Lessons will repeated to you in various forms
until you have learned them.
When you have learned them,
you can then go on to the next lesson.
Have you ever noticed that lessons tend to repeat themselves? Does it seem as if you married or dated the same person several times in different bodies with different names? Have you run into the same type of boss over and over again? Do you find yourself having the same problem with many different coworkers?
Several years ago, Bill Murray starred in a movie called Groundhog Day, in which he woke up in the same day over and over until he learned all the lessons he needed to in that one day. The same events kept repeating themselves until he finally "got" what it was he was supposed to do in each one. Does this strike a funny but familiar chord with you?
Lessons Will Be Repeated Until Learned
When I taught high school, I always told my students, "If you don't deal well with authority figures at home, then you will have an opportunity to deal with them out in the world. You will continually draw into your life people who need to enforce authority, and you will struggle with them until you learn the lesson of obedience."
Teenagers often perceive their parents as overly strict. At the age of fourteen, one of my former students went away to boarding school. Much to her surprise, she found teachers and staff with the same rules that her mother had laid down at home and that I had at school. She finally understood.
In couples' counseling it is often noted that people who divorce and remarry nearly always marry the same type of person they just left. Similarly, a friend of mine named Cassidy who was a compulsive perfectionist had a knack for attracting inappropriate men. It was no coincidence that Cassidy, to whom mismatched socks were a horror and a torn shirt a federal offense, repeatedly drew men into her life who dressed like slobs. She was a stickler for manners, yet her most recent boyfriend held his spoon like Fred Flintstone wields a drumstick. Only recently did Cassidy begin to acknowledge that perhaps these men were appearing in her life as teachers and opportunities to work out her perfectionist issue.
Identifying and Releasing Repetitive Patterns
You will continually attract the same lesson into your life. You will also draw to you teachers to teach you that lesson until you get it right. The only way you can free yourself of difficult patterns and issues you tend to repeat, is by shifting your perspective so that you can recognize the patterns and learn the lessons that they offer. You may try to avoid the situations, but they will eventually catch up with you.
To face these challenges means you need to accept the fact that something within you keeps drawing you to the same kind of person or issue, painful though that situation or relationship may be. In the words of Carl Jung, "There is no coming to consciousness without pain." And come to consciousness you must if you are ever to stop repeating the same lessons and be able to move on to new ones.
The challenge is to identify and release the patterns that you are repeating. As any good facilitator or therapist will tell you, this is no easy task, since it means you have to change, and change is not always easy. Staying just as you are may not help you advance spiritually, but it certainly is comfortable in its familiarity. You grooved your patterns a long time ago as a way of protecting yourself. Moving into unfamiliar new behavior can be uncomfortable not to mention at times frightening.
Six Basic Steps for Change to Take Place
Rising to the challenge of identifying and releasing your patterns forces you to admit that the way you have been doing things isn't working. The good news is that by identifying and releasing the pattern, you actually learn how to change.
In my seminars, I teach that there are six basic steps to executing any change in your life. They are:
awareness -- becoming conscious of the pattern or issue
acknowledgment -- admitting that you need to release the pattern
choice -- actively selecting to release the pattern
strategy -- creating a realistic plan
commitment -- taking action, aided by external accountability
celebration -- rewarding yourself for succeeding
No lasting change can be made, nor any pattern released permanently, without going through each one of these steps. In order to facilitate your process of change, you will need to learn the lessons of awareness, willingness, causality, and patience. Once you master these, you will most likely find the challenge of identifying and releasing your patterns far less intimidating.
In If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules, Chérie shares that there are no mistakes in life, only lessons that are repeated. In thoughtful, inspirational essays illustrated with encouraging personal anecdotes, she includes the lessons that can be learned from each of the Rules and offers insights on self-esteem, respect, acceptance, forgiveness, ethics, compassion, humility, gratitude, and courage.
About The Author
Chérie Carter-Scott, Ph.D., author of the bestselling "Negaholics", is a corporate trainer and management consultant. As chairperson of the Motivation Management Service Institute, she has worked with over 200,000 people worldwide, leading seminars on self-esteem, communication and leadership skills, and team building. This article was excerpted with permission from her book "If Life is a Game, These are the Rules", published by Broadway Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. The author's website is http://www.drcherie.com