Today I quit an online course I was taking because I didn’t like the teacher. I really want this to be a lesson to me: she is a perfectly lovely person. she’s quite smart and has lots of good things to say. I just really bristle at the cadence of her speech, i find her attempts to be inclusive wildly condescending, and i found she liked to bolster herself and her accomplishments to the detriment of the content.
None of these things are important. She is not “wrong” and I am not “right.” We just don’t click. And I am too experienced and have too many things to do to hang around with something that makes me bristle. I might make someone bristle someday, and they may not particularly like me or my style. AND THAT IS SO OK!! It’s entirely OK! It’s like trying to mandate everyone like chocolate ice cream. That is completely unnecessary and seems to neglect the whole idea that diversity is the bounty of this lifetime.
The funny part is, it was a course for building peace.
But part of building peace is knowing where you belong and where you don’t, or don’t want to. Part of building peace is respecting your personal boundaries and moving away from that which disturbs them. Part of building peace is not expecting or needing everyone to sing kumbaya.
I do want to remember this when someone doesn’t like my style and if I sit there with my feelings hurt or wanting to change to make that person feel better. This lovely, intelligent, heart-centered woman does not need to change – she has a whole cadre of supporters who adore her and whom she helps, inspires and serves. She should go right on doing exactly what she is doing, exactly how she is doing it. I simply isn’t for me.
The good news is, I have dozens of teachers whose style I really enjoy. In order for me to make more time for those teachers I had to cut out the teacher I didn’t enjoy (even though I really cared for the topic and content!). This is like trimming rose bushes (ok, maybe not, because I have never trimmed a rose bush – but what I imagine pruning a rose bush to be) —- there are some very healthy things you have to cut back for the overall health of the plant. We must be discerning. It behooves us to focus on what we love and what we can do to nurture that love.
I’ve struggled with this lady for a few months, and this week it came to a head twice. And i might even be being a little shitty about it. But that rose bush probably felt the clippers were a little bit shitty. sometimes that’s what it takes. I had a brilliant friend tell me to enjoy the shittiness – beyond the judgment, there is an energy that is particularly alive. How great advice is that? Not: try to see the higher way you might express it next time blah blah blah. Embrace it! Enjoy it!
My friend is a GREAT teacher. I’d probably stay in her class…