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Piecing It All Together – 15 Key Principles of Patterns

1 Patterns happen as a result of living unconsciously, hence the more you live with intention and conscious purpose, is the less you are living in the past and putting it on repeat. 

LOOK FOR: Where are you stepping into situations from a place of being asleep behind the wheel? Where are you getting the Groundhog Day feeling and where is there a sense of familiarity?

 

2 Patterns are jam-packed with habits that enable you to automate your life. Examine these unconscious parts especially around anything that’s causing you pain and problems.

LOOK FOR: Repetition. An easy way to spot this is where you almost wake up at the end of the line of the situation without really having a sense of what went on in between.

  • What are the feelings that you get overwhelmed with?
  • Do you feel deluged by ‘information’ from your inner critic?
  • Do you feel as if you’re in an almost trance?

Example: If you get triggered and spiral into being defensive and upset, you may find it difficult to take in information around you, including reality. When things calm or something causes you to snap out of the trance, the space between things starting and ending may have been filled with an overwhelming feeling (e.g. panic, excitement, terror).

 

3 Habits are made of cues (signals), triggers (activations) and responses (thoughts, actions, feelings).

LOOK FOR: Disappointment cycles. Where are you feeling disappointed and frustrated? Where are you feeling blame and shame?

 

4 We are unconsciously loyal to patterns and their attendant habits. Somewhere along the line, we don’t want to piss off a certain someone or alienate certain people by being and doing something different. Who is it?

LOOK FOR: Inner critic and messaging. Who is your inner critic? What do they tell you that you shouldn’t do? Also look for those rules that aren’t actual rules.

Example: With a lot of my patterns, it’s about keeping the peace with my mother and not wanting to alienate my father and his family who aren’t around. I also found a missing link in that I have been loyal and protective of my younger brother and dimmed my light. A number of students are fiercely loyal to an absent or supercritical parent because they don’t want to be ‘in trouble’.

 

5 Patterns stem from responding to the same situation repeatedly with the same responses. This creates the associations that enable you to automate. After a while, your cues, triggers, and responses become your associations.

LOOK FOR: Keep asking the question as you examine elements of your pattern – what do I associate this with? Somewhere along the line, there is a parallel situation that you inferred the association as being “correct” from.

 

6 Examining the origins of your pattern provides insight into the where the decision to respond to __________ with __________ comes from.

LOOK FOR: Childhood experiences, beliefs, assumptions, and observations. What were your interpretations? How did these inform your perspective?

 

7 In order to live unconsciously, you need scripts that you’re repeating by rote. These are conscious and unconscious messages stemming from associations, beliefs, and fears.

LOOK FOR: What’s your script? What’s the narrative? See module 4 with the Get Out Of Stuck lessons.

If you imagine that you show up to every scene in your life and that you have been effectively working off a script regardless of what was going on, what are the lines and direction that you’re working with?

 

8 Patterns rely on flawed or even absent reasoning along with lack of awareness.

LOOK FOR: Which reasons have made sense to you? Remember that beliefs are reasoning habits so ask yourself, What have I got into the habit of using as my reasoning for explaining who I am, what I do, and how things are?

 

9 You focus on the association, not on reality. Remember that associations have safety in them and give you the impression that you don’t need to be as conscious as you need to be.

Example: Let’s say that you were in a relationship where you experienced X (good points) before. By focusing purely on the positive associations with the good points, you don’t have to think too much and can focus on other things. But let’s imagine that you experience X (those good points that you associate with being in love, the expectation of commitment etc) in another relationship but it’s minus the landmarks of healthy relationships (commitment, progression, balance, intimacy, shared values etc). You are highly likely to focus on the positive associations, not the problems. You will assume that because you think you have X, that the rest is on the way. When you think about exiting the relationship, you will feel as if this is a bad decision because of the associations.

LOOK FOR: What are you ignoring with your pattern?

 

10 You associate repetition with factual representation of justifiable reasoning.

When it comes to patterns, we don’t look at the facts; we look at the repetition.

Example: Dorothy has taken the same route to the shop 100 times, and as far as she’s concerned it’s the correct route because it’s what she’s done. What Dorothy is unaware of though, mainly because she hasn’t considered it and it’s been safe and unconscious, is that there is another route.

LOOK FOR: Where are you focusing on the repetition? What have you repeated many times and taken as the gospel truth or the “correct” or “only” way?

 

11 Getting conscious about your associations is about asking, Did I put it in the wrong group or did I associate the wrong action?

Example: You may have put any and all forms of criticism into the same group including respectful feedback. On the flip side, you may have discerned what criticism is, but then your response may be to berate and punish you as well as lashing out.

Or, you may associate having sex with a committed relationship and so may have a sequence of responses that cement your commitment while blinding you to certain things. If you declare that you’re in love on this basis, this would be where you need to wake up.

LOOK FOR: In module three, you delved into your associations and found out about how you lump events, memories, feelings etc., into the same bucket to batch process your associations. This means that items in your subconscious may be bagged and tagged as similar when they’re not.

What are you treating as the same when it isn’t?

Or is that you have identified an association, but the action you associated with it is causing you pain?

 

12 Cues and triggers = be self-aware and vigilant

Example: If you have something to do each week and yet the deadline rolls around, and you miss it, the cue isn’t the day of the deadline; the cue needs to be a few days beforehand where you remind you and take action giving you enough space to be on time.

LOOK FOR: Where do you keep getting on the Disappointment Cycle? Where do you tend to get carried away? How can you plan ahead and root you in the present so that you can be conscious, aware and present?

 

13 Patterns rely on you ignoring stuff. If you are biased towards collecting negative evidence about you, you will ignore positive evidence. You will also seek out evidence to justify your view of you.

The key isn’t to seek be a happy clapper – it’s about being balanced and in reality.

LOOK FOR: Think of all of the negative evidence that you’ve amassed about you and your pattern. What positive evidence have you ignored? Is all of the negative evidence irrefutably true?

 

14 Your pattern is dated to an age or group of ages. When you trace the origins of your pattern, it’s not so much about your present self but about a wounded younger self.

The answer isn’t to put the pattern on repeat because that only temporarily reassures your younger (and present) self, and so exacerbates the issue. The answer is to get in command of present you, grow up your present self’s perspective and do things now that don’t repeat the pattern and so gradually quieten and calm your younger selves who keep panicking.

And yes, they will feel jittery as you start to do things differently, but you have to speak to him/her and let them know that you are and will be OK and that you will not be putting the past on repeat any more. We’ll be doing lots of work on this in the last three modules.

LOOK FOR: When you consider how you feel while engaging in your pattern, what age and time in your life does it remind you of? Where are you trying to right the wrongs of the past and what are they? What is your younger self afraid of? How can you reassure him/her?

 

15 Patterns and the repetition of experiences within them hold crucial lessons for you that will stop repeating once you pay attention to, acknowledge and learn the lesson.

If you want the pain to go away that stems from being put through the pain of these lessons, you must be willing to open you up to a level of self-awareness that you’re not currently allowing you to experience. Be willing to wake up (and stay awake). You must be willing to feel and to grieve the feelings as well as any loss that comes up through acknowledging what you’ve been through.

LOOK FOR: What is the specific lesson contained within the experiences that have kept on repeating? It’s not about finding something negative about you; it’s about finding a positive, motivating lesson to encourage you to let go of the hold that the past has on you.

Example: If like me, you’ve experienced a pattern of being in unavailable relationships as well as codependency, you’ve experienced painful lessons about:

  • Learning to trust your gut and you.
  • Not getting carried away with the fantasy.
  • Character over personality.
  • Truth over lies,
  • Not looking for something or someone to be the external solution to any internal issues.
  • Accepting your parents for who they are even though they inadequately parented you in childhood.

The lesson for me used to be that I was worthless and good for nothing as well as being a f*ck-up but you can see, just based on what I listed, that those are the lessons. Going out with a guy who had a girlfriend forced me to see that I had some serious issues that I needed to address. Once I did, toxic relationships held no attraction for me and it was a hell of a lot easier (and quicker) to flush when people unfolded.

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