“What is the lesson?”
The older I get, the more I have come to realize something: that each person who has come into my life has taught me a lesson about myself. Whether it was the clerk at the grocery store that was taking her sweet time to ring up the person in front of me, or another driver who cut me off in standstill traffic, or a romantic partner who ended up hurting me, I see that all of these people have come into my life for a reason.
After I sat down and thought about all the “coincidental” times people have come into my life and had an impact on me, I realized how important each person I meet truly is. They all have the opportunity to change my life—if I would just see the lesson that’s in front of me.
When we encounter the same kind of people over and over again, it isn’t a coincidence. It is time to reflect and ask ourselves, “What can I learn about myself? What has brought them into my life? What is this lesson?” Maybe you’ll discover the lesson is that you need to listen to your intuition or forgive or have patience. Through your interactions, through your relationships, there is always something to learn from other people.
Even when we are in the midst of a heated argument or feeling hurt by another, that person on the other side is there to teach us something about ourselves. And it isn’t the easiest realization to accept. Sometimes, our closest relationships produce the most challenging lessons to be learned. It is easy to be loving when someone is being loving back, but the true test is when someone hits our triggers in just the right way. In those instances, we want to react with anger or fear—but in that moment is where we will find the lesson.
Going forward, I challenge you to examine each of your relationships and ask the same question: “What is the lesson?” If we knew each person was in our lives for a reason—that we can learn from them and they can help us grow—I think we would treat each other a little differently.
These are some of the steps I take to look within, truly appreciate each person who comes into my life and clarify the lesson I am meant to learn:
1) Reflect. Write down the feelings you get when you are around this person, both negative and positive. Really ponder what the Universe is trying to teach you about yourself through this person.
2) Get clear. The voice that’s telling you to stay in the relationship or save face is usually your ego. It isn’t your true authentic self. And when we listen to our egos, we can’t be clear on what the lesson truly is. One of my favorite mantras for battling the ego is, “I hear you, ego, but I don’t believe you.” Quieting the ego will allow you to look within and listen to your authentic self in order to discover the lesson this person is presenting.
3) Learn the lesson. Once you reflect on your feelings and gain clarity, you have reached the most important step: learning the lesson that’s right in front of you. That may involve cutting negative people out of your life, forgiving a loved one for not always being there or simply having compassion for strangers. Whatever it is, take that lesson to heart and live it out—or you will see it come up again and again until it is realized. It can take years for some lessons to really sink in, but the more we are aware and clear about why people come into our lives, the more we can grow to become the best versions of ourselves.
Have you ever considered why someone has come into your life? What lesson did that person teach you?