When it comes to patterns of thinking and behaviors, we can can often get confused or discouraged when trying to figure out why we would repeat something that is causing pain to ourselves and those around us.
Something that I have noticed while working with people and helping them to have a more pleasant experience of life is that long-standing habitual behaviors and patterns of thinking can often be attached to those we love, usually our parents or primary care-givers.
Take for example the woman who, in her head, was hyper critical of herself. No matter what she did or how many pleasant experiences she had, she always found a way back to knit-picking and name calling. As a consequence, she was always feeling like she wasn’t good enough and everyone else had it better than her. This also showed up as financial difficulties and relationship turmoil.
As we began to get curious about this behavior, we found that her mother exhibited the same behavior. Not only did mom do it to herself but she innocently did it to her daughter as well. Growing up she would chastise, criticize, and at times even physically abuse the little girl, who is now grown and in her 40’s.
The interesting thing is that when we went to address the behavior in the woman, there was an extreme amount of resistance to making any changes. This woman wanted desperately to have a better experience of life but when we got anywhere near to making changes she would lash out and resist. On the surface, it seems confusing and doesn’t make logical sense, until you approach it from a place of love and understanding.
Subconsciously, a link can be created between the negative self-chatter and her love for her mother. Every child looks to their mother for love and comfort, and what ever they receive from mom (or care giver) is what they subconsciously label as love. Thus, when this woman talked negatively to herself, it was a way of keeping her close to mom. As we uncovered this link, we began to address the fear of making changes and we were eventually able to help this woman recognize and release her old patterns and create new and more resourceful ones.
Another example is the woman who had severe bouts of anxiety. It was very evident that she identified heavily with her story of anxiety and depression. As we got curious about how she was creating it, rather than answer the questions outright, she would ramble on about her anxiety and how it showed up for her. It was almost as if she was proud of it.
As we dug deeper we came to find out that her father exhibited the same traits. So in this instance the woman had a subconscious link with anxiety and depression to her father. Once we uncovered this there was very little resistance and we began to address the memories of father, releasing the painful memories and coming back to love and compassion.
Do you have stubborn behaviors or traits that are derailing you from having a more pleasant experience of life? Get honest and ask yourself, “Where have I seen this before? Who do I know that thinks/speaks, behaves this way?”
Beginning to make the unconscious behavior conscious is the first step to making big changes and having a more all around pleasant experience of this amazing gift called life.
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