So often I hear people say things such as:
- I wish I had done this (whatever “this” is) a long time ago
- I wish I had met him/her years ago
- Why didn’t I listen to so-and-so when they suggested I do this?
Usually, when I hear people saying these things, they are saying them with regret, convinced that if they had done something, known something or met someone, their life would have been so much better than it was.
The universe gives us exactly what we need at the exact moment we need it so that we have the greatest opportunity to learn and grow. Presented too early, we might not have the maturity and insight to even recognize the life lesson, let alone act on it. Presented too late, we may have already moved past that particular life lesson and be working on the next one.
If for some reason we don’t learn the lesson presented to us, the universe tries again at a different time. This is why you see some people experiencing a similar situation time and time again. Until we get the lesson, we are given multiple opportunities to learn and practice.
Once we learn the life lesson, new people and opportunities can enter our life because we are now ready to fully embrace them.
For example, one of my clients has been having a difficult time at work. Her boss was creating a very stressful environment that was impacting my client’s health. Every day, my client’s personal boundaries were breached because of the toxic work environment, yet she didn’t say or do anything about it.
We talked about the need for her to stand up for herself, but to do so in a manner that would cause her boss to be open to the message instead of becoming defensive. She practiced what she wanted to say, and, when the opportunity presented itself at work, she took it. She shared with her boss how her boss’ actions were impacting her ability to work. Her boss took the feedback to heart and made some changes.
Today, my client’s work environment is much better.
Would my client’s work environment have been better if she spoke up sooner? Possibly, but I’m not certain. There were two life lessons my client needed to learn in this situation: to stand up for herself and to do so in a non-emotional manner so that the message could be heard. If she hadn’t learned these two lessons, the outcome could have been very different. For example, she could have spoken up, but done so from a highly emotional and charged state – which could have actually increased the stress and tension at work. Or, she could have released the emotions associated with the situation, but never spoke up, setting herself up for repeated cycles of the unwelcome environment. Either way, she would not have had the positive outcome that she did by learning these life lessons. Not surprisingly, these two life lessons will be critical to my client as she finds ways to incorporate her life purpose into her day-to-day life.
So, how can you tell if you’re missing an opportunity to learn a life lesson?
The easiest way is to take a look at your life and see if you tend to experience the same situation or patterns over and over again. Are you continually having trouble with your boss, coworkers, friends or family members? Do your romantic relationships all end the same way? Do you get to a certain point when working toward a goal and then get stuck? These could all be indicators for you.
How has the universe shown you that you have an opportunity to learn and grow?