How often have you found yourself feeling like you’re retracing your steps, going through the same motions over and over, and yet still getting nowhere? Rest assured, we’ve all been there, and it isn’t a good feeling.
Taking the circuitous route and dancing to the beat of our own drum can make us question and doubt ourselves. No one understands us, no one is doing what we’re doing, and this makes us wonder if we really are getting it all wrong and wasting our time.
But taking the long way has its rewards if you take time to shift your perception and recognize them. Here are four reasons why foregoing the short path and easy path can be the most rewarding.
You Are On Multiple Journeys
The road to success, fulfillment, and satisfaction is rarely walked in a straight line so when you find yourself running in place or circling the same track over and over again, focus on what you’re gaining from the experience.
Many times we stay stuck in patterns because we’re not ready for what comes next on our journey: an emotional upheaval, a test of bravery, potential overwhelm from getting what we actually think we want. When we view the long way instead of the more direct route through the lens of multiple journeys, we learn to appreciate where we’ve been and what we’re learning and in doing so, hopefully, take more of that learning and make use of it as we continue forward.
Lessons Are Sometimes Learned “the Hard Way”
Ending up lost in the proverbial woods is rarely looked at as a good thing, but the next time you’re feeling lost, stuck, or going in a circle, ask yourself what lesson you’re supposed to be learning here.
Lessons show up in our lives (sometimes repeatedly) because we haven’t learned them and for us to really get those lessons on a deep level, we need to be faced with similar challenges multiple times. This goes hand in hand with being on multiple journeys; lessons can certainly be learned, but maybe you need to learn them both physically and emotionally before you can move forward into the next stage of growth.
Instead of looking at the time it’s taking to learn these lessons as lost or wasted time, look instead at what you’re gaining: time to practice new skills, time to recognize where things are and aren’t working, and time to reflect on the deeper reasons you’re striving toward your goal in the first place.
Experiences Are Mirrors That Show You Your True Self
If you think of walking familiar terrain as an upward spiral instead of a useless retread, you’ll realize that each experience you’ve had has given you the opportunity to look at yourself. Whether you take that opportunity is up to you, but each challenge, success, or encounter along the road is a mirror that shows you your true self.
How have you reacted to challenges and setbacks? How have you changed your response when faced with the new and unknown? How have you integrated the lessons you’ve learned and how have all these things changed your course?
Relationships (including the one you have with yourself) function as mirrors. Your image is a collection of experiences, perspectives, expectations, and hopes that come from the past and present, and by using those, you perceive the future. Continuing to rush forward without taking time to glance in the mirror may be why you repeat the same patterns over and over again. Taking time to reflect, literally and figuratively, can reward you with insight, wisdom, and help get you moving forward again.
Your Perspective Can Change – for the Better
One of the greatest rewards of being on multiple journeys, learning lessons the hard way, and taking time to use experiences as mirrors is that it teaches you to appreciate perspective. Having walked the longer road, you’ve learned more about yourself, others, and your situation than you would have if you had taken the express lane.
Perspective can teach you to appreciate; look at the hard-earned knowledge you now have both about yourself and your situation. Look at what you thought was important and in fact, turned out to not be so important. Think back to the stops along that road and the characters you encountered: what did they teach you, what did you discover about yourself that you never knew, what would you now go back and willingly experience again?
The next time you find yourself revisiting familiar ground, don’t automatically question or doubt yourself, but instead, embrace the journey. By remembering (and celebrating!) that you’re on multiple journeys, the lessons you need to learn may feel hard but are actually for your benefit, and encounters along the way are mirrors to help you see yourself in new ways, you’re perspective will change. Keep dancing to the beat of your own drum even if you find yourself alone on the road; new opportunities you never thought possible are just around the corner.