I’ve been contemplating the saying - “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” (attributed to Einstein). I often see the memes on social media and it always rubs me the wrong way. In my experience, doing the same thing over and over may not be ideal, but it can bring about learning, growth, and healing. The key is (like anything else) to do it consciously.
For example, six months ago I made a choice that could fit the insanity definition – I went back to a relationship that ended 6 years prior. I had done so much healing in that time that I was curious to see how it would affect the dynamics of our relationship. I had a more objective and compassionate view of what had played out for us previously. I could see where my past core wounding and fears of abandonment caused me to behave in ways that weren’t beneficial to me or to the relationship. I thought that things might be different now because I was different now.
This was a risky endeavor and I didn’t go into this with my eyes closed. I knew that the old triggers would surface and if they did, it would give me another opportunity to work through them and release them. That’s exactly what happened and it was very healing for me. I was able to communicate my feelings constructively instead of out of reactivity and defensiveness. If I were with a new partner, I wouldn’t have been able to experience this growth and clarity in the same way. It was so clear to me because I had so much history with this man. In this case, the “insanity” had clearly paid off for me.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), that didn’t mean that the relationship was successful. Although I was on this healing/growth journey, he was not. I knew this going in, but wasn’t sure how that would play out in the relationship. Would the fact that I had changed the way I manage myself and my emotions have any influence on him? It did not. Since he wasn’t willing to work on his stuff, he continued to play out the same patterns, and this time, I wasn’t willing to play along.
My relationship with him has been karmic in the sense that we were together to learn and grow from each other. He has been my school, my teacher. Unbeknownst to him, he taught me to trust myself and my intuition, and to finally acknowledge what I want and deserve in a relationship. This has been one of the hardest lessons for me and it is so satisfying to see the fruits of my labor. I had the opportunity to experience the same relationship from a higher consciousness. What a gift!
To be clear, I’m not suggesting this for others if your heart isn’t calling you to do so. Ultimately, the goal is to learn from a situation and move on. But sometimes life isn’t as cut and dried as we’d like it to be and that is what I would like to emphasize here. We need to be careful to judge and label anything as “insanity” or otherwise. There is always a purpose to the choices that we make and the experiences that we have. We just have to get curious to find it. Self-reflection leads to self-awareness, which leads to higher consciousness, which leads to healing, and the ability to make new choices. This is how we empower ourselves as we move through the journey of life.
There are many spiritual memes out there that are steeped in judgment and “shoulds.” There are no “shoulds.” Only you know what is right for you. We are all unique spiritual beings living this human experience and there are no mistakes, no failures. There is no advice we should follow other than that of our own soul. Let go of the judgment and fear of failure because in a higher consciousness, neither exist.
Follow the trail of your feelings and get curious about where they come from. They have a story to tell and it might just be one that you’d like to let go of. There is no right or wrong and you have the power to choose what is true for you. Always ask, “what can I learn from this situation?” Find the opportunity for learning, growth, and healing, no matter how many tries it takes. Never give up. Each trip around the spiral of life allows you learn a little more, and before you know it, you’ll be living the life of your dreams.