Over the last month or so I’ve had conversations with numerous clients about how come we get so caught in our old patterns of emotions and behaviours – even when we know better! It can feel perplexing, frustrating and even scary when we feel stuck in a certain way of reacting that doesn’t feel good – especially when no matter how aware we are we can’t seem to shift out of it.
Why is that?!
It has A LOT to do with what level of the self is running these reactions.
Yes, our adult conscious mind might know that losing our cool in that meeting with THAT person is not helping the situation. BUT. It’s our UNCONSCIOUS MIND that is reacting in that default way. The unconscious mind is child-like and pre-programmed and will continue to react until those ‘settings’ are changed.
So, in the case of that meeting, if at an unconscious level we feel threatened by the person or feel we need to fight our point – which actually usually has nothing to do with that person! – we will react accordingly. Our fight-flight system will activate and we’ll fire off with an overly aggressive response, or back down, shut off or walk out (fight, freeze or flight). The unconscious mind is just going into protection mode – mainly because of past experiences it is referencing.
Whilst loads of our unconscious patterns are super useful (like the ability to drive a car or butter toast) we all have a collection of not-so-useful settings. It’s really a case of how many of them are interfering with the quality of our life, our happiness and our ability to be our best self – and also how aware we are of them. The more aware of them we are, the more we’re able to shift the ones that are not working for us or blocking our progress.
I’ve had people say to me over the years Well doesn’t that mean I’m stuck with it?
No, it doesn’t.
Just because something is running on the ‘hard-drive’ right now, doesn’t mean you can’t change it. That’s the power of understanding this whole dynamic, if you ask me: once you understand what level of the self it’s going on at, a bit like a well trained plumber, you know where to tap.
Modern neuroscience has told us all about neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change itself – and we now have a phenomenal range of tools and modalities to help make those changes. Your bodymind is designed to heal, change, evolve and up-level. You can change. The way I see it, the magic is in you.
The magic is in you.
One area people are starting to notice their patterns more clearly this year is stress – especially those who were probably running fairly habitual stress patterns before the pandemic environment set in and there were such things as ‘lockdowns’.
If you were stressed before all of this, there’s a pretty good chance your nervous system has amplified the old patterns or added to them. Or it’s feeling tricky to keep a lid on it. This is not your fault!
Stress patterns operate on what I call a cumulative basis and research from Yale University echoes this. Basically, when you’ve been stressed by something in the past and your body has activated its fight-flight system for any reason, the brain has a propensity to trigger into it more easily in future. It’s like the unconscious set-point for getting stressed goes up so that you get stressed more easily and/or more fully in certain situations.
And it can happen quite subtly over time, which is why we experience ‘stress creep’ (more info on that here) where we end up in chronic stress patterns without realising it. It happened to me so I understand it first-hand and it’s what most of my clients have experienced to one degree or another.
It’s very common.
It’s also often the first thing I work with a client on – getting that set point down and starting to change the defaults. This means you can start to feel calmer more of the time and more in control of your responses to people and situations. It basically gets your hands back on the steering wheel. Amen to that!
We can’t control everything around us, but we can take charge of ourselves.
The truth is, we can’t control everything around us, but we can take charge of ourselves. This has been my own personal experience.
2020 is going to go down in history for all kinds of reasons we are never going to forget. For me it’s going to go down in my own personal history as one of the most transformational years of my life. It has been EPIC.
If you want to make your own history then get in touch and let’s map out your path to breaking free and up levelling yourself and your life.
Meanwhile, if you’re feeling frustrated with yourself or some of your less useful ‘default’ reactions – take heart and:
– Celebrate that you can see it. Awareness is SUPER powerful – once you know about something you can do something about it.
– Ask yourself what you want instead. How would you prefer to be feeling or responding?
– Have compassion for yourself. If it was as simple as just deciding to respond differently and showing up more calmly and confidently, you would. And once you shift the old pattern, you can. In the meantime, be kind to yourself. You wouldn’t hit a toddler over the head for screaming over a dropped ice cream, so don’t do that to your unconscious mind either.
Here’s to awareness and transformation.
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