Finding ourselves in repeats of the same situation can be infuriating and demotivating. We start to wonder if we’re Jedi mind tricking people and life into letting us down. We hear that old adage that life keeps serving the same lessons until we heed them, but don’t ‘get’ it. Why would we need to keep learning a lesson that we think we’ve already learned and that we also don’t think we deserve?

Life has a funny sense of humour. It presents us with variations of the same people and situations that we still harbour anger, hurt, guilt and fear about so that we confront our emotional baggage. By being more boundaried, we evolve our response and heal, grow and learn.

The challenges, the what might feel like the merry-go-frickin-rounds, invite us to see what we couldn’t before.

Repeat frustrations and upsets contain stand-ins for people and hurts from our past. And if it’s the same person wearing down our last nerve or hurting us, we’re bringing the same baggage, beliefs, feelings and behaviour, and then expecting a different result. That’s relationship insanity.

We keep trying to ‘get’ or avoid’ the same thing, so we’re bringing in the same motivation(s) and agendas. Or, we keep using the same habits, rules, judgements and stories. That’s why keep getting a lesson we think we’ve already learned.

Say that following a disappointment, such as a romantic relationship not working out, a family member still not seeing the error of their ways, or a new job proving to be harder or less fabulous than we’d anticipated, we then blame it on us not being ‘good enough’. Well, that’s the wrong lesson. These are not worthiness or deservedness issues. Blaming ourselves affects our thinking and behaviour, which leads to more problematic choices and painful feelings.

Let’s say we have a pattern of putting people on pedestals or believing that they ‘should’ be perfect. Cue blowing smoke up people’s bottoms, painting a picture of them in our mind, and feeling entitled to our vision of things. When they invariably prove, not just their humanness but also, that they’re not our fantasy, we’ll feel enraged. The disappointment pokes at old hurt and anger we feel towards people from our childhood that we put on pedestals or we feel failed us. The present situation invites us to be more honest about it and the past.

If we keep seeing things the same way, we have not learned the lesson yet.

It doesn’t mean people aren’t annoying or that they don’t hurt or disappoint us, but if we stop exaggerating our input and endeavour to be more boundaried, we get to stop being hurt and disappointed by the same thing over and over again. We get to set ourselves free of our past.

I do a deep dive on this topic in my podcast episode about Professor Life and it’s ‘annoying’ life lessons.

Free audio series The Emotional Baggage Sessions by Natalie Lue. The past doesn't have to define your present any more
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