Our natural tendency is to learn new things and adapt to unique circumstances as human beings. It is what helps us evolve and grow as human beings. Just as we constantly keep learning things, we must also note the importance of unlearning things. Letting go of old customs and habits while adapting to new ones is essential for your growth.
As they say, change is the only constant. We must reflect upon ourselves and try to improve upon our flaws. For example, let’s take a look at the current pandemic. We learned to make use of virtual platforms to communicate with each other. To stay relevant in any industry, you have to learn new skills toremain relevant. As rightly said by Henry Ford, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
Different people have different approaches to learning new things. Similarly, I think we all should take our own time and figure out what’s best for us and how we should go about it when learning something new.
Unlearning means letting go of old habits and mentalities. This happens as we mature. Usually, when we stop learning, we feel like there is some stagnation. But let us look at it differently. We can think of it as reflecting upon our actions and thoughts and bettering ourselves.
This is especially important for letting go of certain toxic behaviors that society has normalized. This process takes time and is necessary to bring about a change in people’s mindsets. In unlearning, we break down our thoughts and ask ourselves specific questions:
Why have I done this so far?
Does this align with my moral principles?
Is this what I truly aspire to be as a human being?
Is what I am doing helpful to the people around me? How does it affect them?
Asking oneself these questions will help one truly reflect upon their actions and realize which of them had a bad influence on others. For example, unlearning may mean getting rid of bad habits. For example, you are not eating healthy, not working out, smoking, and etc.
Unlearning should be seen as a way to pause and introspect. Unlearning may also mean leaving people who are a toxic influence on your life, who bring you and others down. After all, you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. The whole process of unlearning is slow and comes gradually.
Relearning means embracing the changes that come your way and accepting them. It means learning a new method or getting a fresh perspective, which one can only achieve outside their comfort zone.
For example, it may mean adapting to the virtual scenario as the pandemic struck us in our situation. A part of relearning is to get creative and find out new and better approaches to things you may or may not have done before. Relearning may also mean changing society’s beliefs and progressing towards more unbiased opinions.
For example, it could mean their way of looking at the LGBTQ community, their approach to helping eradicate racism, or maybe even changing the education system. Today’s youth are rebellious and will no longer tolerate any form of injustice. We are more proactive and want to take better control of the situation than before. Relearning may also mean catching up on your old hobbies, which you were too lazy to continue at one point in time. Maybe, it might be the right time for you to pick up that dusty old guitar lying in your room for a long time. Or, it could also mean learning to interact physically with people after bearing a pandemic for what seems to be the most extended period of our lives.
We want to portray that learning, unlearning, and relearning go hand in hand. These are all very important for our growth and shape us to be better individuals. One cannot do without the absence of even one of these factors. There is a quote by Deepak Chopra that says, “The past is history, the future is a mystery, and this moment is a gift. That is why this moment is called the present”. Similarly, we must learn to embrace our present and inculcate within ourselves the habits of learning, unlearning, and relearning in our day-to-day lives. This will lead to our holistic development and enable us to live life to its fullest.