We don’t repeat patterns on purpose.
The reason we stay in our patterns of lousy jobs, lousy relationships, and perpetual states of needing to learn more before ever being able to get started is not because we don’t yet know enough to be of value.
It is not because we “are flawed and just haven’t learned our lesson yet.”
It is not because we “don’t work hard enough” to play in the big leagues.
No. These are just things we tell ourselves to justify the patterns we get stuck in.
Newsflash: Life is the big leagues.
You’re already in it.
And it doesn’t get easier once you have a university degree. Life is hard work for everyone and there isn’t a breathing soul on this planet who hasn’t believed at one time or another that they were flawed, lazy, or stupid.
So if we all have the same self-defeating emotions to contend with, why do some of us get stuck in repeating these patterns while others are able to climb out?
We repeat patterns because, despite all our education and experience and willpower, we still haven’t learned to look at our ugly wounds and choose to love ourselves anyway.
We gain momentum and we get on the right track and then at some point something happens that hits us where it hurts (triggers a wound or a fear) and we go, “Holy shit, I suck (I can’t publish this, I can’t date a person of this caliber, I can’t apply for that job), aborting this mission, getting out of here now!” Fear takes the wheel.
We end up back where we started, thinking, “I should have known better than to try, good thing I can always get a bartending job (or a cat).”
“I actually love bartending a lot, and it is a great way to save cash.”
“Plus bartending leaves me my creative energy for the baby of my new business, so it’s a great choice.”
This self-talk might work and be true until you start saying yes to bartending jobs instead of saying yes to scary new business opportunities that could become your only job (and dream job you kid yourself you can’t get).
Is your bartending job supporting you or are you using it as an excuse to sabotage?
Do you want a cat, or a boyfriend?
A bartending job could be what is required, but you could also be using that job (or any job) to sabotage yourself away from what you are afraid to do but also really want to do (insert dream career here).
So, how can we start to see these choices for what they are?
All sabotage comes from a limiting belief which usually comes from an emotional wound or painful past experience.
Most repetitions of patterns that limit our growth come from wounds.
And let’s get something straight: Growth is uncomfortable at the best of times, and is made even more difficult when past wounds barge in with uninvited opinions and warnings against moving forward.
So once we have awareness over the experience of sabotage, rather than beat ourselves up for repeating a pattern, the next step is empathy and compassion.
Unconscious patterns are not something we do with awareness and therefore shouldn’t be something we berate ourselves over.
It would be more helpful to acknowledge, “Ya that opportunity really triggered a hurt I am still healing from but there are also a lot of ways in which I am capable of doing this, and I know that growth is not always comfortable.”
It would be more helpful to acknowledge that the opportunity of X is triggering a limiting belief and that you now have a choice to move towards growth or to play small.
It would be more helpful to acknowledge that not feeling perfectly ready is not the same thing as not being good enough or capable.
It would be more helpful to acknowledge that healing this pattern requires showing up and to practice choosing growth every damn day.
It would be more helpful to acknowledge that even with your wounds you still deserve to grow and to remember that you have the ability to both acknowledge and manage your fear—you are in charge.
Remember this especially on the days when fear wants you to quit the team (team you going all in on your dream) and drive in the opposite direction.
The moment when you want to quit the team and surrender to repeating the pattern of choosing a limiting belief over what you truly want is the most important moment.
This moment defines whether you start the pattern all over again.
This is the moment where you can break out and finally choose yourself.
Please remember that we don’t repeat these patterns on purpose.
But we do repeat them forever, or at least until we learn to have a wee chat with our fear when it races to the driver’s seat.
We repeat the same crash and burn pattern forever until we remember that all our emotions are valued members of the same team, but that some of them just aren’t built for driving stick through the city at rush hour in a rainstorm.
Fuck bartending. You’ve got a book to publish.
Let your courage drive.