Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I’m just a damn fool. Does this saying sound familiar? Well at least the first two statements. Maybe I might have embellished the third a little. Often this saying comes about when someone has done us wrong, or when we may have been naive to a situation maybe quite more than we should have been. This saying implicates that at some point we should learn from past experiences and make better decisions. In fact there are many sayings that implicate this lesson. “You know better, you do better”, “Study the past if you would define the future”, “You live and you learn”, etc. However, let’s be completely honest. Learning from your past is often a lot easier said than done. Well, at least I know for me it is, and it seems as if it shouldn’t be that hard right? You would think naturally you wouldn’t want to repeat something or enter into something again that hurts you, or embarasses you, or leads to failure. Especially when you have experiences that have proven to you, the end result will do just that. So why do we as human beings, as beautiful, strong, intelligent women of color repeat, relive, re-inhale, toxicness. Comfort? Fear? Insecurity? Honest Ignorance? Maybe a little of all of those components if not more. So how do we move forward, and let our pasts teach us lessons that reinforce and push our success and greatness? Well Let’s talk about some ways that may help.
Stop Ignoring Red Flags!!!!
As women we must admit that we do this often, so often, it’s even safe to say that we ignore red flags almost all the time. Especially when it comes to romantic relationships, because he/she is cute and their smile gives you butterflies, or even just because you’ve been alone for too long. However, I don’t want to focus on relationships. This concept can be applied to more than just relationships. To jobs, to accepting gifts, to even something as simple as buying a dress. Women have an intuition that tell us when something isn’t right, or doesn’t feel like it is an honest and good decision. In order to be better, we have to STOP ignoring red flags.
It’s okay to be uncomfortable
I think another reason it’s so easy to fall into the same cycle and make the same mistakes is because along with it comes two positive aspects: familiarity and comfort. Funny how that works isn’t it? There’s a past event or incident that hurts us, makes us feel awful, yet when it resurfaces in the future it provides some sort of subconscious comfort. TEMPORARILY. A TEMPORARY familiar comfort. For example we’ve all been faced with that situation whether or not to buy the dress that we can and cannot afford, and will probably be best if we left it on the rack. We remember the last time that we bought the dress looking at our bank account and thinking, “dang it, I really didn’t need that dress”. Yet here we are again looking at the dress and telling ourselves don’t try it on, it’s out of your budget, remember the last time we bought the dress. However, if we don’t we are left with a little bit of anxiety right, and self doubt. We want to know what that dress looks us on us, we don’t like doubting ourselves, so you know what, let’s just try it on. Doesn’t mean we have to buy it right? At least we won’t feel regret. So, we try it on, and of course we look amazing in it and next thing you know we are sacrificing a well balanced meal for top ramen and this dress till the next paycheck. Or again is this just me? Ok, I’ll take it deeper. Going back to an ex. Often this doesn’t pan out to our advantage. We know our ex’s, and we know when they’re full of shit, and we know that our feelings will probably end up getting hurt again, however it’s comfortable and familiar. The pleasant feeling of comfort and familiarity put us back in a cycle and prevents us from moving forward and learning from the past. It’s okay to be uncomfortable
My final point: There’s nothing wrong with a little confrontation
I personally think that in order to learn from our past, and to grow from our past, we have to confront our past. This has always been the hardest for me. I hate confrontation, and will avoid it at all costs. This point coincides with my second point of being uncomfortable. Confrontation can be very uncomfortable, however it can also be very necessary. I think this concept of confrontation is especially necessary when the past really isn’t the past. What I mean when I say this is, is when the past is a family member, or a job that we are currently still facing everyday and also are being affected by it negatively. It’s hard to learn from the past when the past is the present. This idea may not make sense, because technically it’s not the past when it’s the present right? Wrong. Something in the past initiated and fostered the ill relationship on this job or with this family member. The problem did not manifest itself out of nowhere. The problem may still reside because maybe it has never been confronted. Maybe it was put to the side and accepted because this family member is a parent and this job is the only thing putting food on your table and a roof on you head. Well I’m a firm believer that you can say almost anything, it’s how and where you say it. There’s nothing wrong with confronting your past to have some peace, be a better person, or provide yourself a better quality of life.
I hope these small tips can at the very least trigger a voice in your head the next time you find yourself faced with the past and trying to learn from it. Remember, Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I’m a damn fool.
By Jewell Copeland