The Courage to Learn

Life is all about relationships. From the moment we’re born, we’re somebody’s child or grandchild, niece or nephew, brother, sister or cousin. Life is also a great teacher. So in turn, we learn from life, and we learn from relationships. How well we grasp the lessons is not immediately known, but it makes a mark, that’s certain.


“I think we learn the most from imperfect relationships – things like forgiveness and compassion.” — Andrea Thompson

They say life is not about being perfect, but it feels perfect when we accept the imperfections. It’s true for most relationships too. I feel no relationship is imperfect, because the imperfections make it perfect when accepted.

When I was very young, I was in an accident. I was too young then to realize what happened, but when I grew up, I heard of it from my parents and came to know that there was somebody who was most affected by that – my grandfather. I haven’t told him in person, and he’s most likely to laugh it off even if I do, but I feel he’s very brave. He had the courage to survive that, and pampered me even more then. However, he is the most adamant person I know. There are times he tests me, and I fail. It’s his way or the highway, no matter if his way only leads to harm. But I still love him. From him, I’ve learned about courage, and I’ve learned to be patient, because there are times when I feel like yelling my throat sore with the way he acts. I’ve also learned how not to be angry, for his temper can rise very easily. I’ve also learned about love, the way he has loved my sister and me from when we were young. He never likes to break his routine, and he feels out of place when he’s forced to. I only wish the best for him.

My main pillar of support has been my mom. My father, like grandpa, used to have a very short temper. And looking back at childhood, I can see that I’ve done my absolute best to push his buttons. And well, when he became angry often, I naturally veered toward mom. From her too, I’ve learned patience; but in a good way. She hears me out when I talk to her. She knows when something is bothering me. She worries for me. She’s the best mom, really; though a lot of times over the years, that worry has led to her being very restrictive about things. She loves things to be done in a particular way, and when I don’t do it that way, she gets irked. These are the little imperfections really. None of these little things matter in front of her love. She also has this amazing memory for the importance of dates, something I’m happy to have inherited from her. It doesn’t matter for most people, but it does to her and from her, I learned that little things do matter. From my father, I’ve learned that we get angry at the people we love, and sometimes it is because we care a lot and want the best for them. That lesson is something that has come in handy these days. I’ve also learned to try and do things completely. He’s one who insists and tells us that if something has to be effective, it can’t be stopped the first time you see results. Granted, over emphasizing on that gets on my nerves at times, but it does have its value.

Friends are the family we choose. I’ve a few friends who know me inside out, and know when I’m low even before I realize it at times. I’m lucky on that front. They’ve pulled be back when I was at the edge with half a step over, and scolded me back to normal. They’ve believed in me when I hadn’t the heart to believe in myself. It’s with them that I can be jovial. I had life before, but they taught me to live. Many have pointed fingers at me for some silly reasons, pulled me down when their idea of what I had to do was not met, and some have even walked away from me without a word of explanation. I’ve learned to forgive when they came back and accepted they were wrong to point fingers, or accepted their hand of friendship when they knew I wasn’t in the wrong. I’ve even learned to let go and apologize when the friendship has meant that much to me. From some, I’ve learned honesty, for they are straightforward with me when I’ve taken them for granted. But most of all, I’ve learned acceptance. For each of them are different, and neither have I tried to change them to my idea of who they should be, nor have they pushed their idea of who I should be on me.

But there are times when imperfections haven’t been accepted. When that happens, I’ll be honest, it pricks. But even pain can be a teacher.

There have been friends who have walked away from me without letting me know why. I’ve let go, and apologized in case it was my fault, but they’ve still been silent. Silence can be very hurtful and not speak anything at all. From that silence, I’ve learned that explanations aren’t always given, and I’ve to just move on. If they want to, they will, at their convenience, not mine.

There have been people who have held my failures against me. I accept that my journey has been bumpy, but I’m not stuck at a bump, I’ve gone past them and found joy. To hear them say that the past is past, and then bring that past up when I’m vulnerable, or when I try to advice someone I care about, it pierces me like a thousand needles at once. I’ve learned that there are people who remember only the one place where we fell; even if there have been nine places where we’ve risen. Worrying about their opinion only takes away the joy we feel when someone praises us for not staying fallen.

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“You’ll never do anything in this world without courage.” – Aristotle

“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – but going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Napoleon

It is easy to go past disappointments. Some in particular test a lot harder than we think. I’m glad that there were few who taught me to move ahead when I could not. Had it not been for them, I might never have had the courage to live in words.


Written as part of B-A-R Wordy Wednesdays which celebrates a 100 posts, and gives some quotes on Courage and Compassion etc. as inspiration.

(© 20th January 2016)


Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

14 thoughts on “The Courage to Learn”

  1. It’s never easy to learn these lessons, Vinay. Take it from someone who has had really close friends turn around and say the sharpest of things to her face. It never really stops hurting either. But one thing I have learnt which has continued to keep me in good stead, is to ensure never to let these things get to me, to the point of complete unhappiness. Especially in 2016, I have resolved to let go of a lot of things- petty grudges, misunderstandings, lack of communication between friends. I lost a few friends in 2015 thanks to being either ‘unavailable’ for them or not communicating enough with them. But, at the end of the day, the one person you need to face is yourself.

    We need people, I agree. But we need ourselves a bit more.
    (Shailaja recently posted… Helping the forgetful child: Lessons for the parent)My Profile

    • I agree, never easy to learn the lessons, or to ignore the pain. It subsides, only to return when you least expect it. Even if it gets to me, I have the belief to rise above it. Here’s hoping your 2016 and mine is one to let go of things that shouldn’t matter a lot in the grander scheme of things, Shailaja. Thank you.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… In Bad Books?)My Profile

  2. Some really great lessons that no course or book can teach, only life teaches. And it is completely up to us to accept to learn or choose to ignore. Friendship is one area I haven’t been very lucky with. The pain is so much from my past friendships that I am very cautious to be friends with anyone at all. At times, it hurts to realise that I have no friends at all. But then, it also comforts to know no one can hurt me again. A very well written post, Vinay. I missed Wordy Wednesday again. Exam time for kids.
    (Rekha recently posted… #WordlessWednesday #3: Modern Day Shravan Kumar)My Profile

    • I wouldn’t say you don’t have any friends, Rex. Maybe the pain of losing friendship has been so strong that you don’t realize the friendships you have at times. Though you’d know better than me, I suppose. I agree, after I’ve lost friends, I’m a little more cautious to make friends too. Some lessons to accept, some to ignore. Glad you felt it was well written. Do write for Wordy Wednesday, it hasn’t ended yet! 😀
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… The Mountain I Scale)My Profile

  3. Hardships teach us valuable lessons and in a way that they are seldom forgotten. Just like in your family, my grandfather too was known for his short temper. Every moment felt like treading on a razor edge because we knew not when his rage would push us off the edge. But in hindsight, it was the proximity of that temper that burnt down my own rage.
    Life is an ongoing learning process but the happy times, the successes are so often taken for granted, allowed to fly past in a flurry that the lessons we could learn from them, remain unregistered. This is why hardships & failures shoulder the responsibility of teaching us all we need to learn.
    What a beautiful, thought-provoking post Leo 🙂
    (My Era recently posted… 9 Reasons Why You Must Read “To Kill a Mockingbird”)My Profile

    • Thank you for appreciating my post, M. E. and also sharing your own experience. 🙂 I think it’s very useful when we learn from those around us, and their good as well as not so good aspects of character, or our own successes or failures. At times we do learn, but we realize it late.

  4. We are born to learn and we can learn something from everybody around us. All we need to do is keep our eyes and ears open. Of course, sometimes we may feel pushed a little too far but then when you think about it in later life you realize that it was all for good. I remember a very painful episode in my life about 9 years back and my mom and dad were with me supporting me and telling me that life sometimes hurts but beyond the hurt, there will be happiness. I don’t think I was never ever down in the ditch than at that point of time and am glad for the lessons my parents offered. They are not the perfect parents; but then, they have lived life much longer than me and that’s what matters.
    (Sreedeep recently posted… #366days366posts – Day 23 – The hustle and bustle of an election year)My Profile

  5. To keep learning requires courage. To accept differences in relationships requires courage.
    To apologize and move on requires courage.
    Such is life – a combination of courage and passion.
    That last line – the saying by Napolean says it all 🙂

    Recent pain has once again made me withdraw into a shell and to come out from it will require courage once again. Sometimes, I feel I don’t have it in me to move on – but then again, I find inspiration in the most unlikely of places
    (Pixie recently posted… Day 17 – roti shapes and sizes.)My Profile

    • I think that pain has made me go into a shell, or pulled me down often, but I’ve found courage in the most unexpected of places, and from the best of sources. And that has helped to rise up. I know you shall too, and I know you know that I’ll be waiting for the post that you’ll write soon. Take care, Pixie. 🙂
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… The Plan)My Profile

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