saata VOL: 3, ISSUE: 3 - November 2019 facebook

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A Recap of Learning, un-Learning and re-Learning - Nalina Viswanathan home
Nalina Viswanathan I am Nalina Viswanathan, with 18 years of corporate experience in Marketing Management, Counselling Psychologist and Therapist is the second inning of my career,  Presently I am in the second year of TA training. I am an amateur eco-conservationist, a believer in small act of kindness, passionate about the environment & surround my living space with greenery , I enjoy reading, writing, music and pets especially dogs.

I am sharing a reflective moment, on what I learnt, what to let go and what to carry forward, trusting the process, using Transactional Analysis model as a guide to tap my resources and capacity.

All this started when my school friends decided to meet for a get-together. Though we were connected through social media, everyone felt that meeting in-person would be more fun and eventful. As we started planning, our group messages became prompt and instantaneous, two friends took the responsibility for arranging a meeting place, food, accommodation, and transportation for outstation members. The group was active with rapid and quick replies. Even the silent ones who never acknowledge any group discussion, became interactive for planning this event. The exchange of messages, the hustle of planning how to reach the place, what to wear for the occasion was exhilarating for me. I constantly peeked into my inbox amid my work for latest information about who is attending and who is not. All of us were excited to meet after 4 decades, and were waiting for the D-day.

The day finally came. When I reached the venue 38 members had arrived, a good number. After our initial pleasantries, the conversation started with the school memories, our teachers and gradually drifted to each one’s family, job, business, children, in-laws and their social statuses etc.  As the sharing went on, one said she was on voluntary retirement, few were having their own successful business, some owned luxurious bungalows, penthouses, farm houses, few were elevated to the status of mothers-in-law and grandmothers and few were in the process of transitioning into the role.

Upon hearing all these statements, I thought, “Oh! Where am I? “Once this thought crept in, I became quiet, listening and debating within me,"Am I behind in life?"
Somewhere this has created an incompetency in me for not owning a house, or a successful business of my own, yet still striving, perhaps a late bloomer? Consciously I questioned myself “Am I responding to the moment or responding to my internal story?” While checking with friends and family, feeling behind in life is sometimes inevitable, that was my belief. Again, where did this belief come from?

Meeting school friends after all these years, is absolutely a happy event, and a great motivation to be joyful of being the child again, it is revisiting the happy moments of life. Sometimes these moments can create the motivation to address something important. While motivation is great, instead of that “extra motivation” I need less shame for being human, especially when I have perceived that, I am not good enough as my friends are. Consciously I asked myself, where did I learn this from? Isn’t this a learned behaviour? I am not born with it. When projected onto other people (comparisons with friends), how can I own my reaction? The timeline- was the message that popped up immediately in my head. Where did the idea of timeline come from, and is it valid?  How can I let go of the idea?

I gave myself the permission to be human in the process of discovery. Once I questioned the self- doubt on shame – I made time to feel it, made space to explore it, gave room to get curious about it, from confinement I approached the freedom to choose how to respond.
Well, not owning a house isn’t shameful, taking time to reach the career ladder is not shameful, being supportive to children with their decision to marry late is not shameful.
The belief on timeline, was learned from the community I belong, from my family and parental figures, who fixed it as - start the career at 24, marriage at 25, childbirth at 26-30, own a house between 32-35, and at 48- 50 …elevation of role to mother-in-law or grandmother, with retirement at 55, enabling travel on pilgrimages, or for attaining spiritual / religious goals. All these were measured and fixed as milestones to achieve during the course of life.

Somewhere behind the line it’s a series of target or deadlines to meet… feeling behind is a result of this belief. I decided to accept and believe that “I am different, and what I want in life is to allow myself time to grow” - if it is not my time …then it is not the time.

I was beginning to understand that, “Timelines are made, I can create my own. Being mindful of my own feelings, being kind to myself, working on my inner narrative by doing the best I can for this moment is what I need.” After the shift in the outcomes, I relaxed, felt empowered to utilize my strength, satisfied with the transformation. I felt light in my heart. Eventually, my next thought was ‘is this is a life long self -improvement detour from learned to un-learn and re-learn?’

I conversed within me positively “Self-improvement is an ongoing process, as long as you want, I appreciate how far you have come, how much you have done and how amazing you are, with all the experiential awareness.” I truly believe in transformation, I can be different and still feel good.

With gratitude I recollected and acknowledged my experiences, what would I have missed out on the things that are gone, according to the timeline, After all, it is human nature to question the choices, sometimes to remind that every experience supports/sets in the process of evolving. 

Hence the process on unlearning and relearning emerged, to explore, to choose, to be fully present, to grow my capacity and learn from it, to embrace my imperfections, be resourceful with care, with Transactional Analysis as the guiding star for my personal journey.

Note to Self:
Choosing to show up in my life and allowing to be seen and heard is one of the bravest things, it is a gift I offer for my own self. This transformed my own life to sit in a therapist chair, to hold a welcoming space for others, to be heard, seen, with their feelings to be understood, which is an honour, I dedicate to this profession.

Head or Tail
Solutions & Winners of Previous Issue
arr Raleigh 2019
- Chitra Ravi
arr A Recap of Learning, un-Learning and re-Learning
- Nalina Viswanathan
arr Significance of Self-Strokes
- Jayanthi R Prasad
arr Ethics Workshop - Participants' Experience


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