We all understand what it means to learn. The almost always positive process is described as “gaining or acquiring knowledge of or skill in something by study, experience or being taught”.
Now, the word unlearn is defined as “discarding something learned, especially a bad habit or false information from ones memory”. Essentially, it’s coming to terms with the things that didn’t help you grow and reprogramming yourself.
The real question is – at the same rate that we grow and evolve and pick up new things, are we letting go of others? Are you letting things go as much as you’re learning them?
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
Often times we learn a lot of behaviours, mechanisms and traits from our friends, family and even society, and these are then reflected in our relationships. If we’re honest, a lot of what we learn isn’t always the best and can have negative impacts on our present relationships, and even our future ones.
I ramble a lot about knowing if you’re toxic, healing, and ultimately relationships – but I feel like it all is kind of irrelevant if you aren’t ready or capable to unlearn the things that don’t add to you. Unlearning is vital and it allows you to be able to move ahead, ensuring you have healthier friendships/relationships.
It’s all fun and games talking about what sounds good, but what are the actual steps to unlearning? Well that’s where my tips come in!
- Be Willing to Unlearn
Unless you’re willing and committed to unlearning, I won’t lie it’ll be pretty hard. When we’re so used to certain behaviours, we might not even recognise that we need to change it. Acknowledging the need to change and being committed to seeing the change through will make the difference between talking about unlearning and actually unlearning.
- Change Your Location
The easiest way to change your behaviour is to stop being around where you learnt the behaviour in the first place. You never really notice how toxic something is until you’re not around it anymore. New surroundings help you notice new things and engaging in these new surroundings allow for your bad habits to be unlearnt a little easier.
Obviously, if this is something you learnt at home and you’re still home, it will be a little harder – but you should be patient with yourself and understand that this process is one that occurs overtime, not overnight.
- Start Small
Often, when we are making changes we feel as though we need to go big or go home. However looking at the unlearning process as the large task it is can be very overwhelming.
Break down the process into small steps, detailing what things you can do to help you in the unlearning process. Unlearning will happen at a gradual pace and that’s okay, slow progress is always better than no progress. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
- Be Proud of Yourself
The process of unlearning is not an easy one, so when you make progress, be proud of it and reward yourself. Rewards are healthy ways of reinforcing new positive behaviour and with all the work you’ll be doing, you deserve it. When you find yourself resisting a behaviour that helps towards your progression of unlearning, spoil yourself – you deserve it.
The process of unlearning isn’t easy, but the effort and result is worth it. When you rid yourself of the habits and behaviours that no longer work for you, a lot of growth and good change will come.
You got this. You tough right?
“Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.”