I am coming to the reluctant acceptance that when things seem to keep coming back around in my life, it's generally because I need it... I've been saying this for years, but I don't think I had completely accepted it. I firmly believe that EVERY experience carries a lesson that we need, that our souls need, to evolve. But I am also a bit hard-headed (okay, maybe A LOT). So I don't always accept that lesson the first time around. Often times, I think that I have accepted it. I think that I've learned and I intend to apply that lesson, but some part of myself is in resistance, and I find myself back in the same place all over again.

Does this happen to you? Have you ever thought you learned your lesson and then found yourself in the exact same place again? Banging your head against the wall and wondering, "Why does this keep happening to me?" I think it happens to all of us. Being as I am of the belief that we create our experience, the answer is always a resounding - something more to learn. And maybe the truth of the matter is, that the same experience can offer many lessons. Maybe you did learn what was there for you last time, and maybe that prepared you in some way for a deeper lesson this time around.

You are right where you need to be. Perhaps with fresher eyes this time. Perhaps with a broader or deeper perspective. Instead of banging your head against the wall, just take a few breaths, sit back, and ask:

"What is this experience bringing me?"

Be open for the answer. It may not be exactly what you would expect, but there is always an opportunity for growth there.

"What is different this time?"

It may seem like you are crashing into the same undesired wall (or emotional experience), but there is likely something a bit different this time. Maybe it's showing up in a new area of your life (personal as opposed to professional). Maybe the people are different. Maybe your sense of support is different. Maybe there are different resources available. Maybe you are different! Perhaps you have greater confidence or skill or resilience or emotional balance or deeper insight than the last time! I recommend using it!

"What within myself is bringing up these feelings?"

I am coming to realize that while the immediate situation itself may be less than ideal, when I find myself in this frustrated head-banging type of place, I am generally carrying s$%^ from the past into the present situation. I am letting the current experience dredge up some stuff that I probably thought I dealt with and released years ago... and I allow that to amplify my current reaction. It is important to separate experiences from the past that may have brought similar feelings from the current experience. It is important to set that s#$% down and ask honestly, "What am I looking at right now? And how am I allowing THAT to create these feelings?" Maybe it's rational, maybe it's not. Either way is acceptable. You may need to communicate how you feel with others involved in order to move through it. You may just need to reflect on your own. Figure out what you need to feel better, and don't be afraid to ask for it or go get it!

"Where is the new opening to embrace and integrate these lessons?"

Perhaps you thought you had learned the lesson, but you weren't really applying it yet. Maybe there's an action you need to take to support this lesson on a deeper level. Maybe it's just a new way of looking at it or separating from it... not letting it define you. Maybe there is an opportunity to accept and recognize in what way you may be drawing this experience in to your reality, so that you can create something better. Which brings me to...

"What boundaries might I need to set to establish what I want to create for myself?"

Personally, I hate boundaries. They feel like definitions which in my opinion are limiting, and we all know how I feel about limits! I don't advocate setting concrete boundaries that will end up making you feel bad should you decide to adjust them later like "If this happens, then that" or "If you ever do this, I will leave" or "Never cross my fence." The reason for that being that s&^% happens, things generally don't go as we expect, we all make mistakes, fences do have gates, and I believe anything is workable. No matter what happens, there is ALWAYS a way to work through it IF we WANT to! (You don't HAVE to) But if you know how you are feeling, and you know that you don't want to feel that way, it is important to be clear about what you need to feel the way you WANT to feel in your life. How can you reframe the situation to change the feelings? What do you want to talk about? What do you want someone else to understand or acknowledge? If you feel that someone else is doing this to you, making you feel this way, are they aware of their role in it? Have you asked them for anything different? Have you been clear about what you want from them? There are times in life when the best option may be to walk away, but it's important to be sure you are communicating clearly before making that decision. And can you establish the feelings you want within yourself without that other person? Because, honestly, it shouldn't depend on them... Reaffirm what I am betting you already know about yourself. You are beautiful. You are whole. You are valuable. Be clear about what may be making you feel otherwise, and be willing to ask for the respect you deserve (which can be defined any way that you like). Maybe you want a raise or some recognition or some appreciation or some help or some honesty... whatever it is - ASK FOR IT! And if you are not getting these things from other people also be willing to recognize where you may not giving these things to yourself...

"Where am I not giving what I need to myself?"

The final and the hardest question! You've recognized how you feel. You've acknowledge what you need to feel differently. Now ask, "How can I give these things to myself?" Chances are, if the world is not giving you the experience you feel you deserve, on some level you are not telling yourself you deserve it! You may not be setting the best example of how you want to be treated. If other people are slashing your boundaries... if you feel walked on... like wall-to-wall carpet... how are you not reflecting your own value, your own worth? Are you over-extending? Are you over-accommodating? Are you doubting your own value in any way? Are you silently giving more than you have to give again and again? Take the time to do what you need for you! Meditate, walk, take a bath, do whatever you need to do to get in touch with your own worth and take care of you. And STOP doing more than you think you should! Quit hopping over that fence! It's okay to use the gate sometimes... And when you do, be clear that you are doing it. Say, "I am doing this now because, but in the future it would be best if you..." Again, boundaries are not finite, once in awhile it's okay to go through the fence... but don't let it go unacknowledged and don't make it a consistent habit! Recenter, regroup, reaffirm, and be clear about what you WANT. When you set this example, people who can respect it will begin showing up in your life. (Some of them are probably already in it)