“Consciously or not, we are all on a quest for answers, trying to learn the lessons of life. We grapple with fear and guilt. We search for meaning, love, and power. We try to understand fear, loss and time. We seek to discover who we are and how we can become truly happy.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Our lives are always teaching, always whispering, always guiding.
Sometimes that guidance takes the form of things that feel good, but many times it takes the form of pain, despair or frustration. It almost always seems to appear in clusters, which is the time to find the lesson.
My client, Maggie has a huge heart. She gives her time, energy and money – even when she doesn’t have it to give. She always goes above and beyond, doing more than what’s expected of her. And while Maggie was sick with pneumonia this past week, she’s had a lesson being presented to her through all the people around her:
She runs across town at a moment’s notice when her sister needs her only to later be told: “I hate you, stay out of my life!”
Maggie gives money that she doesn’t have to her brother for dog food, car insurance, rent, or whatever he’s lacking in any given moment. And when she finally said no, her brother told her: “That’s fine if you don’t want to help me. I’ll just get sent to jail for not having car insurance, where they won’t give me my medication and I’ll end up in a diabetic coma.”
Even when Maggie was sick, she was running a sick friend to the hospital, only so that her best friend of 30 years could get upset with her because she wasn’t available for her.
It’s no coincidence that all this occurred around the same time.
There must be some lesson Maggie needs to learn.
Takers always find Givers
The people in Maggie’s life are all takers… and takers always find givers.
We are always teaching people how to treat us.
Maggie is teaching everyone around her that her needs aren’t important.
She is teaching people that they can abuse her and she’ll still keep coming back for more.
And because Maggie is a helper and wants to save everyone, she attracts people who need saving.
Look for the Lesson
Anytime we see a frustrating pattern in our lives, it’s time to sit up and take notice. It’s time to ask the question, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” or “How am I helping to create this experience for myself?”
It’s time to look for the lesson.
If we don’t learn the lesson, that lesson is going to keep being presented to us in increasingly painful ways until we finally get it.
Maggie’s lesson was that it’s time to put herself first. Once she starts making herself a priority, others will too.
Maggie’s lesson is that her superpower – her big, kind, generous heart – is also her kryptonite.
Once she is loving towards herself, she will attract loving and emotionally healthy people into her life.
Our closest relationships will be there again and again to present the lessons we most need to learn.
Have you had a negative experience happening to you in a variety of ways, through different people in different forms? What is it? If there’s a lesson to be learned, what do you think that lesson is?