4 Steps Toward Freedom From Past Patterns
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I wanted to share with you today something that's been coming up for many of my clients recently, and it's this idea that we all get caught in past patterns of protection.
These patterns are often referred to as "trauma responses" or "survival responses," where our past patterns of protection -- that previously helped us and kept us safe and protected -- are no longer serving us in those same ways.
Now, these could be responses to anxiety, patterns of disengagement, patterns of offloading out hurt onto others, or any number of different patterns of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, or beliefs that you have about yourself, others, or the world.
As human beings, we all have these survival-based patterns of fight, flight, or freeze that get activated when we get triggered by something. Then, we have these automatic responses to those triggering events by either moving against, moving towards, or moving away from the individual or experience.
We all have these various tactics that we learned throughout our life and the question comes...
are they still beneficial and helping us in the way they were originally meant to?
Often, the answer is no.
And so the question comes... when you find yourself in that pattern, what do you do?
I have a four-step process to serve you when navigating patterns of the past.
When you notice that you are in those past patterns of let's say... anxiety that then lead you to believe that you aren't welcome around certain people, you aren't worthy, you're too much or not enough... then weave into that feeling of anxiety some flavors of shame, which may lead you to disengaging, withdrawing, or starting an argument with anyone who comes within a 10-foot radius of you.
These particular patterns may have served you in the past, but now the question comes...
is that still serving you?
So when you notice that you are in a particular pattern of the past, and you might be noticing that it's no longer serving you, it's no longer in alignment, it's no longer keeping you safe... it's kind of out-lived its expiration date...
The first step is to ACKNOWLEDGE it.
Acknowledge it by saying "hey, I'm doing that thing that I do when I get anxious, scared, angry, etc. It's a pattern from my past. I'm doing that thing that has kept me safe in the past".
The second step is to VALIDATE it.
"Awe... I see you pattern. I know what you're trying to do. I know what you've done in the past. You're trying to keep me safe from harm or getting my feelings hurt".
The third step is to THANK it.
Thank that past pattern of thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and / or behaviors. Offer it some appreciation for trying to keep you safe. "Thanks for everything that you've done in the past that has kept me safe".
The final step is REASSURE it.
Reassure that protective part and pattern that you have different tools now. And that you're able to explore alternative options of navigating a particular situation, so that pattern - that survival response - is no longer needed to the degree it was needed in the past.
So the next time you find yourself stuck reliving old patterns of the past that are no longer serving you, try out this four step process:
Acknowledge the pattern.
Reassure it that there are other options available.
I hope that this four step process of navigating past patterns can serve you in creating a life of a little more freedom, a little more safety, and a little more self-agency.
I look forward to sharing another practice with you very soon.