Feeling Stuck? Break Through Your Patterns

by Beaming with Health on November 13, 2012

To me one of the worst feelings is being stuck. You know that moment when you step outside yourself and see that you keep repeating the same patterns, but you are not quite able to move away from your usual behavior. You know what you are doing isn’t serving you, but you continue to do it anyway. Sound familiar?

I have been feeling stuck in certain aspects of my life. There are certain patterns that I just seem to insist on repeating. I can’t break out of them, even though I know it is the right thing to do. I was sharing this sentiment with a friend of mine, and she felt the same exact way with her own life.

It is a common thing as humans that we often fall into patterns. It is what we know and we find them comforting on some level. We know that they are not bringing us joy, but for some reason we have such a hard time letting them go. There is a word which comes from Sanskrit, samskara. In my interpretation samskaras are deep rooted patterns or impressions that we need to work on in our lives. They continue to resurface, appearing time and time again as much as we try to avoid them.

Another way I would translate samskaras would be to call them lessons. They are ever persistent lessons that often bring us suffering in our lives. Samskaras can manifest in many ways including the type of relationships you choose, the manner in which you allow yourself to be treated by others, the perspective that you see yourself from, or the habits that you set up in your life. Samskaras are not all bad, when we identify negative patterns in our lives and are able to move through them, we can create new, positive patterns in their place. How do we do this? Here are some of my thoughts on the matter.

Awareness

The first step in my mind is to simply become aware of your patterns. Usually where suffering exists in your life, you can often identify a pattern. Perhaps you consistently fall into situations where you don’t stand up for yourself (at work, in relationships) or maybe you keep trying to get healthy eating habits in place but can never quite make it happen. By becoming aware of ongoing patterns in our lives, this is the first step to redirecting them into a more beneficial pattern. If you have trouble identifying your patterns, practices such as yoga and meditation can be very beneficial in both calming your mind as well as helping you become a bit more aware of yourself.

Courage

Let’s be honest, facing negative patterns in your life is pretty damn scary. Why do you think most of us stay in the same patterns for so long? They are safe and recognizable.  The unknown is often scary and full of fear. Why not stick to what we know? Well, because what we know just isn’t serving us anymore. Enter courage! In order to grow, we need to have the ability to feel a bit uncomfortable for a period of time. No, this is not usually a whole lot of fun. However, if we can just endure a little pain or discomfort for a short period, then we can move through this pattern and create much more happiness in our lives. We become stronger and more flexible people! Think of it this way, the sooner you face a demon, the sooner it goes away (and stays away).

Numb and Number

As humans, we have become quite good at numbing ourselves. There are a variety of ways in which we do this. You can numb yourself through too much alcohol. You can over-exercise or plan so many activities that you don’t have much time to sit still. Maybe you just distract yourself with worry so much that you rarely live in the present moment. We all do it; it is the way that we cope with pain or discomfort. It is often how we protect ourselves. However, it is a slippery slope. If we numb ourselves too much, then we lose insight into our lives, are not as aware, and our growth is stunted. I recently listened to a lecture by Brene Brown in which she discusses vulnerability. She mentions that when we numb ourselves from pain, we also numb ourselves from other emotions such as joy or happiness. I have made it a practice to see what areas of my life I can reduce or eliminate activities that I find to be a bit numbing.

Visualize

This is a very powerful technique. Many successful people write/speak about this concept. It is pretty simple. Picture the change you want to see in your life. What does it look like when you stop repeating the same pattern, choosing the same unsuccessful relationship, or repeating the same unhealthy habit? Be creative. Picture the best possible situation that you can ever imagine. If you can visualize it, then it can come true. Yeah that’s right….Field of Dreams style.

Take the First Step

If you are like me at all, sometimes you look at a daunting task and feel paralyzed. You psych yourself up and talk yourself out of the task all together. Your mind jumps in and says “yeah you probably can’t do this” or “I doubt you are strong enough to accomplish this”. This is where you need to have a little faith that everything is going to be ok on the other side. You move through a difficult task and rewards will be plentiful, just know this. It is my firm belief.

Don’t think about the whole process; just take one step in the right direction. If you are working on setting up healthy habits, sign up for a personal trainer or visit a farmer’s market for the first time. Start slow. If you are trying to improve your self esteem, start with a little positive talk. Slowly reverse the negative thoughts that pop up in your head. Just by taking the first step you create momentum, which will build on itself and carry you to the “promiseland”.

I will leave you with these parting words. Negative patterns can be discarded and replaced with better ones. We are strong (no I am not about to sing “Love is a Battlefield”), and we have so much potential to have the exact life that we dream of!

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