Patterns of Relating
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
How hard do you fight to stay inside your comfort zone?
How true is this simple statement? We probably all know that we like to stay within our comfort zones but we do more than that. We fight, sometimes to the death, to stay there. No one is going to pull me from under this blanket I've been hiding under...... and so things stay the same. Safe, familiar, unchallenged and unchanged.
The power of the human mind to hang on to negative thought patterns and to keep you from risking anything is sobering. Being aware of this is the first step out into the exciting unknown, but what keeps us there in the first place? The human brain is wired for patterns and it enjoys finding them because that makes things easy; faster, safer, and more familiar. Being fixated on patterns has a purpose beyond these things; Difference stands out. A tiger in the forest, a child in the road. It allows us to recognise where things don't fit and react accordingly. If we were to choose between sitting in a familiar pattern and having to react constantly to a child in the road, we would all choose what is familiar, easy and safe even if, in reality, it is not easy or safe. Holding on to unhealthy patterns in our relationships with people, food, alcohol, work etc seems easier in the short term because the alternative is overwhelming and can seem like an unattainable goal.
However, that is a false narrative. Your brain is an incredible machine with one goal; to keep you alive. In doing so, it will always choose the path of least resistance. We have to challenge that in order to grow; to teach it that the patterns it is holding onto in order to protect us are no longer working for the situation we now find ourselves in. Viktor Frankl was a concentration camp survivor and psychologist who noticed that many of his fellow survivors had one thing in common. The ability to leave the camp in their mind's eye and visualise their future beyond the horrors of their reality.
"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
About the author Greg James is a counsellor with a desire to see people set free from the patterns of the past. Trained integratively, Greg is able to tailor his approach to the individual needs of clients and strongly believes that our lived experience has a profound effect on our present-day living. He works out of offices in Devizes & Chippenham as well as online.