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Move the Cereal Box or Choose a New Direction

If you keep doing the same thing and getting nowhere, isn't it time to try something else?

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It’s human nature to repeat patterns of behaviour, especially when it involves unresolved emotional issues that are just lying there waiting for us to trip over them again and again. It’s not even a conscious choice. It’s like we’re on auto-pilot with old tapes playing in our subconscious minds, driving us to try again, make it work, get it right, or correct the mistake, and playing not-so-quietly in the background is a constant loop of “maybe this time, maybe this time, maybe this time.”

Whether those unresolved issues are rooted in childhood or more recent experiences (or both), unless and until there is real healing and resolution of them we continue to play out those original traumas, the painful incidents that have left us wounded or broken. We cannot escape the inherent need to put them right. 

This is why we keep finding ourselves in the same kinds of situations and facing the same problems again and again. They might wear different clothes, or come in a different shape or size but whatever the mask or disguise might be, what lies underneath is always the same. And there we are, “in it” yet again.

It’s like being one of those tiny plastic wind-up toys that walks. You fish it out of the cereal box, wind it up and set it on the kitchen table. Staring straight ahead, it walks, walks, walks, oblivious to the box in its path until it smacks right into it. Its little legs are still moving but it’s not going anywhere. 

(Photo courtesy of OpenClipart-Vectors at Pixabay)

You pick it up, put it back at its “start” position, and it walks, walks, walks, still not seeing the box that is directly in its path, and then it slams into it yet again. Little legs are still moving, and still not getting anywhere.

As long as you keep it wound up, and you continue to move it back to its “start” position and set it in the same direction, this will happen over and over again. Only when you remove the cereal box, or when you set the toy down in a new direction will you get a different result.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been that little toy way too many times. And I don’t intend to smack into that cereal box ever again.

If you don’t want to be that little toy again either, there’s only one way to avoid it. You have to dive into the reasons why you keep choosing the familiar and unsatisfying patterns that keep you stuck.

Of course, the unfamiliar can be scary. Better the devil that you know than the one you don’t, right? Part of being human is that we tend to stick with what we know, even if it isn’t working for us because we fear the unknown. It might be worse to do something new, so we prefer to stick to the uncomfortable, unhealthy habits and choices that don’t allow us to progress and find happiness.

But if you truly want to be happy, if you want your life to be better, the only way to get there is to allow yourself to experience the discomfort of change, of stretching and growing and trying something new.

Look, you’ve got two choices: Stay stuck and miserable, unfulfilled and wishing your life was better, or face your fear and insist on finding a way to be happy.

Hm. Seems a no-brainer to me.

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