Lessons Learned

We’ve all helped a friend through a breakup, a fight with their parents, a divorce, a foreclosure … the list goes on and on. From the outside, it can seem so obvious what lesson is coming, but when it’s personal, it’s often much more difficult to understand. We feel overwhelmed by our circumstances. It can seem like everyday is a new slap in the face in the forms of painful revelations or unwanted outcomes. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to any of it.

And then the biggie: ‘why me?’ It’s a good question to ask. Why are you being faced with this situation and what can you learn from it? The sooner you can step away from the self-pity and victimization, the faster you can move into an inner serenity that comes from saying, ‘I am willing to learn.’ Here are some steps to push through to the finish line, so you only have to learn this painful lesson once.

Been here before?
If you are hysterical, chances are the situation is historical. You’ve come to a familiar painful place, but where did it start? Make a list of precisely when you have felt this pain before. Perhaps you are suffering under an abusive boss. What other times have you felt victimized by someone in power? Reflect back until you find the very first time you can remember feeling this way. Chances are, that’s what’s really upsetting you. The present situation is rubbing an old wound. In this scenario, you may have wanted your very first abuser to love you. So now, you are hanging on to a job you hate because you are re-enacting that first situation, hoping for a different result. Nothing in the present will ever change the past. This is both painful and freeing because if you can acknowledge the true source of your pain, you are halfway to the healing that awaits you.

What is your part in this?
If you do not accept your part, you will repeat it. And you must be specific. For instance, simply saying, ‘If I had known we were going to lose the house, I would have never bought it,’ is a cop out. You have to look at your own patterns of leaping into things or refusing to face your own financial reality. Looking for your part may force-feed you a slice of humble pie. Not always easy going down, but humility is crucial to getting out of this painful merry-go-round.

If an apology is in order, make it. If you are not ready to apologize, ask yourself, ‘what do I gain by staying in this dynamic?’ It’s not about manipulating the other parties to accomodate you. It’s about your ability to move on from here. By stepping forward, you may be pleasantly surprised that others are relieved to change, too. Though you may break the ice, everyone benefits from the bridge.

Clarity is Freedom
The wonderful thing about walking through a painful situation is that it’s your choice whether or not you go through it again. Most of the time, you’ll find that there were warning signs at the outset of this painful lesson. If you can isolate when you ignored your intuition, you will unlock the key that will set you free. It’s a small nudge, a quickening of the heart. It’s a tiny guide deep within that gets quieter each time it is ignored. But if you can see where you turned away, you will beckon it back to you. It gets louder each time we honor it.

If you feel that there were no warning signs at all, look again. Nothing comes from nothing. Perhaps people around you were concerned when you rushed into a new relationship. Though they had compelling reasons for you to take it slow and get to know the person better, you thought, ‘I will be the exception.’

Before you move on, take some time to give yourself props for everything you did right. Perhaps you extended patience, kindness and hard work. Perhaps you discovered a hidden talent or new hobby. Just because you lost the house doesn’t mean you didn’t enjoy painting it! Perhaps you had a rocky relationship with a musician, but the best parts where when you sang together. So take singing lessons!

The situation has as much power as you give it. Take your best assets with you. You’re stronger and your experience is deeper and richer because there is no other outcome of growth. The universe wants us to experience love and abundance. Path-correction isn’t easy, so tune down the inner critic. Reward yourself for walking through this and take a big breath. Better things are on their way!

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