“Why does this always happen to me?”… Is a more common question than you can imagine.
I often notice with my life coaching clients that their lives work in cycles, which are essentially self-similar patterns repeating over and over again. We can see this clearly displayed in the cycles of the moon, the changing of the seasons, a typical calendar year, the great migrations in nature and so on.
So what does this have to do with the average person?… Well, pretty much everything to be blunt.
Upon doing research during my life coaching study’s, I found that the brain of a growing child learns to understand the world by recognising patterns. An easy example to notice is when a baby cries. Moments later her mom arrives in the room and picks the baby up to comfort it. Her brain will learn to understand that when she creates a distressing sound out of her mouth, she will soon be relieved of the distress once her mom arrives and begins cuddling her. This becomes an easy-to-repeat pattern that should provide the same or very similar results each time… which it usually does in this case. Patterns allow the brain to react efficiently to the external world. Therefore ensuring survival with minimal effort. If we look at an example of a person that responds appropriately to a circumstance in their life, which then provides him with a suitable result. His brain will then record the thoughts, emotions and actions that provided the desired outcome, for a possible time in the future. So should something similar come up again, it will take less effort to provide an appropriate response, which theoretically should provide the same result. This can be seen when we learn to write. In the beginning it is tricky, but with regular recognition of similar events, the brain will correctly instruct the body how to operate a pen and get to writing something.
During a life coaching session I will help my client to understand that a suitable pattern will do one of two things. It will either allow the person to move toward pleasure (easier, faster, more direct), or it will move the person away from pain (obstacles, difficulty, death). This is a basic survival technique that ensures safety and is found everywhere in nature. When a person moves towards pleasure, they will do so with the intention of having some need being met or fulfilled. However, human conditioning is far more complex and will create situations that can sometimes view pleasure as pain and vice versa. This conundrum can create averse behaviour towards positive engagements such as exercising or admitting that you were in the wrong during an argument. On the flip side it can drive people towards all sorts of addictive behaviour issues that promise to make them feel good and provide a means of pleasure (for a while). When someone finds himself in a destructive repeatable pattern, then it’s worth looking at what positive value is being gained from the pattern, or what positive value is hoped to be gained. It is important to remember that people will only do things that add positive value to their life, no matter how destructive it may be. Such a person may need to feel loved or valued. They may want to ease their own suffering. Such a person may just want to feel happy and carefree.
If something negative happens once, it can be seen as an unfortunate moment in time. However, if a very similar pattern keeps repeating itself in the person’s life, then it is not down to bad luck and misfortune. This pattern was deliberately chosen to (hopefully) get some personal needs met. So we may ask: “What need is the person trying to have met by having such a circumstance in their life?”
When it becomes clear as to what positive value is hoped to be gained by repeating the pattern, then it will become obvious as to what is missing in the person’s life and what they truly desire. Such insight can go a long way into uncovering the unconscious thoughts, beliefs, values and assumptions, which the person has been adhering to for so long. The unconscious processes often work so well in the background that they are hardly noticed in the person’s life. When you can start acknowledging and breaking down your driving behaviour patterns, then you can begin to really shift your life in a positive manner. Consulting with a life coach in your area will help to create clarity around this issue as well.
However, this can take time, patience and personal honesty. Old patterns of behaviour become attached to the personality and will take effort to pry its grip off. A clear indication of when the behaviour refuses to let go is when you hear yourself saying: “Well that’s just the way I am!” As if nothing can be done to change that aspect of yourself. When a time-honoured aspect of a persons character is faced with annihilation, it will protect itself by making the person (at least subconsciously) feel as if a void will be created in their life if that part is gone, so it will try to convince the person that it is better to stay the same, where it is safe, than to venture out into the darkness of the unknown. It is not a bad thing to be weary of change. However, this should not come at the expense of creating a better life for yourself. Real change, when done consciously often happens in small steps anyway, so there is no major threat to doing something too fast and too soon. It is like practising for a soccer match. You learn some skills, test them out and prepare for the upcoming game. During the match you can test out your skills in real-time. Find out what works and what doesn’t work. Discover what can be tested out during practice again, and so forth. To end the cycle of bumping your head against the same wall and repeating the same pattern over and over again, takes a bit of courage to step out of your comfort zone. It takes some effort and determination to create the life you want to live. It also takes some honesty to acknowledge your faults, how you might be benefiting from such patterns and any limitations in your thought processes that are holding you back. There is always choice though. You can choose to do what it takes to change your life to the way you want to live it, or your can choose to remain the same. The choice is always yours.
Thanks for reading,
Donovan – Life Coach