Repeating the same mistakes can be frustrating. Especially when we should know better. Sometimes life can seem like a tangle of similar events. We don’t speak up when it matters, or we say too much to those we love, and we hurt them. We keep repeating the same mistakes in relationships and let them unfold the same way.
Although we should know better…
I know that many of you have been on your inner growth paths for a longer time. You might have read many books and taken many seminars yet when someone triggers you it feels as almost you’ve learned nothing. And that can feel demotivating.
Sometimes it seems that we have to step in the same waters over again. If this is how you feel I want to motivate you to hold on, and most of all, help you understand why this happens.
The reason isn’t that there is something wrong with you and you’re destined to suffer and be unhappy. Forever! Repeating the same mistakes also doesn’t mean that you haven’t learned anything and that you’re going backward. (Although it may feel like that at times.)
The reason for repeating the same mistakes is that you haven’t fully integrated the knowledge and realizations you have.
There are 4 stages that we go through before we truly break free from the same mistakes. Each of us can be in every stage simultaneously as we have a different level of consciousness and embodied wisdom towards different life areas and problems.
So I don’t want you to look at these stages in the term of better or worse but rather as a road-map which helps you see how we evolve and our mistakes together with it.
“If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.”
The 4 stages of repeating the same mistakes
1. Making the mistakes unconsciously
This is the stage of “sweet” oblivion. In the first stage, we make the same mistakes over again, and we aren’t even aware of it. Perhaps, it can be crystal clear for others where we keep playing small or that we can’t control our anger.
Yet we think that everything is fine and we happily live in self-denial. In a way, this stage is much easier because when we don’t realize our mistakes, we don’t need to change them. In fact, we believe that there is nothing to be improved.
But I also know that it never makes us happy and fulfilled. During this stage, we feel like something deep and essential is missing in our life, but we can’t quite put the finger on it.
From my experience, I know that everyone is in this first stage regarding some of their issues. Maybe, you can be very aware of your money problems, but you don’t allow yourself to see how your relationship keeps you stuck.
Or you know that you don’t eat well and you work towards improving it while ignoring the fact that you have too much stress in your life.
2. Realizing your mistakes
We break through the oblivion once we become aware of the mistakes we make. This can be both very painful and liberating realization.
Maybe you read a book or watch a movie and then you experience a profound shift in your thinking. Or you shout at someone you love, and the pain makes you suddenly see clearly where you’ve been acting unjustly.
In the beginning, these realizations usually come after something happens. It can be a few hours or days after when you recognize that you’ve been acting out of old conditioning.
In time, you’ll manage to catch yourself earlier and see when you’re repeating the same mistakes right at that moment. This is the next level of consciousness. You become aware of your actions in the present moment.
3. You’re aware of how things “should” be
I believe that many of you’re in stage three in some of your life areas and you wonder why even though you know how you “should” behave, your actions still don’t match it.
This stage can be confusing and make you feel like you’re evolving backward.
Many people have done a great deal of inner work, meditated for a long time, have read tons of spiritual books, and still get upset with people in the street or violate their inner boundaries.
But this time it’s different than when you were in stage one. You’re aware of losing your nerves, letting the fear rule your life, or staying in the wrong job or relationship. And you can become very harsh and upset with yourself.
But you also realize that being upset with yourself isn’t right so you don’t allow yourself to feel it and you suppress it to your shadow where it gets more powerful.
So, what is going on?
The thing is that realizing something and gaining knowledge is just the beginning. It’s not enough. You must integrate your knowledge and turn it into wisdom otherwise it’s just a nice theory.
4. Breaking free from making the same mistakes
In the last stage, you realize that you must act on what you’ve learned and understood. And not just sometimes but all the time until it becomes your second nature. Otherwise, you keep repeating the same mistakes.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say that your parents push your buttons and they’re too critical of what you do. At first, you might not have been aware of it as you were younger. You thought that it’s normal if they didn’t support you or never pay you a compliment.
You are unaware of it so you accept their behavior as a blueprint for how people can treat you.
Later, you realize that it’s not okay and that you deserve love and support. You also become conscious that the way they treat you speaks more about them than about you.
It’s the reflection of what they believe to be true about themselves. You realize that if they don’t love themselves, they can’t show you their love in the way you might need it. Now, you’re in the stages two and three.
But even if you realize all this, they can still make you feel bad. For days. You think that you should know better and be more detached from their behavior, but you aren’t.
Now you have two options.
You either continue to be triggered, or you integrate your knowledge and shift your relationship with them.
Turning the knowledge into wisdom can take different forms depending on what your lessons are. In this case, it could be that you have to let go of your past for good. You need to forgive them and also yourself.
Forgiveness can’t be pushed. We forgive when we’re ready and when it comes from the bottom of our heart. It doesn’t matter how many times you want to convince yourself that you’ve forgiven because if you don’t mean it at the deepest levels, it’s not true forgiveness.
So you have to integrate your knowledge of forgiving and letting go of your past into embodied wisdom which means to become forgiving.
As you may guess, this takes time and practice. Therefore, it can seem like you take one step forward and a few steps back. But I want to tell you to hold on.
If you keep repeating the same mistakes, it’s a sign that you haven’t embodied what you’ve learned.
The lessons are still not over, and you need to turn deeper within yourself.
Once you embody your lessons (become free-spirited, forgiving, etc.) the reoccurring situations disappear from your life. Or better said, they don’t control you anymore.
It might seem like too much work, but I want you to understand that not just what you can do it but you’re here to integrated your lessons in your life.
Don’t give up
When you repeat the mistakes, commit to recognizing what they’re here to teach you and then little by little start acting on them.
Remember, that we all have our blind spots. We’re all (or at least a vast majority of us) in all four stages at once.
The life is a process, and there is always room to grow. If there weren’t, we wouldn’t have to be here in the first place so keep looking inward and acting on what you’ve learned.
It will all come together. I promise. You can do it!