A pattern is a pattern is a pattern is a pattern…
Last week I shared with you, dear readers, the view from a glass house in a hypocritical world, and yes, maybe I went on a bit of a rant. I’ve done a lot of thinking and re-thinking about patterns of behaviour this past week, and I think I’ve come up with a 5-step process for identifying patterns and activating change. (Once again, I’m not sitting in an Ivory Tower here as I’m actually quite afraid of heights. I’m not on any pedestal either – I’ve never been accused of being delicate. Nor am I throwing stones as I prefer to throw words around, in all honesty. This is simply yet another view from a glass house and I’m just Keeping It Real, again.)
Here are my thoughts:
Step 1 : Identify the Pattern and Its Roots.
Is the pattern positive or negative?
If it’s a positive behavioural pattern – does it improve my life and benefit me and my loved ones? If yes, then I should continue the pattern of behaviour, keeping in mind that if it ever becomes negative then I need to follow the next substeps.
If the pattern is negative – is it interfering with relationships I have with others, my happiness, or my self-confidence? Do I find myself in similar situations as I continue throughout my life? Do I often feel frustrated with “the cards dealt to me”? Do I often feel life is unfair? Do I continue to make decisions quickly (without much thought) simply because that’s the easiest route?
I need to examine where the pattern originates from. Is it rooted internally – in my own desires? Or does it have external motives – am I behaving in such a way to please or impress others, to upset others or to keep them from being upset with me, or for some other external reason? Knowing where my pattern originates from will help me begin to follow Step 2.
Step 2 : Walk Away From Wallowing
I’ve acknowledged the negative pattern and identified its root, now I need to move on and walk away from wallowing in self-pity. I need to let things rest. Sometimes I might be tempted to fixate on the small stuff because it’s easier to deal with than the larger issues. I may overanalyze and stew on the little things instead of tackling the bigger issues. There is some comfort in wallowing, especially if the wallowing is itself part of my pattern. I need to step out of the “wallow comfort zone” and realize that all actions have consequences; if I’ve made bad choices then I need to acknowledge those bad choices and move on with the intention of choosing more wisely next time. Two of the most powerful words are “I am”, because what you put after them shapes your future (I borrowed that from somewhere…). What I think, I am. I will not feel sorry for myself – I will suck it up, re-direct my energy, and move forward to Step 3.
Step 3 : Focus On Today
Acknowledge the past and move forward. I can’t change the past – what’s done is done. I can apologize, if necessary, and make amends, but I can’t change the events that have taken place. If I am stressed about something that has happened, I need to give it a reasonable amount of “air time” and then move on. I need to leave the past in the past, along with its stress and negativities. When I acknowledge my own feelings and then move forward, I am able to keep my next steps clear in my mind. My mind will not be cluttered with garbage from yesterday. I will forgive myself or others for yesterday, but today I will remember in order to learn from my mistakes.
Step 4 : Learn New Tricks
“I’m too old to change.”
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
HOGWASH! I CAN train myself to break out of my old habits and patterns. I CAN make conscious decisions that won’t lead to broken promises and continuous lamentations about life gone wrong. I CAN improve my lifestyle, win back my integrity, and earn back the respect (self and from others) that I deserve. I CAN initiate change. All that is required of me is AMBITION and the DESIRE TO CHANGE.
Step 5 : Shut Up and Just Do It
Talk is cheap. I can talk about it all I want, but if I make no moves and no efforts to actually initiate the change in my behaviour patterns then that’s all I am – one cheap talker. If I make more false promises and continue my lamentations, then no one is going to believe my intentions were honourable to begin with. I can’t be lazy about change. I deserve more than that. But, if I fall down and acknowledge my fall, I CAN get back up again. At this point, I need to stop talking about how I want to change, and work towards the actual change itself. I just need to take the first step.
No one ever said change would be easy. Breaking patterns of behaviour which have been years in the making is no small task. In fact, it’s probably going to be hard – most things that are worth it, are. Some behaviour patterns have been with us since a very young age and may be ingrained in us quite deeply. I firmly believe, though, that behaviours can be modified, that patterns can change their direction, and that new roads can be taken no matter which path has been chosen.
Robert Frost said in his poem “The Road Not Taken” :
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Let’s not waste time or energy in regretting choices made. Let’s not look back and attribute blame to the events in our lives or make more meaning of things than they deserve. The easy road is not always the best road. Change takes time, patterns can be broken, and anything is possible as long as you believe that it is.
At least that’s the view from this glass house.
(Dear Readers, Thank you again and again and again for your reads, comments, likes, and shares! We now have 16 different countries reading Writing For The Love Of It! Please don’t forget to like our Facebook page, Writing For The Love of It. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Love, ~ K ~ )