“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
One of my favorite things to do each year is to look back through my children’s annual photos. It always amazes me to see how they have grown and changed from year to year. It brings back memories to look at them when they were younger and to see how they continue to grow and develop. It is easy to see the physical changes that occur, but the changes in who they are becoming is what is fascinating. We are not static creatures. Every day we grow and change. We are continually evolving and we have opportunities each day to expand and challenge ourselves. Mary Morrissey has said that some people truly live 99 years, while others live one year 99 times. As I work with my clients I often ask them how long they have been repeating the same patterns. Many of them are able to recognize that although the characters or the places may be different, they are in the same interactions over and over again, having the same arguments, having the same fights. When I ask about them, at first they often blame the people around them. It is all of their bosses who treat them unfairly or it is a string of significant others who just don’t do their share of the work in the relationship. As we go through their list of the other people who are all to blame, many of them are able to begin to recognize that they are the one who has the issue. I feel that we all have things we are meant to learn and experience during our short time on this planet. For some, we have to master patience, so life will give us ample opportunities to practice patience until we are able to develop that skill. For others it may be compassion, so we are given opportunities over and over again to work on our compassion skills. Whatever it is we are meant to develop, whether it be forgiveness, hope, self-discipline or positivity, we will be given people and experiences in order to hone and develop those skills that we most need to work on. When we are struggling to get along with someone, we can look at the other person as an angel in disguise. Instead of being here just to annoy us, they are here to help us grow and practice what we are meant to experience. Nelson Mandela has said that the person who was sent to prison would have never been able to be president of his country. He had to grow and change through his experiences in order to develop the gifts he was meant to share with the world. It is through our interactions with difficult people or going through challenging life events that we are able to stretch our comfort zone and grow into a new person. Buckle up, it is time to evolve!