Do you Collect Unfamiliar Experiences?

In my circle, I get to connect with many survivors, which is a privilege and sometimes a really good mirror (that just hits me hard).

This is the story of me and S.

S and I have been friends for a while. She is a survivor. She is really smart, weirdly funny, caring and a very courageous writer like me.

We are having a quiet evening of dinner and chat and then she says something like “men can’t be trusted…” and why does she always meet men who can’t be trusted?…

This gets me thinking and I ask her if there are any experiences that she can recall where she did trust a man and everything turned out to be OK?

Guess what her answer is… “Yes”.

This makes both of us wonder… Why would we make such blatant and categorical statements even when some of our experiences don’t match that statement…

Do you know that our brains are really silly (yeah I know that they are useful but man, sometimes they can really create havoc in our lives)? Our brains register only those things that are already proven; already familiar and don’t challenge anything inside that five kilos of mush.

If we believe that men can’t be trusted – then any experience that doesn’t match this belief will be completely ignored by the brain so we keep believing the same thing…

My advice to her is simple – Start Observing and Collecting Experiences that don’t match your beliefs.

She likes it and finds my advice useful. As a friend, I feel really wise that I am able to impart knowledge to her (don’t worry, my bubble will burst soon enough…)

Some days pass by.

My feeling of being “wise” continues to linger… I feel that this is what I do in my life all the time. I collect experiences… This is how I have been able to change my beliefs and my traumas and able to heal. I have been able to create amazing friendships and amazing relationships…

My partner L and I meet her for lunch this time but on this particular day, I am triggered and in a state where my core belief of “not being important in this world” feels very strong.

We start talking about various things but I am not really myself and she asks me what is going on… I tell her that I feel unimportant; I feel that I don’t make a difference to anyone’s life and my existence in this world is inconsequential… (I know it sounds very dramatic now, doesn’t it? but it felt quite true in that moment – the silly brain)

You know what she says “Ruby, are there any experiences that you can recall where this is not true?”

She is also sorta pointing at herself, to see if I notice but I completely ignore her gestures and keep thinking that “I don’t matter”. At this juncture – L interrupts and says “Here are two people whose lives you have impacted… Do you see that?”

I look around and I am forced to see – I have impacted both S and L in many ways and they have impacted me… but I fail to “collect the experience”. my silly brain just didn’t register that.

Part of wants to smack me and the other part of me doesn’t want to believe… But the truth is staring right in my face and I have nowhere to hide…


I have laughed at this so many times… So easy to give advice and so easy to forget to do it myself. We are such contradictory humans.

And the fact is that in our healing and growth journey, this contradiction plays all the time…

Sometimes we take one step forward and two steps back…

Sometimes, we make progress by leaps and bounds…

and other times, we are completely stuck in our catastrophic thinking…

The point is that “it’s okay to be human” and all of these things are perfectly OK. The self-compassion saves us the extra energy we would have otherwise spent blaming and judging ourselves for not doing anything about our state or triggers or traumas…

For me, there is a simple lesson in this:

Keep witnessing and observing so I have the ability to collect experiences that don’t match my beliefs.

When I falter, I be compassionate and move on…

Recognise that my brain is silly and sometimes, it will try to make me belief that something is “absolutely true” but it may not be true

Do you think that your beliefs are “absolutely true”?

Do you collect “unfamiliar” experiences?