My first internship in grad school was at a posh drug treatment clinic in midtown Manhattan. The owner of the facility was a tall, handsome, quiet, well known addiction expert and an MD. I went to great lengths to avoid interacting with Dr. W. If I saw him coming towards me in the hall, I would panic and ditch into the ladies room to avoid even passing by him. Now you might think I was well aware of how extreme my reaction was to Dr.W…but actually I thought he was cold, unfeeling and a little scary and that hiding in the bathroom from a man I barely knew, in a professional setting, was a completely normal response. Until I started talking about it in therapy. After discussing Dr. W with my therapist, she asked me to describe my father. I described him as tall, handsome, quiet, very successful, cold, unfeeling and a little scary. The connection was made! My response to Dr W was actually a transference reaction as he reminded me of my father and was also in position of power and authority in my life. Once I saw the connection and processed why I feared my own father growing up, I was able to establish a healthy working relationship with Dr.W at the clinic and was hired to run groups there after I graduated.
Most people can relate to my story. If you start to look for the behavioral, situational and emotional patterns in your life, they will emerge. As a therapist, one of my main functions is to gather information and then uncover the patterns. If you find yourself repeatedly in unfulfilling relationships, toxic work environments or friendships you need to follow the dots backwards in your life experience to find the beginning of the pattern or as I refer to it, Situation Zero.
Many situations people recreate as adults stem from childhood. Whether you grew up in a healthy home, or a dysfunctional one, you adapted a belief system and learned behaviors that created the blueprints that are downloaded into your unconscious mind. You have used these blueprints to build your life.
A downloaded blueprint is a belief system that is planted during childhood. These blueprints, are like the architectural blueprint for a house, that someone else designed. Most of the time you don’t even question them because you aren’t aware that this isn’t simply ‘how the world is.’ It is my job to help people uncover and understand what they often cannot see. I find that most people are completely unaware of how their unresolved past is informing their present.
No matter what the situation or relationship, there is always an opportunity to understand yourself more deeply. In order to create a freedom filled and luscious life you must look at the areas where what you seek alludes you. If you have repeated pain around work, love, health or money, then it is mandatory that you do some deep work to uncover why. This is how you will discover the origin of the limiting belief or behavior.
Many people find it easier to blame. They blame their partner, they blame their boss, they blame their family, friends; you name it, they blame it. Yet, all blame does is keep you stuck. Sure you may get a new job or find a new relationship, but remember, “wherever you go, there you are.” For most people it takes countless times, sometimes even a lifetime to learn that when situations keep repeating themselves, two, three… ten times, the issue and the answers aren’t out there, they are in you.
This truth is meant to be liberating not blaming. Blaming anyone is pointless, as an end game. Understanding and honoring what happened in your life and how it affected you is productive and leads to healing. Taking responsibility to figure it out might be the only thing that leads you to sustainable, lasting change. Then when you discover a dysfunctional pattern or have an issue, you will know where to start looking for answers.
One of the first steps to shifting limiting beliefs that create harmful patterns is to connect the dots backwards. When you find yourself in any sort of conflict ask yourself ‘Have I experienced this before?’ If yes, then ask yourself ‘where and when did I experience this?’ And lastly ask ‘what did this experience lead me to believe?’
If you find that your past experiences have caused you to have a belief system that makes you feel negative about yourself, other people or the world, then know know this, YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR BELIEFS! Just because someone else drew up the blueprints for your house doesn’t mean that you have to keep it! If you don’t like what you see, or think, change it. It can take time and it does take effort but I want you to know that it is totally possible.
I always love connecting with you so please share with me below one area where you experience repeating patterns. Tell me what these experiences have lead you to believe. Then tell me the shifts you would like to make in your beliefs so that you can stop reliving this pattern. Also if you have any questions or need some help doing the deep dive that this work requires, ask me. I love being of service to you.
Remember that you are the common denominator in your life so let that empowered truth propel you forward into a week of kind inquiry and, as always, take care of you.
Love Love Love
*image courtesy of Laura Taylor