Recognizing Our Patterns and Learning How to Change Them
Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Maria Cristina McDonald
“What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher.” ~Chuck Palahniuk
Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons. When there is something you need to learn, something that you need to work on, the same situation will continue to repeat itself until you either learn your lesson or find a healthy way of dealing with that particular issue.
Think of the movie Groundhog Day. It was one of my favorites. Once Bill Murray realized that he was living the same day over and over again, he came up with ways to fix the things that went wrong before.
He learned how to fix the relationship with the object of his affection. He even learned to deal better with the annoying insurance salesman who approached him every morning.
It wasn’t until he learned to accept his fate that the cycle of reliving each day ended. He also became more compassionate and more sympathetic—an overall better version of himself.
I hear people say: Why do I keep going through the same things in relationships? I’m with different people, but things always end up being the same, or they act just like someone who I used to know.
Some of these people give up, some get stuck in a vicious cycle of their own making, and others don’t even realize that they are basically chasing their tail, repeating the same situation over and over.
Recently, I found myself in a pattern of attraction. It took some time for me to understand it. I had a hard time coming to terms with my divorce, and for years I wanted a second chance in that area of my life. A new start. A new marriage.
Only problem was that when I did come across someone I liked, he was unavailable—already in a relationship or emotionally unavailable to me, and therefore, unwilling to participate in a relationship with me.
I went through a period of time when the only guys who asked me out were either married or in a relationship of some type, live-in or on-and-off with a current girlfriend.
Instead of pursuing those situations (for obvious reasons) I would instead go for the single, yet emotionally unavailable guy. And I would try to win him over, to no avail, trying to prove that I was “good enough.”
It wasn’t until recently that I had an “a ha” moment, in which I realized that the critic I was trying to “prove myself” to was not someone else. It was me—the inner critic who still had not come to terms with the dissolution of my marriage and considered it a complete failure.
My thought process was: If I could turn this person around or make this person change his mind and love me, then I would be worthy of love.
It was an erroneous way of thinking. Had I not done the emotional self reflection I would probably still be in a pattern of trying to win someone’s love, or what I like to call chasing my own tail and going around in circles.
A good question to ask is: Am I reliving the same scene, over and over again? What’s my part in that?
It might not be in relationships, but in different situations, like at work for example, when the same issue comes up disguised. If you work with the public it could be the same issue with different customers, until you find a way to deal with it or until you learn the lesson.
While working with the public, I have noticed times when every single person I come across is upset, angry, or annoyed, and at first I would react in a similar way. We are all mirrors of ourselves.
After a number of people with the same, or similar issue, came up to me, I started to try to find different ways to resolve the problems—for example, not taking things personally and showing empathy to the person I was helping.
Around that time in my life a pattern, or lesson, I was in could be described as: How to stop taking things personally and how to view problems as opportunities.
Had I not experienced the same problems with customers and made the necessary changes, I would possibly still be in the process of learning that lesson.
I’m still working on this; some lessons take longer than others. Instead of reacting to situations, when something comes up and seems familiar, I try to stand back—if even for a second—to think.
For a while it will seem like coincidences playing out, but over time the pattern of your lesson will come up. This is the lesson you need to learn at this time.
It could be a lesson in humility, or a lesson in gratitude, or maybe you may need to learn empathy to see things from the other person’s point of view.
Instead of reacting all the time, every time something challenging comes up it could be an opportunity to learn.
One lesson I’ve needed to learn recently can be summarized with a Shakespeare quote:
“To thine own self be true.”
I’m realizing that, no matter what other people say, do, or think about us, it is our opinions of ourselves that really matter. And, when making decisions, sometimes it is good to question our own intentions. Think: What am I doing here? Or what am I up to?
Ultimately the question I’ve needed to ask myself is: Am I being completely honest with myself? What is the particular reason why I’m scared of change?
There are times when opportunities have come up for me to change my residence, or my place of employment, or even my car, and I haven’t seized those possibilities. I’ve stayed in place. Why?
One particular opportunity entailed moving out of my city to live closer to my family. My family members have offered to help with an out-of-state move, including offering me a place to stay with my children. But still, I haven’t.
I’m still here.
When I started being honest with myself, I realized that this fear of change was a big issue for me. I needed to handle it because, if I did not, situations would continue to come up where I was forced by circumstances to make a decision involving a change.
I learned that not making a decision is in itself a decision—and that my fear of change was actually a fear of failure. That was when I noticed the pattern of things breaking, or circumstances changing, forcing me to deal with my inability to make decisions.
Find your pattern. Find your lesson.
A good way of recognizing patterns in your life is by listening to your feelings, your intuition. I’ve found that when I am involved in a pattern, my emotions run a bit stronger, kind of like a warning from my subconscious mind to pay attention to what’s happening.
More often than not, I recognize the pattern when the situation has ended, or changed. Hindsight is 20/20 in this way. It can be difficult to recognize a pattern while it’s playing out. So, usually we realize what happened afterward. And that is okay.
In turn, life will continue to send us ways to overcome our patterns and learn our individual lessons.
The key is to be alert. When you’re open to recognizing a pattern, you can change it by learning the lesson, and in doing so, change your life
I find this post to be most insightful and interesting. I believe we all have something to learn from one another as well as within outselves. If you have a question or would like to submit a topic please email me at email@example.com
- Relationships-Part I (brendamarroyauthor.com)
- Failing (dailycandyfloss.wordpress.com)
- Some Lessons are Meant to be Learned the Hard Way (iam30something.wordpress.com)
- Lessons From The Past (ejaife.wordpress.com)
5 Steps to Let Go of Anger for a Happier Life
Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Alden Tan
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein
Hi. My name is Alden, and I’m an angry guy. I’m 26 years old.
Anger has always been an issue for me. I hate the feeling of being angry, especially for no particular reason.
It feels like it’s eating me up from the inside out.
It can get so bad sometimes that I can get pissed off while I’m alone in my room, just blogging or surfing the net, whenever a negative thought passes through my head.
Anger makes me feel upset with myself. I wonder why that I, a grown adult, still have to deal with issues that have been around since my high school days.
Am I still as immature as I was then? Why is it so hard to let go?
Some Angry Milestones
These are some of the events that made me angry with life:
My dad passed away when I was 20—from an incurable disease. Someone I grew up with was taken away suddenly. I still feel pissed with the world.
An ex-girlfriend cheated on me—with a guy with a bad reputation. It felt like an insult to me.
A friend who I was very close with betrayed me. He accused me of something he messed up himself. Years of friendship went down the drain. I never felt such disgust for a single person before.
I got punched in the eye once—by this guy in a club. I won’t go into it, but I didn’t think I did anything wrong.
These are only the major events of my life. I also get angry with other things in life, like a late bus or rude people.
Anger has been always one of my greatest challenges. Sometimes it feels like I need to get it all out, once and for all, but I don’t want to end up like some people who act rashly, by getting into fights, for example.
If you’re reading this, you might be like me. You’re very aware of a problem you have and you want a way out of it.
I’m sharing this now because I’ve worked on it for a long time and I hope it can help you do the same.
I can’t say I have it all under perfect control, but I’ve learned a few ways to tame that angry monster inside:
1. Replace a negative thought with an awesome one.
More often than not, it’s a negative thought derived from a bad memory that makes me upset, instantly.
As stated, this is where you should replace the bad thought with an awesome thought.
Don’t even approach the bad thought.
Don’t try to rationalize it.
Don’t even think about it.
The way I see it, any of the above is a passive reaction to the negative thought, hence making you feel the negative feelings that follow, which isn’t helping you at all.
So, replace the negative thought on the spot.
Just think of something you like. It could be a fond memory in the past or something you really want in the future.
I personally like to go crazy with my imagination and come up with amazing scenarios, like when I’m listening to a song I like, I imagine myself singing it in my own music video.
Sometimes distraction is a good approach, if it’s something you’ve already dealt with but keep rehashing in your head. Watch TV, listen to music, read something, or just go out. It helps.
2. Let it all out in cliché manners.
You know something?
The clichés work.
Every tip you can find in blogs, magazines, or the newspaper work.
You just have to apply yourself and try it out.
Screaming onto your pillow actually makes you feel like you released a ton of emotions that are trying to get out.
Writing an angry letter to the person you bear a grudge against allows you to clearly articulate your feelings. Just make sure you don’t send it.
Exercising really helps with anger too. Sweating it out and letting the adrenaline take over your body can clear just about anything.
I know how it is when you feel angry and then listen to advice that you doubt will help your situation. It feels like nobody out there can fully empathize with how you feel, so who are they to talk, right?
I can empathize, and I promise that if you give it a shot, you’ll be surprised with the results.
3. Surround yourself with positive people.
Anger is a personal issue for everyone.
But unfortunately, some people around you cannot fully understand what you go through.
I find that most people feel angry because of their surroundings.
You hang out with supposed friends who make condescending remarks at you, but you don’t think you should do anything about because you don’t want to come across as petty.
You have a really dysfunctional office environment, filled with shady colleagues and a controlling boss.
Do these things sound familiar to you?
The problem is, people think they are “stuck” or they absolutely “must” be with such people because of their circumstances.
I say otherwise.
Make the conscious effort to surround yourself with people you can look up to and talk to. It won’t always be easy—if you need to look for a new job, for example—but it’s worth the time and effort.
Our surroundings influence our mood in a major way. So instead of focusing solely on addressing your inner anger, also address the external factors that trigger it.
4. Make caring for yourself a priority.
I used to be a lot angrier before my dad’s passing.
Sounds contradictory? Continue reading.
You see, as I grew up, I always did the “right thing.”
I never talked back to people who insulted me to my face. I walked away from fights. I held back a lot of my emotions.
But as a result of doing all the “right” things, I went home feeling angry with myself.
When my father died, it just hit me there and then, “I did so much for people around me, and yet this still happened.”
My biggest takeaway from my father’s death was that you have to live life to the fullest, and sometimes, if not all the time, it’s okay to take care of yourself more than anything in this world.
I’ve fallen out with friends who kept insulting me.
I now actively make the choices that suit me, even if others disagree. (For example, I may not even go to a gathering when I know someone I dislike is there.)
I even quit my job to be a full-time blogger, much to the surprise of my friends.
Caring for myself more has allowed me to truly express myself and not hold back any longer. The anger has subsided a lot as I don’t have to look back and ask, “What if?”
Your life is your own. And life is short.
If you feel anger taking control, let it go by caring for yourself. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It is by being yourself that you can fully realize the life you’re meant to live, and anger has no part in that.
5. Decide you don’t want to add to the hate in this world.
When I feel angry sometimes I have crazy ideas of seeking justice, of finding my wrongdoers and letting them have it once and for all.
But I don’t act on it because I don’t want to add on to the crap in this world.
Let it go, not just for a better future, but also because you’re a good person. And a good person isn’t angry most of the time. Instead, he sees beauty in the world and strives for a positive life, in which others around him can be inspired too.
Choose to let go of your anger so you can be that person.
There are many other positive emotions you can enjoy when you make the effort to let go of your anger.
- I’m Angry that I’m Angry! (divorcecovenant.wordpress.com)
- Inspiration on Anger (earthwitchconfessional.wordpress.com)
- How to Deal with Anger (paulwheeler86.wordpress.com)
- 104. Anger Intimidation in Communication (marlenvargasdelrazo.wordpress.com)
- What I’ve Learned from Life…Anger is Pain in Disguise (velindapeyton.com)
- Anger is a Yellow Light (propheticprimer.wordpress.com)
- The Problem of Anger (samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com)
- Depression is anger turned inward. (prophetic1dotorg.wordpress.com)
My mom asked me if I thought it was normal to find another companion at her age, or if she should just settle. She been alone since she was 30 so she’s used to it, and I didn’t really know what to tell her.
Love has no age limit, nor boundaries. If she is ready and willing to be patient it will be worth her 20 years of waiting Be supportive and tell her that she deserves to be loved just like everyone else.
*If you have a question or would like to submit a topic please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- 60 Tiny Love Stories to Make You Smile (marcellapurnama.wordpress.com)
Should I stay or should I go? I’ve been with my girlfriend for 2 years and I do love her. She married a dude when she was only 17 and stayed in a marriage from hell with the guy for 19 years before she filed for a divorce. She’s was single for 4 years before we got together. For 2 whole years I have had to deal with trust issues and insecurity issues from her,I am not doing anything to call for this, I have been the perfect man but her issues due to her past is making it very difficult for me, and I have never had to or been faced with anything like this in any relationship I have had before. She sometimes doesn’t express her anger without including rude comments that often upset me as well, but we always end up talking and ironing out whatever the problem is. She does work,cook,clean and take care of home,yes we live together. At this point IDK what I should do we’ve been living together for 2 years as a couple and she always promises to get some kind of therapy but hasn’t done it yet, I do feel like I want to help her get better as a person because I love her,but sometimes I think that maybe this is too much for me to be trying to take on. What do you think?
- How To Avoid Becoming An Overly Attached Girlfriend (welovedates.com)
- On Relationships (burgerfoot.wordpress.com)
- What Do You Do When They Don’t Love You Anymore? (honestgoodadvice.wordpress.com)
- How Much Emotional Baggage Does Your Girlfriend Have? (moulsinc.com)
- The Resilience Formula – how to resolve ANY problem situation (head-heart-health.com)
- HELP, I’m Afraid of Committing! (snspost.com)
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns…
This is a tough issue for me brought on by an upcoming event in our family. My gay brother-in-law is getting joined in a civil union -- sorry, but I can't quite bring myself to use the word 'married' yet -- and we have been invited to the reception, not the ceremony. I have mixed feelings about this event; I don't know if I can really 'celebrate' it but I'm thinking about going to support my wife.
- You Are Who You Are & You Love Who You Love, A Ramble in Honor of Pride (wordsofhonestunwisdom.com)
- History on Gay Marriage's Side (thedailybeast.com)
- I'm a Gay Mormon Who's Been Happily Married for 10 Years [Confessions] (gawker.com)
- A Gay Man Leading A Straight Life (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
The quickest and surest way to get fired as an FBI agent is to lie. Proven lack of candor is automatic dismissal—truth is a precious commodity in an organization whose primary purpose is peeling back layers of deceit to expose cold, hard facts.
Many of us have a love/hate relationship with truth. We tell ourselves we want to know the truth, but we’re very selective about the kind of truth we seek. About others, yes—and usually about world events and situations that impact us directly, but we are less receptive to revelations about ourselves.
In fact, self-knowledge is a two-edged sword because we might find out something about ourselves that we would rather not know. We’ve carefully packaged ourselves to look and act in a manner that ensures success in the world. Our ego has dressed us up for so long that many of us don’t even know how to begin to peel back the layers of illusion to expose cold, hard facts about ourselves.
Read more here…
- The Truth (brtom.wordpress.com)
- We Will Continue to Raise the Frequencies – Archangel Michael via Ron Head (aquariuschannelings.com)
- Love yourself, Stop Beating yourself up… (mothermaryswords.wordpress.com)
- Recognize that you are only Awareness #1 (hanumandass.wordpress.com)
- Truth is not relative! (julienmatei.com)
I have to say tinybuddha.com is an excellent source of knowledge on personal growth and grounding energy. This was WAY to good not to share! If half of the population took these into account just imagine what a world of difference this could make!
20 Ways to Show You Care w/out Expecting Something in Return
1. Give money you can spare to someone who needs it and then pretend you never had it.
2. Let someone tell a story without feeling the need to one-up them or tell your own.
3. Let someone vent, even if you can’t offer a solution, just to be an ear—without considering how well they listened to you last week.
4. Help someone who is struggling with difficult feelings by admitting you’ve felt the same thing—without considering whether they’d be as open with you.
5. Ask, “What can I do to help you today?” Then let it go after following through.
6. Tell someone how you feel about them, even if it makes you feel vulnerable, just to let them know they’re loved and not alone.
7. Apologize when you’ve acted selfishly, even if you don’t like feeling wrong, because it will remind the other person they deserve to be treated with respect.
8. Let someone else educate you, even if you’re tempted to stay closed minded, because you value their knowledge and appreciate their willingness to share it.
9. Forgive someone who wronged you because you have compassion for them, not because you know they’ll owe you.
10. Hold someone’s hand when they feel vulnerable to let them know you haven’t judged them.
11. Give your full attention to the person in front of you when you’re tempted to let your thoughts wander just to show them their words are valuable.
12. Assume the best when you’re tempted to suspect someone for no valid reason—even if they haven’t always given you the benefit of the doubt.
13. Accompany someone to an appointment or drive them to an interview when they need support just to help them feel strong.
14. Change your plans for someone you love if yours weren’t too important without questioning whether they’d do the same for you.
15. Teach someone how to do something without taking a superior position because they’ve likely taught you many things, whether they were obvious or not.
16. Leave a thoughtful comment on someone’s blog, not to build your readership but rather to show them how they affected you.
17. Tell someone you believe in their potential, even if they haven’t always shown you the same support.
18. Say no when it would make you feel good to say yes, because sometimes being kind means pushing someone to step up and try harder.
19. Tell someone you know they meant well instead of using their mistake as an opportunity to manipulate their guilt.
20. I’ve left this one open for you to write. How do you give just to show you care?
*If you have a question or would like to submit a topic please email me at email@example.com
- Challenge for growth 2 – Inspiration (doonart.wordpress.com)
- 30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 1 (ninasgoodthoughts.wordpress.com)
- Seven Months Later (seaofaire.wordpress.com)
- Personal Growth (stage3blows.typepad.com)
- Keep In Mind (rekindledflame.wordpress.com)
- In-Depth Awareness and Compassion (griefrevelations.com)
- self love ode (bluelilystorm.wordpress.com)