When most of us think of a wise woman, we have this perception of someone who has it all together. A woman who is calm, thoughtful, grounded, and makes little to no mistakes. However, wisdom doesn’t always look that wonderful, especially not in the process of us acquiring it.
Wisdom often comes after an accumulation of trial and error—making mistakes, going back to the drawing board, and trying again. I’ve heard it said that wisdom is the application of knowledge. In other words, we can know a lot, but unless we apply it, we’re lacking wisdom in our approach.
For many wise women, wisdom has come at the cost of living through disappointments and devastating life situations. Things like a miscarriage, divorce, abuse, depression, eating disorders, shame, self-contempt, and more. What makes it more difficult is the pressure to hide these experiences, put on our mask or our cape, and pretend everything is fine.
It’s some of these devastatingly tough situations that become a calling to rise from the ashes, learn from experience, and then take what was learned to navigate future life situations.
Wisdom comes at a price.
The price may be different for each individual, but it must be paid nonetheless. I am in no way saying that we have to go through bad things to become great or greatly wise. I think that can set up an expectation for bad things to happen almost as an exchange for good. However, I do believe anything worth having comes at a price.
As unique as the sun is to the moon, a bird to a butterfly, and the ocean to the mountains, so are our unique journeys. For example, growing up in an influential and affluent family, where there was daily covert addiction and abuse present, made a tremendous impact on the person that I became.
As a young person, I learned to observe human behavior and to choose my words wisely so they would have the most impact. I learned deep compassion for people who are suffering. I learned gratitude for the simple, peaceful moments that others might overlook. These were once “coping mechanisms” to survive my childhood; today, I still hold on to the wisdom in those lessons, and they are jewels of wisdom that I share with others.
I’ve found that instead of asking “Why is this happening to me?”, asking new questions helps to shift my perspective.
“What do I need to know?”
“What do I need to learn?”
“Who can this help?”
Wisdom can often be acquired by asking new questions.
And by all means, remember what every wise woman truly understands. After every storm, the sun will shine again. Or in the words of my very wise 96-year-old Buela (grandmother), “Trouble won’t last always.”
Michigan born, Texan at heart, global citizen, Bella J. Rockman enjoys delving into the deep waters of conversations that invite authenticity, healing, and connection. Lover of yoga, nature, libraries, and studying abroad, she embraces each day and new person she meets with wonderment and curiosity. Her passion for facilitating conversations that help humanity heal is expanded through her work as a journalist, media correspondent, neurophychotherapist (LPC), and public policy advocate. While out in nature, she often remembers lessons learned growing up from her Nigerian-Native-Irish American grandmother who would tell her, “Put your feet in the earth’s soil; feel God’s creation. Look to the plants to nourish and find healing for yourself through God’s creation. Quiet your anxious heart, listen to the sound of the wind—hear God’s creation. You are one with Creation; you are one with GOD.”