Sometimes learning requires repeated lessons. However, there usually comes a time when déjà vu gets to be a little annoying. Here are some tips to avoid taking another ride on the merry-go-round.
1. Recognize your patterns.
First and foremost, you have to recognize you're in a cycle. We all know people who find themselves in the same situation even though the names of characters may have changed. They complain with the same intensity as if it’s the first time they're encountering it. Sometimes, you’re the person with the same complaints you had 10 years ago. Do any of these sound familiar?
“Why does this always happen to me?”
“People always treat me this way…”
“I never get to…”
As soon as you hear yourself say certain phrases, this should trigger you to check your current status. You’re in a cycle. Don’t blindly follow your well-worn path. Recognize and make a conscious break from it.
2. Be accountable.
After recognition, the next step to changing anything is to accept responsibility in the situation. Only when you do this can you make empowering choices. To continually blame something or someone outside of yourself holds you captive. What you are saying is that only they have the power to save you. Accountability takes that power back.
You may not be directly responsible for a situation in which you find yourself, but you are 100% responsible for what you choose to do from that point forward.
3. Check your emotions.
When you’re in the depths of emotion, it’s hard to do anything but be in that space. However, with practice, you'll catch yourself earlier and earlier each time you feel yourself about to dive in. If not, unchecked emotion will lead you right back to your original starting place.
This isn't about controlling emotions. They're useful and shouldn’t be repressed. Emotions are signals that give you clues about your deepest and often unconscious triggers. You have to peel back the layers and find out what’s at the root instead of taking immediate action while you’re in the midst of it. You have to step out of the vortex of emotion in order to step up.
4. Extract the lessons.
Whatever the situation is, there's always something to be learned from it. If you refuse to accept that, you almost guarantee that you'll repeat the lesson. Just like in school, you must do the work before you are allowed to advance.
5. Make a different choice.
More often than not, we repeat cycles because we repeat the choices we’ve made in the past. Much of our behavior is automated, which means we tend to react to situations instead of thoughtfully responding to them.
When you start to evaluate circumstances through lenses of clarity, you can begin to see and therefore, make unfamiliar choices. Those decisions may be uncomfortable, but that willingness to stretch will present new outcomes.
Your tomorrows don’t have to look like your yesterdays. With concentrated effort you can break the spell of redundancy. Life is waiting to present you with countless possibilities if that is your desire. Liberate yourself.