Recognizing and changing patterns

Posted on August 12, 2010
Filed Under Breathing practices, meditation, Taylor Ellwood | 2 Comments

I was talking with Kat recently about patterns, specifically the patterns of behavior each person has, as well as the patterns that occur between people. It seems to me that each person does have specific patterns of behavior that they act out, and also have specific patterns of behavior that occur in the relationships…kind of a behavior DNA, but some of these patterns will occur with any partner, because people will seek out people that fit the level of chaos and dysfunction within their lives. These patterns can change, but usually involve doing some internal work that helps you identify the root cause of the behavior. Occasionally they’ll also change because a catalyst will enter your life and the shock of that experience will cause a change in the pattern.

Some patterns of behavior are good and some are dysfunctional. One of the ways you can recognize a pattern of behavior and analyze is to look at the overall history of your life for patterns of behavior you’ve acted out. For example, one pattern of behavior I had until the mid twenties was a tendency to try and date people I knew would reject me. What those people got out of that pattern I can’t speak to, but for me it was based on a root belief of abandonment and figuring it was better to know I’d be rejected then take an actual risk, and in an odd way this behavior makes sense, but it doesn’t lead to a lot of happiness.

One of the best ways to discover patterns in your life that you don’t like is to identify what you regret. The emotion of regret usually indicates that you’ve done something you’d like to change, but spending some time looking at the circumstance(s) can help you identify the pattern of behavior. Once you’ve identified it, you need to trace it back to the root experience. It’s in that experience that the behavior pattern was first formed and its in that experience that it needs to be resolved, because the pattern of behavior is based off the reasoning of that initial pattern. At the same time its useful to also revisit other iterations of the pattern and find resolution for those moments as well. By finding resolution you can conclusively change the behavior. To find resolution, its useful to do a pathworking meditation where you revisit the moments where the pattern of behavior showed up and then changed what happened with new behavior that you want to act on.

We are only at the whims of our respective behaviors if we choose to do nothing about them. Once we consciously recognize a behavior that is unhealthy, it is our responsibility to change that behavior instead of continuing to act it out. And once it has changed, life does seem to get better and simpler.

Comments

2 comments

Hi Amy,

I agree. You do need to identify the entire complex to effectively make changes. What's your method for identifying the whole complex?

Amyhale93
Amyhale93

I've been thinking about this because I think when this sort of thing happens, one tends to find themselves on auto pilot. I know I'm working to try to identify the physical and emotional sensations that occur when I suspect I may be running a pattern. I have found that I can't always fully identify a pattern until I have determined the whole complex of it including the triggers. That helps me get in the right space to change it.