“You don’t like me anymore?” This is what my 3-year old niece said to her mother when she told her to sit down. “Where did that come from?,” I asked my sister. “Daycare,” she replied. “She didn’t get that from us.” This won’t be the first time that my sister has to get my niece to “unlearn” something that she picked up at daycare. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that it will be the last. The good news is that my sister and her husband are there to correct these things as they happen so they won’t become problems years down the road.
Picking up things that will later have to be unlearned isn’t only the case with impressionable 3-year olds. It happens to all of us. Stuff happens in our environment all throughout life that affects our minds both consciously and subconsciously. The things that we pick up and learn along the way affect our choices, how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about others, how we feel about our lives, our relationships and a whole host of other things. We are learning all of our lives, and what we learn is always playing a role in how we behave. The difference is that when we are adults, we don’t have our parents there to help focus on what behaviors and concepts we need to learn, and which need to be unlearned (and sometimes, people learn things they shouldn’t from their parents). We now have to be responsible for correcting ourselves so that we can eliminate any problems that have occurred in our lives due to some of the things that we have “learned” along the way.
As you go throughout your day, take some time to reflect on your thoughts, your beliefs, and your behavior. Evaluate what learned concepts are the driving force behind them. Then have a real honest heart to heart with yourself about which of those thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors can stay, and which you need to actively work to unlearn.