The habits we don't know about that are holding us back
I used to be a runner.
Not the kind that laces up their shoes and trots off down the road. Well, that too, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
I used to run away.
Uncomfortable conversation? I’m outa here. Boring relationship? Let’s part ways. Too difficult? Let’s find something more fun.
Quick to rationalize my way out of anything, I believed it was for the best. The relationship wasn’t working; the situation had run its course; the environment had lost its appeal.
When our habitual patterns are part of who we are, we’re completely blind to them.
We’re in the passenger seat and the habits are driving the car. We think we know where we’re going. But we keep driving past the same scenery over and over again.
Deidre drove this same road for years.
Having been in several relationships, she struggled to feel content. A runner herself, her ongoing pattern was one of letting go rather than holding on. Chasing pleasure and avoiding pain became her way of life.
But she knew she wanted more.
She knew that her habitual patterns weren’t working for her.
And she knew for sure that she wanted to choose another way.
So she got curious.
She started exploring the patterns of the past. She started noticing the signs of discomfort that kicked into gear when things got rocky. And she started to see them for what they were:
Not her desires. Not her intuition. Not her needs.
Those were all things she had been using to rationalize her instinctual response to get the hell out of there.
But they weren’t her truth.
They were her old patterns.
And here they were, again. Repeating themselves. Causing another potential breakup. Another shift away from what she really, really wanted.
Seeing the repeating pattern can be difficult. We beat ourselves up for doing it…again. We shame ourselves for not knowing better.
But seeing this pattern is a good thing.
Because if we can predict it, we can prevent it.
If we can start seeing the old patterns, if we can start tuning in to how they show up for us, alert to what behaviours and habits start kicking in…then we have a chance to interrupt them.
And then we have the opportunity to choose differently this time.
For Deidre, this was a game-changer.
Not because she’s no longer a runner. She is still very much a runner.
But now she knows she’s a runner.
And because of that awareness, she’s ready for it.
She can notice when the feeling of wanting to run starts creeping in.
She can ask herself what pain she’s trying to avoid.
And she can see that the feelings of panic, overwhelm and resistance are not calling her to run away.
They’re calling her to pay attention to her own needs.
To provide herself with care and nurture. To trust in herself and other. And to give herself whatever she needs to feel a deep sense of safety that all is well. Right here. And right now.
Now, with this new awareness, she can make a different choice.
She can push pause on the pattern of bailing and interrupt the knee-jerk response.
And she can start showing up in a different way.