Repeating the same old mistakes
Life is full of lessons. There is something to learn from all of life's ups and downs.
We often have to take a step back or put a little distance between us and events to recognise the lesson; to notice where we have grown or to see the patterns we engaged in that got us there, either helpful or unhelpful.
Sometimes the teaching can be painful. When we finally do ‘get it' and we understand the part we played, identify the choices we made and the consequences they brought, and see where we could do things differently in the future, we often think, ‘Wow, lesson learnt. I'll never do that again!'. But then sometimes we do.
Perhaps we just forget or, because those unhelpful, old patterns are so ingrained, we slip into them without noticing, or we lose our self-perspective when we're in the thick of our day-to-day.
We can find ourselves in those old situations with those familiar lessons staring us in the face incredulously asking, ‘Will I ever learn?'. I experienced that this week with one of the oldest lessons in my book (each of our life's curriculum being very individualised). My lesson: that not everybody's worldview is the same as mine.
“What do you mean, you don't think like me and have the same agenda as I do? That's ridiculous, of course I'm right and my way is best.” Oh it sounds silly now, but that's what my ego's old subconscious pattern was saying as I unwittingly imposed my view on someone like a bull in a china shop.
Imagine being on the receiving end of that! Not very nice. It's enough to trigger defensive, negative patterns in anyone. Which it did.
An otherwise harmless situation spiralled into an uncomfortable mess of hurt parties and wounded egos and that awful, icky feeling when something's gone very wrong.
It strikes me that at work I employ this learning all the time, creating space for each client to present and explore their personal view of the world.
Yet, with the people closest to me, those I love the most, I can still forget to offer what I consider this basic principle of respect. Perhaps because we get on so well, I assume that we are the same, share the same outlook and they can mind-read my benign intentions. Not so. We all have different mindsets: desires, fears, beliefs and rules. Our internal landscape is so individualised that even in a lifetime together we might only scratch the surface of truly understanding how another person ticks.
I got yet another kick in the pants about how important it is to consider this.
Fortunately, over the years, while it seems I keep having to repeat this class, I'm gradually getting better at recognising the learning outcomes and hopefully making the necessary corrections: “I'm sorry. Please forgive me.”
Berating ourselves for requiring these reminders doesn't help. What does is accepting that we are all students of life's academy, a learn-at-your-own-pace lifetime semester at sea — we are all in the same boat!
• Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information, contact Julia on 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com