Life is Not Linear

This theme has been present in almost all of my sessions recently.  We seem to expect life to go in a linear line and that somehow this is the measure of success.  

As a parent, I have found myself wanting my children to live their lives in a linear pattern too. I wanted them to go from point A to point B without any hitches.  If I could, I would bubble wrap them from any pain or hurt. Even as toddlers, I wanted to shield them from falling when they were learning to walk.  I had to figure out that falling was a part of learning to stand up right.  

The same can be said even now.  When their hearts hurt over lost loves or lost games or failed tests, I want to somehow shield their pain.   With age, I am learning that it’s okay to fall. It’s okay to fail.  That’s how we learn.  My life was far from linear, so I wanted to give my kids a straighter line than I had.  I am finding it’s okay to want that but it’s also okay for them to have not so straight a line in life.   Now, I can appreciate that the curves and dips and sways in my life made me who I am and made me stronger for it.  

No one’s life is linear. When we expect our children to have those expectations of themselves, they feel like failures when colleges need to be switched, majors reconsidered, or teams are not made.   This creates an anxiety and depression in people.  

If you are not in all AP classes, starting on sports teams for three seasons, dating the popular kid and attending all the cool parties, somehow, you are falling short and not worthy.   Even if you accomplish all those things and then life throws a curve ball at you, suddenly you don’t know how to cope as a mid 20’s adult.

You see, the curves and dips in life, teach us to cope and that life will go on.  These are necessary life skills for all.   Through all of this, I am not saying have low expectations. But I am saying to accept that failures and hurts are a part of life, and that we learn by readjusting when something happens.  We teach our children by asking them to adapt, to make needed changes and to move forward rather than dwelling on failures or having expectations of perfection, and that life in not linear. Every dip and curve counts.  They are learning to stand upright.

Photo by Craig Adderley on

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