What Does Wisdom Mean to You?

Someone recently asked me, “What does wisdom mean to you?” I understand how vague that term has become, but, the definition that came to my mind was, wisdom is the ability to be present. When possible, to try and take a holistic view of a situation and see it from a well-rounded, compassionate perspective without initial judgment.

Of course, there may be, or have been situations in our lives, where we need to trust that what’s happening is dangerous, listen to our innate wisdom and protect ourselves so we can survive. That’s the beauty of inner wisdom.

The times when people have said to me, “you are wise” it was because I was responding to them in a fully present state. I was listening to what they were saying both verbally and non-verbally. I wasn’t thinking ahead to what I was going to say next, I wasn’t distracted by the noises that were external or internal. I was simply able to hear what they were saying and/or asking and respond in a way that was thoughtful and respectful.

Truthfully, sometimes the wisest thing I have said to another person, and to myself, is I’m simply not able to be objective, or helpful.

There are still some topics that when placed in front of me, I will react from a purely emotional place. No objectivity, compassion or understanding anywhere in my realm of consciousness. I understand that’s an effect of my trauma.

Sometimes, I still have to work hard at staying present. There are times when it is one of my most frustrating and biggest challenges living with PTSD. When I’m dealing with flashbacks, and triggers, staying present is often that elusive tool, that I know I have to employ. I think a lot of people, especially those of us who have been through trauma would say that staying present is a constant work in progress.

I believe as time goes on, I’m able to be present more often. I notice the birds singing outside the window, the wind gently blowing, my neighbor’s lawn mower, the noise of kids playing at the nearby playground and the sky. I love the sky!  It’s paying attention to the present that keeps me grounded in the wise place where I continue to heal, grow, change and live.

What does wisdom mean to you?

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph



22 thoughts on “What Does Wisdom Mean to You?

  1. Scott

    I think you have answered the questiom.

    Wisdom to me is making the best of a situstion, understanding that some answers are not immediate. I often think of Garrison Keillor’s defination. “Wisdom often comes with sge, but sometimes age travels alone.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this is great insight. Love the mountain analogy. I think about the transformation of caterpillars into butterflies as probably being so painful, just like our personal transformations can be. Thanks for commenting. This is awesome!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are spot on about knee jerk responses.

    I think wisdom is knowing when to just listen and when to speak. Even with all my accumulated experience, my history can color my judgment, so it’s important to weigh the information first.

    A chrysalis when it is first emerging, can be quite “ugly”, yet once it is done doing its thing, it becomes quite beautiful. By the same token rain in the distant mountains can be quite enthralling, but the flash flood to follow quite deadly.
    Unfortunately, the world is not so easily judged.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wisdom is taking in all the information by listening completely and mulling everything over with the consequences in consideration before sharing an opinion and often ending up with he words “But I could be wrong.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank You so much, Chaplain Doll. Yes, my PTSD hurls me into the past so often, and I, too, start to go down the what could have been road. Im learning more and more to recognize the perfect moments in each day. But, it’s a struggle isn’t it! Thank You for sharing. We do what we can to support each other on this healing journey. Have a great day today.


  6. Thank you for your thoughts. I struggle to stay in the present and often find myself living in the “what could of been” world. What could have been will never happen and “what is” will only happen if I stay present. Your words were in encouragement to me this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. martina.franklin.poole

    I believe wisdom is applied knowledge. What that means for me today is taking what I have learned about myself and my mental health and taking that into to consideration as I make decisions. Which indeed involves being present.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. TheOriginalPhoenix

    I think wisdom is having lived a little. You’ve seen all kinds of people, know yourself better than anyone else, and understand the world isn’t always so simple.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I do believe that a wise decision comes from focusing on the whole issue – all of its ramifications. Or, as you so wisely said, “Be present.” Knee jerk decisions are not likely to be wise.

    Liked by 2 people

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