It never ceases to amaze me how many people seem to have the same dramas over and over in their lives and never realise that there is a single common factor each time. Surely, a simple examination of what has happened in those events would lead anyone able to tie their own shoes to the conclusion that the common factor is at least part of the cause.
Recently I noticed a facebook friend had frequent complaints of how people weren't there for her, she never had any money and was always sick with terrible migraines and what she was sure was a neurological problem. From a distance admittedly, I was having my suspicions about what the causes were, but they were confirmed when people who knew her better staged an intervention and made it public. She's an alcoholic who gets sick when going through withdrawals. She takes advantage of people who then get sick of her crap.
However, she's in complete denial. Everyone else is the problem and the world is against her.
A teenage girl of my acquaintance has the same sorts of things. It's always the same drama, just the supporting roles are played by different people. At what point will she realise that her choices and the types of people she surrounds herself with are the cause?
Now if you stick a fork in an electrical socket, you learn not to do that again. Why is it that when given the equivalent electric shock of having your choices or behaviour repeatedly called out doesn't ever seem to teach the same lesson?
It really doesn't matter how right you convince yourself you are, if the same dramas keep happening in your life, it's something you are doing. You are the common factor.
If you keep putting yourself out for other people, unsolicited, then you should expect that it's not going to be very well received and that you won't be respected for it. In my experience, most of the time, it's interfering, not even remotely being helpful, regardless of what you tell yourself. The people who do it might have the best of intentions on the surface, but there's usually also a sense of superiority that goes with it. For the most part, such 'help' is often rude and unwanted.
You might bleat about how you've made sacrifices and are disappointed because your expectations weren't met. If those sacrifices weren't requested or required, if you were just assuming that you knew best what other people wanted or needed, then that's all your own fault. This isn't people taking advantage of your generosity or good nature. I personally do not respond well to other people's expectations of me if I have made no commitment to meet those expectations - and often, I'm completely unaware of those expectations until I'm being bitched at about them.
This is just people, you might say. Silly people. And I'd agree. But this disappoints me more in Witches and Magicians.
Now I'm not saying that we're any better or different, we are human first with all the beauties and failings that go with that. However, with any serious magical path there is usually a lot of reflection, self-examination and looking for cause and effect. Self-honesty is important (in my opinion) to magic, because if you're not honest with yourself about your true deep down motivations and intent, then you're setting your work up for failure and unexpected results. It's something I heard early on in my Witchcraft journey and I took to heart at the time and have had no reason to remove it from my praxis. Witch, Know Thyself.
When patterns are repeating in my life, my first response is to see if there is something I am doing that may be causing it. Am I allowing people to push me into doing things I don't want to do? Do I need to say "no" more often? Have I been enabling things in other people? Am I that much of a bitch? Do I keep being hearing the same complaints from different unrelated people? Have I not learned the last two times I gave that person another chance?
It's not a pleasant process every time. Sometimes it's quite demoralising and depressing. Sometimes, although not often, it's heartwarming.
It's only after I can honestly say that the cause is not of my own doing that I look outwards for other causes. Is there a physical reason for these cycles and patterns? Is it repeated after a certain event or activity? Does it repeat at a regular time? Could it possibly be that someone else is just an arse?
In a magical setting, this kind of brutal self-honesty is essential. When you're planning a spell or working, if you're not truly honest and open with yourself about what your goals and motivations are, you could be working at cross-purposes with yourself.
There's a woman I've written about before. She was wanting me to do something to get rid of her ex-husband. I spent hours asking her questions (seriously, it was hours) and it seemed that she genuinely wanted him to be gone from her life and to leave her alone. It was the three weeks of phone calls that I got afterwards that showed her true motivation - she really wanted him to realise he'd treated her badly and that she really was the love of his life and to come back to her and treat her like a princess this time. It was never something she admitted to or even said, but it was clear in the way she talked about him, it was obvious in the way she hoped that if she called him for help with this thing, he'd feel some sense of honour or duty and choose to behave differently (this is something she actually did say).
I use this example because it's an easy way to paint this picture. Imagine if she'd been doing her own spell and working. She was adamant she wanted him to be gone from her life and just leave her alone. If she'd crafted a spell for that, but underneath she really wanted him back as her repentant shining white knight, how do you think that would have worked?
Even if it had been successful, how happy do you think she would have been with that result?
If you're trying to heal yourself but deep down you enjoy the sympathy and attention you get from being sick or injured, how well do you seriously think that's going to work?
If you're doing a spell to get a job, but really it's not a job you are truly interested in or you'd rather be at home collecting benefits, can you honestly say you'd put the required energy into the spell?
I personally believe that the cycles are lessons about yourself. I don't have any clear idea whether I believe there's some Oversoul or Cosmic Teacher guiding these things but I have noticed that in my own case the lessons are repeated until I learn from them. When I break the cycle, I stop being challenged in that way.
But it's always up to me to learn and break it.