Are you doing the same things repeatedly? If so, you are not alone. There are some excellent reasons. See which of these factors are behind these occurrences in your own life.
Repeating The Same Mistake?
Chances are, the reasons you are repeating unpleasant experiences fall into one or more of these categories. Since we are creatures of habit, it is easy for us to fall into these patterns. It could be you are repeating a cycle of poor decision-making, or perhaps it’s something more significant, like an important life lesson. It could even be because we have an addiction of some sort. Let’s explore the possibilities.
“You know the saying: he who doesn’t understand history is doomed to repeat it. And when it’s repeated, the stakes are doubled.” ― Pittacus Lore, I Am Number Four
Repeating the Same Things Over and Over?
It is often easier for us to see when someone else is committing the error. It is helpful for us to enhance our inward observational skills to watch our behaviors. If we do this, we can catch ourselves in the thinking phase and prevent an error in judgment.
Even if we do not monitor our thoughts, the subconscious or the universe has another way to get our attention. Let’s look at this mechanism next.
The Experience of Déjà Vu
It is the feeling you’ve experienced something for the second time. It’s like you have lived through this exact situation before. If time is constant, then this is impossible. But we know “time” has its quirks. When we dream, we can experience events in a non-linear fashion, even in reverse.
When we realize we have this kind of experience, it often involves reliving mundane or routine situations that suddenly become significant. It is something out of the ordinary that grips our attention.
When we have these experiences, they aren’t generally due to an error or mistake in judgment. Some cultures place a great deal of importance on these experiences. There are two primary schools of thought about these Eureka experiences. First, your subconscious is trying to get your attention by drawing similarities in your experience. The reasons for this wake-up call vary from a warning to avoid making the same mistake.
“Déjà vu is more than just that fleeting moment of surprise, instantly forgotten because we never bother with things that make no sense. It shows that time doesn’t pass. It’s a leap into something we have already experienced and that is being repeated.” ― Paulo Coelho, Aleph
Or perhaps it’s a way to get us to focus on the present moment. The second theory is that this “Eureka” experience is evidence of alternate realities overlapping. Perhaps there is some truth in both points of view. There could be some other reasons for this pattern of experience. Let’s look at a few more possibilities.
Life is mainly about lessons, but it also involves mistakes. So, assume you haven’t learned the lesson. Even though the experience you are having is unpleasant, there’s a lesson in it somewhere. It’s possible, too, that the Universe is arranging another learning opportunity to make sure you get the message. Whenever you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, ask yourself the question, “What Is the lesson?” Why am I repeating the same things over and over? Am I repeating the same mistake?
Sometimes the Eureka or Déjà vu revelation helps you grasp the reason. So, learning the reason for the experience makes it possible to change the situation. You are still repeating lessons with the same negative experience, but now you finally grasp what you needed to know.
Another curious thing is that we all repeat many lessons, but this isn’t because we are “bad” or deserve it. It’s that life is all about learning. It’s a significant aspect of this “great spiritual experiment.”
For example, many life’s instructions revolve around loss and attachment issues. So, there are plenty of opportunities for repeating lessons. Why? No one knows for sure.
It is too bad someone didn’t tell us we’d be repeating the same mistakes until we learn the underlying reason. Sometimes these things revolve around painful major life-changing events, and there are always several minor ones that follow. Life is all about lessons. A good strategy is to set a reminder on your smartphone to ask yourself, “What Is the lesson?”. Reminding yourself brings your attention to focus, and this will help direct your awareness toward the bigger picture, where you will notice patterns and lessons.
Addiction is one of the root causes of repeating the same things over and over. There probably isn’t any hidden message here. It is the response to addiction. We are all prone to addictive behavior because we are creatures of habit. We know we are repeating the same mistake, yet we do it anyway.
“We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.” ― Santosh Kalwar, Quote Me Everyday
There are far many more things that are addictive than people realize. Addiction is why people like skydiving, scary movies, and amusement parks. They all have the same common habit of adrenaline.
It’s simple. We enjoy the adrenalin rush we get from the terror of monsters. It triggers the “fight or flight” response increasing the heart rate, and this signals the adrenal glands to release cortisol, adrenaline, and glucose. It is a fear-induced “high.” Here, fear becomes the motive for controlling decisions. It compels people to repeat the experience as an addiction to a fear-induced high. It’s the same as the addiction to drugs and the same chronic compulsion.
This same addictive force draws us to certain types of people. We may know nothing about their background, and we may not even be physically attracted to them. But they draw us to them all the same. It’s only later that we discover some familiarity with them. After we get to know them, we realize a deeper connection. It might be a personality type, personality dysfunction, or similar life history. It’s something we’ve we’ve encountered before, and it pulls us back because it is familiar, even if it is harmful. Ask yourself some questions; what Is the lesson? Why am I repeating the same mistake?
We are all susceptible to addictive behaviors, some of us because of our life history. Some of us are susceptible to specific things because of our personality and instincts. So, we recommend the use of the Enneagram Personality Profile. This tool uses a questionnaire to identify your default personality and instinctual settings.
“When you repeat a mistake, it isn’t a mistake anymore, it’s a decision.” ― Paulo Coelho
As a result, the Enneagram will give you a comprehensive picture of your internal thought processes and values. The Enneagram will help explain the processes that drive specific desires and value judgments. It will lead you to an understanding of why you are repeating lessons. And, this is precisely the information you need to develop healthy coping strategies. Hence, you learn to steer yourself toward healthy thoughts and behaviors. The goal is to understand the difference between the lesson and the addictive compulsions driven by our life history or personality.
Third, repeating bad experiences can become a strategy for inspiration. Repetition is a tactic to spark creativity. Using some stimulus to heighten emotions is another way. You can’t get a higher source of mental stimulation than emotional pain or pleasure. And, since people know what causes their pain, they return to it. Reliving experiences of emotional distress become a tool for inspiration. It is not a healthy way to find inspiration, but it works.
“But inspiration is still sitting there right beside me, and it is trying. Inspiration is trying to send me messages in every form it can—through dreams, through portents, through clues, through coincidences, through déjà vu, through kismet, through surprising waves of attraction and reaction, through the chills that run up my arms, through the hair that stands up on the back of my neck, through the pleasure of something new and surprising, through stubborn ideas that keep me awake all night long . . . whatever works. Inspiration is always trying to work with me.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Misusing alcohol and drugs as sources of inspiration is also a standard tool. Using alcohol and drugs, for any reason, becomes a slippery slope. Our commercially oriented culture doesn’t help. It drives artists to create on-demand. So, when inspiration doesn’t come naturally, they need additives to speed the creative process. But the “drive to create” can become an addiction. So, the initial reason for taking mind-altering substances is to open up the creative source, but it becomes a debilitating addiction.
People often commission artists to create specific content on a schedule. Constraints on the content and deadline put immense pressure on the creative process. It is hard to conjure creativity on-demand. Some people argue that we have such glorious music from the 1960s and 70s because the record companies gave drugs to their artists. This type of drug abuse led directly to the demise of many artists.
Art can be an excellent vehicle “in and of itself.” The path to greater creativity is creating more art. However, inspiration comes at its own pace. Almost every artist goes through slumps when creative energy is absent. Creative inspiration is sometimes fleeting. We strongly suggest you seek positive sources of inspiration that do not have harmful side effects.
If we are repeating the same things over and over, there’s a reason for it. Déjà vu events help us identify them. It could be our subconscious ringing a bell or the universe reaching out to guide us. The point is we need to narrow down the reason. We need to ask two essential questions. What is the lesson? Or, why am I repeating the same mistake? Am I missing the learning opportunity, so I must repeat the experience, or am I following an addiction? Find out which of these reasons resonate with the particular life experience. Then take steps to either find the lesson or break the habitual pattern that leads to the poor decision.
Many times we fall down the slippery slope because we subject to religious indoctrination that programs harmful scripts. So, losing your faith in imaginary friends is the best thing that could happen.
Thanks for reading this article. We welcome your opinion, so don’t hesitate to comment or email us. We hope it provides some food for thought. You can find more mind-opening topics on our blog.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia