Did you ever watch the same movie a second time even though you knew the ending was tragic and sad? If you feel for the main character in the film, watching the movie the second time can be a painful experience especially if you find yourself wishing that this time everything could work out instead of watching the tragic ending all over again. Another similar real life example would be witnessing a young person who you care about follow a course that you know ends up in a bad place, like failing in school or getting in trouble with the law at an early age. Maybe from your own experience you know how the story of that “movie” ends.
What about you? Are you following some kind of proverbial “script” that common sense may say will likely lead to an unhappy ending? Obviously there are exceptions to every rule when someone follows an unwise or unhealthy life course but it still works out okay (Like for instance the 95 year old woman who smoked 2 packs of cigarettes per day for her whole life and never got cancer) Still, using common sense (which at times ain’t too common) and being honest with yourself, try to think about how some of these all too common stories end:
Johnny struggled with alcohol use problems for decades but now after a solid period of abstinence says he is going to go out with the boys again to the bar and just drink sodas
Sally finally kicked intravenous heroin and has been sober for 3 months but she convinces herself that she is just going to sniff a bag now and then just to relax and that’s it
Mary has been broken up with her on again off again boyfriend who emotionally abused and cheated on repeatedly for years but she is considering meeting up with him again because he swears that “this time he’s changed”
Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “I get it but those types of things can’t happen to me, I know better than those people” and hopefully that is true. Still, many of us have at least one challenging life struggle or experience in which we may have put our hand in the fire repeatedly before we were fully convinced that we would get burned, only to still do it again a few more times anyway before we really learned our lesson.
With all of this in mind, trying to be as honest, insightful, open and self-aware as possible, discuss some of the following:
PAST – Do you have a life experience from your past in which you may have neglected to see the signs or fail to listen to the advice of others, telling you that you were headed in the wrong direction?
(Example – “When I was a kid, everyone told me to put more effort into school and stop hanging with people who got into trouble and now as an adult I feel like I could have been much better off if I had just listened back then)
PRESENT – Is there a life area now that you may be struggling with in which you have a sense of concern about where things may be headed but you are having difficulty changing anyway?
(Examples – “I get so depressed over how much debt I am in, but then I still keep on spending and wasting money anyway and it just gets worse and worse” – “I have a pattern of getting into bad relationships over and over again and as I keep promising myself I won’t do it again but then I find a new one and it starts all over”)
FUTURE – Comparing your current life circumstances to a movie, what can you do now in order to increase the likelihood that your current situation has a happier ending?