Monday’s Meditation: On Lessons That Repeat Themselves & Invitations For Growth
For the longest time, I had an unhealthy pattern in my friendships that kept repeating.
From a very early age, I started attaching myself (or letting myself be attached) to girls who were unstable, wounded, and insecure. They were the kinds of girls who hated their moms, who acted as though rebellion was their duty. They were also the most fun, in a way almost all emotionally unhealthy people are. And I, thoughtful, resolved, so absurdly responsible and so ridiculously devoid of rebellion, was drawn to that fun (I naively mistook wildness for zestful abandon); I felt a duty to support and keep these girls steady.
It’s uncanny when I look back on my life: there are a series of repeating friendships of the exact same model and design, but with different names and places and ages.
It took a college friendship that was perhaps the most intense version of this pattern–a friendship in which I felt overwhelmingly claustrophobic, sequestered, utterly drained by being at the whim of a friend’s unpredictable and all-encompassing moods, and four years of such a friendship at that, that I finally got it. I didn’t have to be the rock to a stormy sea. I didn’t want or need the drama that I was vicariously inviting into my life. I didn’t have to get myself intertwined in situations that felt as though they leashed me. and I didn’t have to live life in “rescuing lost puppies” mode. No one had ever asked me to.
It seems obvious and yet not at all when I look back on this string of friendships. It seems silly that I didn’t learn the lesson sooner, and not silly at all. Ultimately, I learned what I needed to when I did, and to whatever factors gave me the clarity I needed, finally, I am grateful.
We all have some version of my repeating friendship lesson because we are all here to learn.
Most often, we don’t get it right the first time around. We’re distracted by a multitude of things at any given moment, or we’re limited by our perspective. For whatever reason, if a learning scenario repeats itself, it means that we were not equipped to learn what we needed to previously.
Moreover, opportunities for growth crop up repeatedly not to torture us, but to better us. Your finding yourself in the same challenging, frustrating, or confusing situation in which you’ve found yourself before is not a sign that you are doomed to repeat such a pattern, but an affirmation from the world and you of the importance of your learning whatever lesson it may be.
A repeated scenario is nothing other than an invitation to get it right where we previously got it wrong, to observe and be aware of whatever signs we might have missed in the past, and to change the outcome so that we have no further need to repeat the lesson.
The moment we decide to recognize our patterns and open ourselves to the learnings they contain, we end the cycle of struggle.
Sometimes it takes us as long as it does to finally see a situation for what it is. Sometimes we have to experience and re-experience the pain of something many times before we break free from the mold and work up the courage to change it. Sometimes it takes a string of turbulent friendships before we can say, “I declare myself worthy of the most wonderful, fulfilling friendships. I claim the right to invite whoever I want into my life, and to include in my life only those whom I have invited. I intend to give my good energies only to those people and things that give good energy to me.”
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