Lessons From Gratitude: Part 2

I am both an audio and a visual learner.  I can apply myself and become a veritable information sponge. This served me well during my school years by helping me to graduate with honors in every school I’ve attended.

Hellloooooo, Type A!

It’s not just a natural ability; I actually really enjoy the learning process. But some life lessons have been hard to learn.

Enter experiential learning. * * * Angel Choir Sings * * *

The famed Chinese philosopher Confucius has weighed in on experiential learning (according to Google and Pinterest) with the following quotes:

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is the noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” 

I have to agree with Confucius here. Turns out, exercises , activities and DO-ing really wakes up my mind.

While I might not fully understand everything yet,  the experiential learning that took place in me during Gratitude Training Part 1 has moved me a big step forward towards understanding.

In case you missed it, I experienced “Gratitude Training Part 1” in St. Petersburg, Florida from November 30, 2017 through December 3, 2017 and, boy, was it an experience. For convenience sake I will call it a seminar in the self-help vein, but it’s more than that.

I brain dumped my thoughts into my journal at the end of the weekend so that I could  process it all and remember the lessons I learned. I’d like to share those lessons with you.

So, here they are. These are my Lessons from Gratitude: Part 2 (of 3). You can read Part 1 here.


I had a powerful experience regarding attraction and what kind of energy I put out into the world.  It became clear to me how much of a disparity there is between how I see myself and how others see me.

I got  the feedback that I have a beautiful smile, a great energy, I’m confident, I have a good presence, I make things fun for other people… I thought, Who, me??! Seriously?

This was all very positive feedback and all things that I aspire to have and think that I don’t have.

But I DO have them! And I couldn’t see that I have them because of my self-limiting beliefs, my insecurity, and the story that I’ve been telling myself that “I’m unworthy” and “I’m not good enough.”

The story I play in my head blinded me to the truth. 

I see myself as being at the beginning of my journey, far from the qualities I aspire to have.

But other people see me as already having many of those qualities… and I wasn’t even aware of it!

I certainly don’t aspire to operate from a place of being ruled by what others think of me. But, in this case, learning what others thought of me was a powerful agent for growth.

This exercise really showed me how powerful my story is and how strong of a hold it has over my mind and my perception.

Even though I intellectually know that the story is false and a self-limiting belief, that was my self-concept for decades. And it’s been nearly impossible to shake off on an intellectual level.

But I now have the experience that is different from that concept, the experience that shows me it’s not true.

Experiential learning is so powerful, I will not easily forget this lesson and how I learned it.


I never thought of it this way before, but this learning experience forced me to think of life events as neutral, not as good or bad.

It’s actually the story I tell myself about those events that really paints the events as good or bad.

And it’s the reaction this story creates, followed by the pay-off I get by reacting that way, that really locks me into my story about an event.

During this lesson, the element of the pay-off stuck out me.

I have been aware of the story I tell myself and the reaction it causes for awhile, but the concept that I was getting a pay-off for that has been new to me in the last few months. This concept has popped up recently for me in Gabrielle Bernstein’s “Finally Full” class, the book “So Long Insecurity” by Beth Moore, and also the Untethered Soul class I took at Body Electric Yoga.

SIDE NOTE: This year has been full of me receiving the same or eeeily similar messages repeatedly, to make sure I don’t miss them. As a true example, I had already heard this message about getting a pay-off several times before, but it hadn’t clicked for me yet, or maybe I  just wasn’t ready to truly embrace it yet.

Through this portion of Gratitude Training, my eyes were finally opened to the pay-off I’m getting. I need to own that.

My pay-off is being in control and avoiding.

Being in control has value to me even when the outcome I’m controlling isn’t the outcome I want. The control itself has inherent value to me and that is a big issue I need to work on. I need to learn to let go of control. It’s not easy.

By holding on tight to this pay-off of control I’m also avoiding my potential, avoiding being the real me, avoiding my power and denying it by choosing to stay stuck in the story that “I’m not good enough.”

I need to admit that the pay-off of control has been more important to me than overcoming the core wound of unworthiness.

I need to acknowledge that weakness and take ownership of it.

I also need to really hold that pay-off of control up against the cost.

The cost of control is love, connection, freedom, vitality, passion, fulfillment of purpose, fulfilling my potential, and being truly alive.


Being mindfully aware and present is the antidote to defaulting to my old self-limiting story that leaves me grasping for control.

The easiest way for me to avoid being stuck in my story is to be present.

When I am mindfully present and in the moment, I have the opportunity to check myself, see things clearly, and make sure I am not seeing through the lens of my story.

Now that I’ve experienced how ugly and dark the view is through the lens of my story I am motivated to let it go.

I’d love to hear from you.

Have you ever learned a tough lesson by experience?

Do you have a story you tell yourself about life? Have you ever felt stuck in that story?

Erin L. Todd

Both a masterpiece and a Ginger In Progress simultaneously. Following Jesus not diets. Pursuing well-being not weight loss.

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook

Return To The Lord

Return To The Lord

I am prone to wander. I’ve found myself far off the path God has for my life many times.  Have you been there, too? When I finally realize I’m lost, I know it’s time to turn back and return to the Lord. Let us examine our ways and test them, and… View Post
Tear Down The High Places

Tear Down The High Places

After embarking on this “Body Love for Lent” journey (aka Giving Up Diet Culture For Lent), God has been showing me false idols again and again. In this season of Lenten repentance, I’m feeling called to confess the sin of a false idol in my own life and turn away… View Post
Close Me
Looking for Something?
Post Categories: