Why We Have (Hard) Lessons

by Janie J

As I’ve grown older, I have realized that we tend to repeat actions which have undesired consequences as many times as necessary, until we “learn the lesson.”

Failure to learn means more lessons of the same nature.

Take the person who is late to work. The supervisor counsels them, yet they continue to be late. Eventually they’ll find themselves out of a job.

Another person might have a drug problem that leads to one negative consequence after another until things get so bad, they hit rock bottom. Then, hopefully, they “learn the lesson.”

A battered wife may stay in an abusive marriage despite the black eyes, swollen lips and bruised sense of self-worth. One day though, she might “learn the lesson” that no one has the right to treat her that way.

Why is it that we humans are so slow to recognize lessons?

One reason is that change is difficult, even when it’s a positive change. Some of us are so frozen with fear and anxiety about any change at all that we’d rather keep repeating the same patterns. Change is unknown; whereas certainty is sometimes preferable even if it’s an undesirable outcome.

Another reason is that some of us are just slow to come to terms with a situation. We think things will change. When they do not, we come up with excuses. We might want to stick with the plan, thinking to ourselves we don’t want to be perceived as a “quitter.” Yet, at some point, we know we have to make new choices.

Then there are those of us who are just plan stubborn. We might think something is someone else’s fault and by golly, why should we change? In those circumstances, one’s actions tend to be the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. These are the same folks who’d rather be "right" than happy.

I’m not suggesting we all move along quickly on life’s path and learn every lesson the first time it’s presented to us. No, we all move at our own pace. We’re all learning as we go. There is no right or wrong way to approach life in general.

But I am suggesting we pay attention to our lives and the lessons presented to us so we can make choices and changes for the better that might help us lead happier and more joyous lives.

We should also be cognizant of lessons that others around us have the opportunity to learn. We could save ourselves a lot of trouble in that case!

I believe we are all presented with lessons throughout our life as a means for our Creator to help us learn and grow. It is a way to shape us into better people or one might say – the best possible version of ourselves.

  • Spend time reflecting and being grateful. (Use a timer if necessary.)
  • Think about what you learned, how you grew, what you’re thankful for, what you realize now that you did or didn’t like about a situation and be able to move on.
  • Remember we also learn lessons from others. We don’t have to experience to learn it. Alcohol, drugs, cancer – we’ve all seen it. Being aware and paying attention to the struggles of others can help you to learn their lessons without experiencing it yourself.

So, the next time you’re thrown a curve ball in life, step up to the plate and be thankful for the lesson!

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