“Lessons will be repeated until they are learned.” I can’t remember the first time I heard this declaration or who from but it has stuck with me for a very long time. It conveniently smacks me upside the head when I find myself in a familiar erroneous position that I have undoubtedly found myself before. For a very long time, this was typical of my romantic relationships. Many a “Duh!” moment was had in retrospective reflection, but I finally learned my lesson and it had a lot more to do with me than it did anyone else. I’m discovering that many of life’s lessons are rooted in the self. After some therapy and soul searching, I found my mate.
The lessons concerning the self are always the most difficult to see and to learn. We tend to be bias critics of ourselves. Outside perspectives can be helpful, depending on the source, of course. But at the end of the day, you need to be the one that knows you best and that takes work, honesty and a true desire for a deeper understanding and love of self. According to the Greeks this is typically a lifelong process, so no worries if you are just getting started or if some lessons have taken a long time to learn. We keep learning; that’s the beauty of it. Our wisdom has unlimited potential for growth.
My current lesson is over a decade in the making and I think I’m just figuring out what I’m supposed to learn. The irony is that I wrote the answer to my dilemma as an undergrad, for a scholarship that I won, thanks to that essay. The topic focused on the many roles people must play in their lives. Some more than others. I played many myself and detailed those, as well as the role I wanted to play as the culmination of my education. I knew then, that balance was a necessary factor for navigating the choppy waters of life, but yet dove head first into my career and allowed it to consume my life. For ten years I have been in a toxic relationship with my job.
It wasn’t always a job. At first, it felt like home but houses get sold and new landlords take over. Policies change, higher demands, people move out, new people move in. I was devastated because I was so personally invested in this place. The plan was to spend my career here and now I found myself wanting to run out the door. But of course, I like most, require gainful employment and am grateful that I have it so I’ve been sucking it up but therein lies my lesson. I can’t just quit my job on an unhappy whim and I’d rather not become a well of misery because of it, so I have to learn to cope with my emotions in reaction to the job. I have placed too much emphasis on my job for the last decade and emotionally it has taken its toll. That was poor balancing on my part and have learned that lesson well. Balance and new boundaries have been set in place and enforced. Now I have to learn the lesson of creating emotional and mental boundaries to prevent my job from permeating my personal well being. I cannot obsess over job issues outside of the job. I cannot permit my mind to be invaded and overrun with work concerns at home, the gym, while reading a book or watching a movie. I am practicing my mindfulness to set and maintain those boundaries that are necessary for well being and self balance. Lessons will be repeated until they are learned. When I learn it, the universe will present me with a new path for career growth. I have to take care of this personal growth first.