“No matter what I do, this always happens to me.  I just don’t get it!”  When someone says this to me I know it’s the queue to look at the pattern.  Yes, I commiserate because I’m human and I have/do/am experiencing the same type of stuckness and frustration.  I have lived through the “try everything” to resolve the issue life, becoming more and more obsessed and realizing that the one thing I’ve said no to, the one thing I discounted as being obviously not it, it exactly it.  *face palm*  I have survived the “the thing you’re looking for will always be in the last place you look” law of life with a 100% success rate.

But from that experience I’ve come to realize that the universe conspiring against us is a rare thing.  It happens, I’m not saying it doesn’t, but not as often as it’s blamed.  When things are “always like that” it’s usually because of us, not them.  Something else I’ve noticed over time that I find interesting.  When people realize it’s them and that there is something they need to learn or change, they rarely see the actual lesson or behavior that’s the problem.  At least, they don’t pick that first time out.  They will say they need to go inside and discover the underlying problem or that they know they just need to try harder or they need to step back and take another look at it.

To which I say, “Really?  But haven’t you done that before?”  And they will look at me startled because of course they have.  So not only are they repeating behaviors and expecting a different result, when they don’t get it they goto a brick wall, beat their head against it and expect to get clarity.  Awesome.

So here’s the thing:  after I commiserate over the inequities of life and the suckage of the situation, I tend to point out the obvious.  Like “Have you tried not doing it that way?” Or “Have you tried making a different assumption?”  or “Have you considered spending a little bit more to get what will really work?”  or “Have you thought about the fact that all the effort you’re not valuing your time or effort in the situation but others are?”   I do this because the answer to the issue is usually pretty darn practical and common sensical.  It’s emotional to them because it wouldn’t have persisted this long if it weren’t somehow tied to something they identify with.  If it didn’t match who they think they are or what they feel they deserve, they wouldn’t put themselves through it day after day, year after year.  They’d change their behavior in a heartbeat.

Dont kill the messengerWhich is why some of these things are the hardest to fix.  Because in some way the process and the end result is serving the person.  It’s doing something for them or they wouldn’t pursue it, stay in it, continue participating in it.  But sometimes pointing out the actual issue can at least show them the door and make them realize they are holding the key.  Doesn’t make you a hero though.  If you want to know how these conversations end, just think about the adage “Kill the messenger.”  *sigh*  Why do I bother again?  Because it’s always like this when I try to help people…..