By: Marilyn L. Davis
Am I Different or Just Have Bad Luck?
We have all asked ourselves why things turn out negatively for us, or why the same kinds of outcomes keep happening to us. It’s always the same, we never get a different outcome. Some of us even create the illusion that we’re born under a bad sign or are just incredibly unlucky.
We keep having the same experiences, over, and over, and over, like an endless loop. But if we’re honest with ourselves, the reason for the recurring lessons is we didn’t pay attention the first time, or we did poorly in the experience.
Similar Life Situations – Different Actions
Let us say that you have a strained relationship with a family member. You have lied to them, stolen from them, or manipulated them for your personal gains. You have made promises and then you broke them. Your actions have harmed them, put them in financial difficulty, or disappointed them, and they are not speaking to you. They have resentments towards you.
Changing, and then making amends will allow them to interact with you again, voice their feelings, and by your reactions, they can see that you’ve changed.
Without another interaction with your family, and you choose to do something differently, your family will never know that you have changed. That would be genuinely sad. Be grateful, “this” is happening again.
I Can Do Better This Time
Other life situations will come up. There will be a familiar aspect to it. Codependent traits have governed many of your interactions with others. There are people in your life that are just unhealthy for you to be around, but you have never been able to distance yourself from them. Some reasons for this might include:
- You did not want them angry with you
- They would be sad if you said goodbye to them
- You are afraid of telling them the truth
As a result, the same types of people seem to gravitate to you. You might wonder why this is; after all, you’re in recovery now and you have created illusions about how things “ought to be.”
When you find yourself thinking, “I’ve been here before,” in your interactions and experiences with people socially or professionally, think about the outcome of past situations. Think about your actions, words, and attitude and decide if you liked the outcome or not.
For instance, you have been overly helpful to friends in the past; doing things for them that were inconvenient for you, or they took advantage of your generosity. You now have a co-worker that complains about all she has to do and asks you babysit so she can go grocery shopping.
Welcome an Opportunity to Do Something Different
You understand the demands of being a single mom. Therefore, you decide that you can do this, and then find out that she did not go grocery shopping, but out to dinner and a movie without telling you. In the past, you would have been hurt and angry inside but not say anything.
Although you are afraid she will be mad at you for saying something, your old pattern needs to be broken for you to change. So this time, you tell your co-worker that you felt manipulated and used, and you’d like a friendship based on mutual respect and consideration.
You’ll babysit again, but you’d like your friend to be honest in her requests.
Here Comes another Lesson – What Will I Do Different?
Think about the time that your boss made unreasonable demands on your time or a friend gossiped about you. Did you react poorly to them? Instead of discussing the time constraints with your boss, you hung your head in shame and seethed inside.
You started acting in a passive-aggressive way and obsessed over his rudeness. Instead of talking directly to the friend to decide if there was a conflict between you, you started rumors about him or her, even knowing that they were untrue. You were hurt and reacted poorly.
However, you now have an opportunity to do something different when life situations recur. So, you ask your boss when it would be a good time to discuss your work hours. Not sideways, but straightforward. And that is a change for you.
Rather than gossip and be the same person you accused your boss of being, you take your friend out to dinner and talk about the friendship. However, many people do not change; why is that?
Ambivalence about Changing
They may have gotten so used to living in unsatisfactory relationships, lived here and there with whoever would let them spend the night. They have money/did not have the money or know the hours of the soup kitchen and where day labor can produce enough money to get alcohol or drugs, or being in trouble with the law. In other words, they have learned to live with the conflicts and uncertainties of not changing and learned to survive.
- What do I get out of staying the same?
- Is there some incentive to prompt a change in my actions?
- Are there lessons I can learn through the process of change?
- Can I see some potential benefits to me if I change?
- What are my feelings about changing?
Changing our Perception Alters the Outcomes
Each day will bring an opportunity to have a life lesson and more importantly, an opportunity for you to do something differently.
If you’re stuck and can’t figure out how to view your lessons differently, think of all your resources for change:
- Supportive people in your life
- Encouragement from yourself or others to change
- Guidance and Directions to change from books and blogs
- Family, friends, co-workers, employers
- People in recovery support meetings
- Google, Bing or Ask: Researching directions for change
I’ll Make My “Luck”
Instead of reacting poorly to these similar situations and lessons, try thinking, “Thank goodness for this happening again. I’ve got an opportunity to act differently.”
Writing, and recovery heals the heart
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