I must be a slow learner. What other explanation could there be. When the same lessons comes up I feel I comprehended what needed to be learned but then it is test time and I fail miserably, the only conclusion could be that I didn’t fully understand the exercise. Right?
Maybe there is more to it though. Maybe it’s not what is needed to be learned but how it is needed to be learned. The basic rules make sense. The cause and effect understood. The lesson, when practiced in the safety of a sterile classroom environment is successful , yet when out in the field of day to day life, the lesson doesn’t translate into practice.
I’ll use the example of an incidence that happened last week to explain.
First, let me say, I am a recovering people pleaser. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again somewhere down the line. Please note that I say recovering, because it is a work in progress and I don’t think I will ever be completely cured, it is engrained so deeply in me.
Back to last week.
I am renovating my main bathroom. It is a major project and is long over due. We have a builder who is also acting as the general contractor, coordinating all the other trades such as the plumber, drywaller’s, tiler, etc. Renovations never go smoothly, special orders are late, communications get messed up, and just the stress of having people in your home, not to mention being down a bathroom can lead to frayed nerves by all.
I have tried to take the long view on this. The renovation won’t last forever and the results will far out way the disruption to my personal space. So I ‘ve tried to work with the contractors and have deferred to their expertise when construction decisions needed to be made.
This is my bathroom renovation though, and the design decisions are mine to make. This is where the life lesson I thought I learned didn’t translate to the real world.
When communicating to the contractors and design discussions occurred, my default people pleasing affliction reared it’s ugly head and in order to play nice and keep the contractors happy I didn’t stand firm with my design visions. The results are not unpleasing but not what I really wanted.
I became upset and discouraged and the builder became upset and discouraged but most of all I was pissed at myself. I thought I had learned this lesson. Stand up for what you want and don’t let others sway or intimidate you to their way if thinking.
This is a lesson that repeats and repeats in my life. I keep learning it and then when I put the new skills to the test, I fail.
At least I can gain comfort in the fact that I am the only one who is affected by my failure. Most of the time no one but me even knows I failed. They just go on with life, happy and unaware that there was even a test.
What is it that makes a person repeat the same mistake. Some people choose the wrong type of partner over and over and then lament that they are unlucky in love. Some people even after being caught and charged continue to drink and drive. Some people yearn to have others trust them yet continue to act untrustworthy.
Is it a lack of self discipline, a personality disorder, a DNA defect? Are we doomed to repeat the cycle of learn, fail, repeat? How can we evolve as human beings if we can not get past certain life lessons? The universe is a cruel teacher.
All I know is I thought I had learned to stand up for myself and my choices and not let others decide for me, but apparently not. So it’s back to school for me. I’ll sit at the front of the class and be the star pupil. Maybe this time I’ll get it.