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Monday, August 25, 2014

A Short Post About What I Learned at the University

I began at the University of Nebraska at Omaha when I was just barely 18 and finished My BGS after I turned 30. This post is about two of the most valuable things that I learned in the course “Language and Thought.”  That was the only course I took the spring of 1999 and the final class to complete my degree. That is not to say that I did not learn much along the way in my other studies. They are the scaffolding for my lifelong learning. However, these lessons were so helpful in understanding human behavior and so beneficial to me.  I had many courses dealing with human behavior and development in psychology courses, educational course, and communication courses.  In the midst of these courses, I even took Interpersonal Communication.  In these courses sprung out over many years between 18 months and a semester here and there with no classes as well as several part-time courses, I did relish many insights. Some remembered most forgotten. It is more than the placing these lessons in my very last class that makes them most fresh in my mind. I have thought of them often and will share them now without further ado.

1.  We should not confuse a inference with a fact.  In life, we often confuse the two and consider something a fact that we did not see or witness first hand. Although an inference may be an educated assumption, it may or may not resemble the truth. Why is this so important to me? This reminds me that we often do not know the intensions behind behavior. It is sort of like a blank check that I can apply to many situations if I did not do anything overtly wrong and someone ignores or uses a tone that I do not like. “It’s not me, it’s them!”  They may be tired. It may be hunger. Yes, people are so often preoccupied. They could be thinking about the big test or the mountain of bills to pay. And maybe they are mad at me because they misunderstood something I did. Then again, they could be unfair in being angry when they have no just cause. Yet, I will tend to assume that it is not me in many instances unless there are real signs that I need to address any issues.

It is also the “presumed innocent” card for the other party. I need to be careful not to accuse a person of having ill motives when examining their actions or lack of action. This can be applied to so many situations in life. As much as we think we know why a person did something, we are not mind readers. Being charitable and giving people the benefit of the doubt goes along way.

2.  When we think of an action that someone did in the past, it is good to put a time and a date on the action. While I do believe that a sense of self is not in a constant flux for most people, people do change. That is not to say that we do not need to take precautions and that we should always give someone another chance.  It can ease the pain to keep an event isolated to that time as much as possible. It is more than the time heals wounds that I have found to be true. People changing and growing is a beautiful thing and why should we be bound to the mistakes a person’s former self did. Even if a person has not changed, it is best not to let their past action cloud us from enjoying the present whether or not they are still in our life. Referring back to lesson #1 when I have made overt mistakes, I like to think that I have changed and will not repeat certain mistakes. I hope that nobody has any ill feelings about the mistakes that I made that I do regret. There is a learning curve whether it is larger or smaller for all of us. Someone I met online said he is not easily offended because he knows we are all learning in life. I do believe the adage that being bitter does not make us better.  When you put a time and date on the past, you can move on and live life more fully.

This is not my University education in a nut shell.  It is not just two things I have not forgotten.

-population-we™ blog post by Barb Bohan
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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