Isn’t it amazing how you can go through life with one mindset, with a way of seeing and experiencing the world, and then someone drops a statement on you, and you find yourself re-evaluating everything! Welp…once again I have found myself in a state of reflection, self-awareness and growth.
So, tell me how many times you’ve said the following sentences to yourself.
“How am I back here again!”
“Why can’t I just learn my lesson”
“Uuugghhh I can’t keep doing this”
“Clearly this is the way things are going to be”
I don’t know about you…but lord knows I have found myself lecturing myself about the ridiculousness of finding myself in a position or predicament that seemed like a repetitive behavior, that in my opinion, resulted in the same outcome…or was it?
Let me back track a bit. A little over a year ago I was given an amazing opportunity to lead a session with an incredible group of people who were members of a group called 100 Strong and Sexy. If you don’t know about 100SAS, it’s a health, wellness and lifestyle organization in Toronto that empowers its members to commit to their wellness journey and make deeper cultural connections in mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness (talk about alignment right). Not only was the opportunity to work with this group a game changer in affirming what my purpose was…BUT I was privileged enough to work with the founder who is none other than Miss Jully Black. Yup you heard me…. Miss Jully Black…a woman who embodies purpose, power and lives life authentically, unapologetically and cute AF. I digress…because I could talk about her all day. So, in the planning for this session we connected, joked, shared our collective vision for curating and creating spaces for women to self-discover, self-actualize and self-love. As we wrapped up our call, feeling energized about what we were planning, she dropped a line that hit me like a ton of bricks (also has the potential to be my next tattoo…. But don’t tell my husband because he would FLIP…lol). She said, “Aisha it’s important that women are reminded that they aren’t starting from scratch, they are starting from experience.”
Let me just write that again (and yes, I know it’s the title of this article) … YOU AREN’T STARTING FROM SCRATCH, YOU ARE STARTING FROM EXPERIENCE! Tell me you don’t feel the power in those words!
For all the time we spend beating ourselves up about going around and around in a circle, not learning “our lesson” making the same mistakes, did we ever stop to think that in fact the changed response, the different perspective, the calmness in our ability to process, our rational reaction was a result of the lesson learnt. That we weren’t making the same mistake but approaching an issue with a different lens…one that employed an elevated understanding, greater patience or grace or a completely different take.
I would love to say that I was not a repeat offender when it came to certain issues, but when Jully dropped that gem, I had to pause and really reflect on the growth I had experienced and the challenges I did approach with a changed perspective and understanding. You see, there is no way I could be coming up on the tender age of 44 (birthday is August 26th – please note it in your calendars…lol), be where I am at this point and time in my personal and professional life and not have been operating from a place of experience.
I’m not a baby, but I want you to think about this. When kids are small and are beginning to experience their environment, how many times will they find themselves engaged in activities and actions that seem to result in the same outcome. Whether it’s climbing up the stairs, touching something hot…we think that their insistence on doing the same thing is a result of their stubbornness or unwillingness to learn a lesson (in the West Indian household we love the “dem who nah listen mus feel” type of approach) – but is it? You see, while from the outside it feels like the lesson is not being learnt, if you watch closely, you will note the processing they go through. Looking at the object to determine if there is a different angle. Contemplating if the outcome will be different than the last time. Even looking for an alternate scapegoat to test the waters first! Whatever is happening in their little minds, what you come to learn is that a lesson has been learnt and that they are merely exploring other options and opportunities from the same action.
Sidenote: The statement above is by no means scientifically proven, but observatory in nature. Nor is it applicable to all children cause some kids are just hardheaded!
I would never blanket statement and say we don’t repeat the same nonsense nor find ourselves in the same situation – I’m a nineties kid – I repeated a number of bad hair and clothing choices over and over again!
What I am saying however, is rather than expelling energy on lamenting on what we did wrong or how we are in the same cycle, think about what looks different, where you have grown, how has your perspective changed, where have you employed more patience. If in fact, we were stuck in the same habit resulting in the same outcome could you even be in a position to reflect on those past situations?
I am firm believer that life will throw very similar situations your way because our path has somewhat already been scripted, but the real game is employing a changed, elevated and experiential perspective that offers deeper insight resulting in a changed outcome.
Sure, you may have found yourself buying yet another palazzo pant hoping that the outcome would be better than the last pair you bought. And while you can confirm that they remain a bad fashion choice for you, at least this time around you waited til they were on sale!
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” ~Heraclitus