As it’s often easier to see this pattern in others, let me tell you a true story to illustrate.
Vera is a little dog who lost her mom in a tragic accident right before her eyes. Vera had never been alone before and she was scared. She didn’t know what happened, she didn’t understand.
When I first saw her after the accident all I felt coming from her was fear. Her little body trembling, she barely recognized me and didn’t acknowledge me even though she normally visited me regularly with kisses.
With some quiet meditation together, my husband was able to help her understand that it was an accident, that she is now OK and that she doesn’t have to be afraid any longer. After a time her trembling even stopped and her real personality came through again. Her human mom saw the difference immediately. Still, Vera needed to be reminded that she doesn’t have to tremble any longer. The trembling doesn’t serve her anymore.
Does That Attitude Still Serve You?
This situation made me think about how many times I’ve had something that helped me get through a situation but then later I kept doing it when it no longer served me. How can I remind myself that I don’t need that anymore?
Think about it, have you considered that you may still be doing things that no longer serve you? You don’t need to do that anymore, it’s time to come up with a better response. Sometimes we end up with reactions to situations that were created in the moment of panic or survival that really don’t work for us in regular life.
These things are easier to see in others. My dog Eunomia was very badly starved beaten and abused before 12 weeks of age and had developed poor behaviours that would be very bad in the larger dog that she was to become. Once she learned that she was now safe, she was able to learn better ways to respond to situations. She had a wonderful life and when situations were difficult (like a dog attacked her) she looked at me for guidance and knew I had her back. It was so easy to tell people about her story for the 13 years she was part of my family. She died 3 days before the first time I spoke publicly about my personal story of overcoming growing up very badly overfed, beaten and abused. I realized that part of why Eunomia was in my life was so I could practice telling my story, so that I could help others with it.
Life doesn’t come to us in a straight line. Life has ups and downs, highs and lows. With all highs come low points. If you have ever been completely devastated by the loss of a loved one, it’s a reflection of the deep and loving relationship that you had and how they touched your soul.
Not Showing Up Has Less Rewards
A life of mediocrity — of not showing up — is not as intense but has less rewards too. I watched my mother descend into mental illness when I was 3 years old, and then decide to blame and beat me for whatever her mind decided was my misdeed. On my 8th birthday I was taken from my home and put into the psychiatric ward of Sick Children’s Hospital for evaluation before being sent to a foster home that told me I was ugly, stupid and unworthy everyday until I was 13 years old. Lots of beatings from lots of different people.
My mother floated from mental hospital to group home over those years, most of the time I didn’t know where she was and that was fine with me. She was numb to the world and we didn’t have a relationship of caring or love. A few years ago after my mother regained consciousness from a coma, she said the most profound thing she has ever said to me.
“I know I was a bad mother, when you were little I thought you were trying to do my job and so I was angry, but I realize now that you were just trying to learn.”
I did what I had to do to create the amazing life that I have now. I have a husband of 25.5 years who is completely devoted to me. Plus, I travel to Baja California Mexico every year for weeks sometimes months at a time. I love the culture, the community, the beach, the waves water and wind where I play like a child. It’s my sanctuary.
Sometimes even when I’m in my sanctuary I feel down, sad, depressed even. It’s not that I’m thinking about the past or something specific. It’s more like there is a part of me that was unhappy for the whole of growing up so it’s a chore to get out of it. Still.
It’s a pattern.
Have you ever had a pattern that was self destructive and yet just so hard to get out of it?
It could be eating, or drinking, or smoking, or being around people that put you down, or putting yourself down, or stopping doing something just before it’s successful. It could be feeling down.
Get Out Of Self Destructive Patterns
Get out of it you must if you want more of life. It’s a simple formula. It’s not easy, but it’s very much worth it.
Step 1: Awareness
The first step to eliminating a behaviour that doesn’t serve you anymore is to become aware of the behaviour. This can be very difficult. Try explaining water to a fish! When something is so embedded in everyday it’s very difficult to see it as an optional behaviour. Here’s the trick: everything is optional!
Step 2: Acceptance
It’s OK that you’ve done this thing. You did the best you could with what you knew! Love yourself in your ability to cope with the situation and survive it. Give yourself the empathy that this behaviour was needed before, and now it is no longer serving any purpose. Send it off thanking it for what it did for you. There is no room for blame or condemnation in this exercise, please don’t do that to yourself. Acceptance and gratitude for how it served you at the time is the path to a better life.
Step 3: Incremental Change
Sometimes it is possible to change quickly and sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to feel okay if we fall back on old habits. When that happens, start again right away. Life is a series of moments, we get to choose who we are and how we want to respond in each moment as it comes. In my own journey of discovery, I’ve learned a variety of techniques that really shift our unconscious mind in deep, lasting and profound ways that eliminated the need for decades of therapy. I’m still imperfect, and sometimes I respond in ways that I’m not happy about. That’s life too, take the time to repair the situation and move on.
Go For The Life You Want!
Life is imperfect. Stop trembling from what happened in the past. Let go of anything that’s not giving you the life you want.
Keep moving forward and let the glory of nature engulf you in her love.
Brenda Crompton is an International Speaker, Entrepreneur, business consultant and coach who has spoken on stage with Dr. Phil, Steve Wozniak and interviewed Bethanny Frankel creator of Skinny Girl Cocktails. Brenda’s entrepreneurial journey started at age 20, since then she’s been a founder in numerous tech companies and a consultant to C-suite leaders in businesses ranging from pre-revenue technology start-up’s to companies with billions in revenue in 20+ industries. Brenda’s mission is to help people achieve their goals and create their amazing life. Discover her latest projects at brendacrompton.com and her business coaching at profitgrowthgroup.com.