Friday, October 25, 2013
DIFFICULT LESSONS: HOW TO LEARN WHAT YOU NEED TO AND MOVE ON
If you feel trapped by a difficult situation that keeps re-appearing, no matter what you do, the following suggestions might help:
BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
We can often end up in similar situations with different people, after promising ourselves that we won’t. This is because we are human! It can be easy to beat ourselves up, but it isn’t helpful, and it only adds misery to an already-miserable situation.
Once you’ve been kind to yourself, it’s helpful to be as honest with yourself as you can. It’s natural to want to blame the other person when we’re in conflict. Begin to take some responsibility for your part in what has happened. If you can do this, then change is possible.
Do you recognize this pattern from your history? From elsewhere in your life? What happens? How does it start? What hooks you in? It might help to discuss this with a good friend, or to write some notes.
Try and catch yourself when you find yourself in a similar situation. When something starts hooking you in, notice, “Ah, here I am again!”
This is where you can try behaving differently from the way you usually behave.
This might be holding your tongue, or it might be being more honest with the person you’re speaking with. It might be feeling things you’ve been avoiding, like sadness or anger. It might be taking some time away from the situation to consider what you’d like to do, rather than diving in feet first. Keep being curious, keep talking to your friends, and keep experimenting.
If you can find a way to learn something from what is happening, then you will change for the better. You are also likely to feel the same relief I did when I “came clean” with my supervisor. Pause and feel grateful for what happened, and for the lesson you learned.
None of us like learning lessons about ourselves. None of us like to be wrong, or to acknowledge a part of ourselves that is flawed or frightened. This is why our lessons have to keep coming back over and over again.
Rumi says, “Until you’ve found pain, you won’t reach the cure.” When I look back over my life, I realize the most important lessons I’ve learned have often been a result of some kind of pain—whether the pain manifested as disappointment, or anger, or fear. I would never think so at the time, but I can feel grateful for that pain now.
Without this pain, I wouldn’t be the person I am now—a teensy bit less of a control freak! More humble. Hopefully, more loving. And definitely more grateful for life and all that it gives me.