a positive thing, without the space to unlearn and relearn we stay stuck in the same place.
Unlearning is the process through which we break down the origins of our thoughts, attitudes, behaviours, feelings and biases. Unlearning can pave the way for relearning over a period of time. It’s important because the circumstances in which we learned something the first time might be different from where they are now… All we have to do is unlearn what we learned then and try to re-learn it now in our new environment.
2020 was a year where we had time to reflect and look at the world though a different lens…
But unlearning isn’t necessarily easy. It means discarding what you have already learned and this is the tough part. Even if what you have learned isn’t serving you anymore, the fact that a certain amount of time and energy has already been invested into it makes it hard to let go and discover a new path.
It can feel scary and challenge the things you thought you knew or had learned previously, but this is where change happens. It allows us to reject old biases and stereotypes that may have affected our conscious or unconscious attitudes towards people, places and the systems in which we operate in.
The emphasis from birth is to always add to our knowledge, to build upon what we learn when we are small until we know it like the back of our hand and we no longer have to even think about it. Then we learn something new, and so on… and so forth.
But we don’t ever think of the fact that some of those things we learned need to be unlearned… before we can add anything to it. So that we build on stronger foundations and what we’ve learnt is still relevant over time.
A few questions to help you start the unlearning process.
My personal unlearning today was:
- Things always have to done the most efficient way….
- I miss out on the journey, always only concerned with the destination
- There are many paths to end up in exactly the same place and my path isn’t everyone else’s choice.
If you want to join in, you can find the template on my instagram @romalovesyoga and answer the questions for yourself. If you want to share then please tag me so I can see them too!