On this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I delve into the topic of getting out of your own way so that you can heed the lessons that repeat experiences are trying to show you and finally move on. Here’s the gist of what I talk about in the episode:
- If you keep coming up against the same issues, it’s time to recognise an important lesson that you’re missing rather than carrying on as if you know better despite the fact that you’re increasingly feeling the effects of it not working.
- The alarm gets louder but the lessons become more painful. Life tries to give us subtle, less painful lessons, and even tries to give us obvious lessons, and if we still keep doing variations of the same thing but expecting different results, things will come crashing down.
- If you’re feeling stuck, if variations of the same lesson keep coming up again and again, it’s about acceptance: Where are you not accepting the truth about someone or a situation? Also, where are you accepting less than what you really need, desire and expect?
- I know so many people is lies have come what feels like crashing down – job, home, a friendship, family, a relationship. It’s understandable to feel angry, afraid and sad during these times but what we have to be careful of is lamenting the loss of something, a way of life, that we were not only pretty unhappy with, but it doesn’t reflect our truest, happiest adult self and reflects us being stuck and playing it small.
- I got talking to someone recently who got made redundant from the job she’d detested for quite some time, plus a friendship of fallen apart, she’d reached a crossroads with her controlling an overbearing mother, and had to make the decision to call time for good with the toxic boyfriend who could neither be faithful or treat her decently, or in fact, leave her alone when they weren’t together. This is undoubtedly a lot for one person to be dealing with but what she hadn’t realised is that she was hating the freedom and opportunity that these experiences were offering her and she was turning her back on some much-needed lessons and so unable to embrace some of the gifts.
- It was as if she begrudged having to figure out what she wanted and needed, and so even though she is in a better job where she’s happier plus she’s also in the process of working on a business idea, she was still smarting over the redundancy and to an extent, she was also carrying on as if it was a mistake that she had broken up with this guy, as if he ‘should’ have been the right one even though his behaviour just wasn’t compatible with the type of relationship she wants plus she’s been very unhappy during their on-again, off-again decade together. If she keeps hankering for ‘Mr Right’ to be him, she’s telling herself (and life) that this is what she wants so she’s either going to be back with him again or she’s going to be involved with him in a different package and the fallout will be increasingly painful.
- Life keeps serving us up the same lessons until we heed them. When we have a recurring theme of something going on across a number of experiences, we need to pay attention so that we can move on. ‘Professor Life’ as I sometimes call it, puts experiences and lessons in front of you that cause you to answer the thought-provoking questions that these bring up due to the uncomfortable and yes, often negative emotions and destructive thoughts that surface as a result. These feelings and thoughts need to come out but they’re also trying to help you.
- Professor Life isn’t trying to make a fool out of you, nor is it saying that you don’t know anything at all—it wants you to heed the lessons so that you can move on from this ‘module’… to an upcoming one in the future.
- Professor Life also wants you to engage in critical thinking and to not accept the status quo despite it being your uncomfortable comfort zone. It wants you to get really good at listening to you instead of taking a position like, ‘Well, my family did it this way so I should too [even though they’re miserable and/or that’s not working for me’ or ‘Well, someone said X to/about me when I was 5 so I have to stay this way [even though they were inappropriate/wrong etc’, or even, ‘Well, I told myself Y when I was 5 and so I have to keep using that reasoning otherwise I’m going to look wrong and foolish’.
- It’s important for us to recognise that we can’t know what we don’t and didn’t know plus, there are very specific reasons in our past that influence the way that we think and feel today. We did the best that we can but we are also allowed to grow, to wake up some more and start to become cognisant of where we need to adapt and make big shifts in our perspective, particularly around stories, judgements and yes, even the excuses we make.
- Instead of kissing our teeth and being like, ‘Oh come on! Why do I have to learn anything?’, when we are ready to move past the anger, irritation, frustration and other emotions that so many of us experience when we feel as if life is wearing down our last nerve, we get into a zone where we’re like, ‘OK life. I see what you’re doing but I’m paying attention. I’ll be graduating from your lesson very soon… and I’ll be open to the next one’, because reality check: we will always be learning in some shape or form. Of course, the more we listen to ourselves is the less painful our lessons need to be because we’ll be chilling out and enjoying life.
- Remember that the lesson is something positive, not about you being ‘not good enough’ or something else negative that leaves you feeling rubbish about your options and stuck doing the same thing and expecting a different result or resigned to accepting crumbs.
Here’s the 3 questions to help you understand where you’re stuck:
- What are the reoccurring concerns, frustrations etc? So, look for the repeater themes and situations.
- Where do you have outstanding decisions as well as fear around moving forward?
- What are the thought-provoking questions that are being posed by life?
As mentioned in the episode, there’s a worksheet that you can download–Figuring Out The Lesson(s) That Professor Life’s Trying To Teach You and it includes my Unsent Letter Guide.
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Edited 17th July – The post has been updated with the link for the download! Apologies!