Patterns are any repeating thought, feeling or behavior that you would like to change.
Everyone has patterns they wish they didn’t have; that is, some way of thinking or behaving that needs consideration. Whether it is negative self-talk or relationship issues or health concerns, we all have patterns. This is normal. Yet how well do you know your patterns? What is your pattern IQ?
The more you know your patterns, the more control you have of them, and the less likely you are to keep repeating the same painful behaviors. It’s when we are not aware of our patterns that they run the show and cause us to feel powerless over them.
Before we go further, let’s remind ourselves we are lovable and acceptable just as we are, patterns and all. Spiritually we are whole and perfect no matter what. Without this affirmation, it can feel too uncomfortable to talk about patterns. Yet to set ourselves free, we must talk about patterns.
Asking you how well you know your patterns is similar to asking, how well can you self-observe? We all know someone with an annoying behavior who seems unaware they have it. Worse is having our own painful behavior and not knowing how we contribute to our own discomfort. And of course, we don’t want to adversely affect others with our patterns.
Some patterns can cause us to say things we don’t mean, and if we are not aware or in control of our triggers, we may shock ourselves and blindside others with our reactions. When we are unaware of our wounds and what triggers them, we aren’t able to fix the problems we create, let alone stop the issue from reoccurring.
A person with a high pattern IQ is a safe person to be around. The person who knows herself, knows her limits and knows her triggers is someone who can communicate her needs. Conversely, it is difficult to feel fully comfortable around someone who is unaware of her patterns, which can be triggered at any moment.
Getting to know your patterns is the first step toward change.
Your inner self-observer is your friend in this endeavor. Your self-observer is the loving part of you that is always watching and listening to all you think, say and do. In the best sense, it is your most honest, neutral and objective self that monitors your thoughts, behaviors and choices. It is the part of you that wants to do well and to be well. It is the part of you that wants to learn from mistakes and do things better the next time.
It may seem that when we cringe at something we said or did, it is our observer-self doing the cringing. However, self-judgment is usually coming from the level of the pattern itself. Funny as this might sound, a deeply entrenched pattern of behavior will both perpetuate itself and then simultaneously cause us to judge ourselves for it. Crazy set-up, huh? Our self-observer is actually neutral, compassionate and is connected to our Higher Self, which wants only the best for us, and supports our innate desire to be our best.
To boost your pattern IQ, consider the following questions. Gently think of one of your patterns as you read along, and remember you are so much more than any silly pattern.
- As you think about your pattern, what is going on at the time it is triggered? What is the scenario? Does it involve another person or dynamic? What happens first, and is there any warning? Do you try to stop it, but can’t?
- What does your pattern cause you to think, say or do? Can you grasp the “logic” that is going on, at the level of the pattern, justifying and defending the behavior? How far back can you recall having this pattern?
- Many patterns have a defined lifecycle, perhaps lasting a moment or a day. How do you feel after things have calmed down a bit? Are you able to think about your pattern and observe it after the fact to see what you can learn? Or is the pattern so painful you cannot bear to observe it, even much later?
- What do others say about your pattern? Has it ever been a topic of conversation? Do you have a loving and trusting other who can help you become a better self-observer by comparing observations?
If you were able to answer these questions while remembering your wholeness, bravo! No matter what patterns we have, they are just patterns and can be changed. There is always far more good within us than our patterns allow us to believe. The fact that you can ask these questions and uncover the answers is proof that you are wiser than any pattern you might have. It also means you are in control and on your way to greater freedom, peace and joy.
Hi Julie – thanks for sharing this. It is a gracious, gentle, loving reminder that we all should be more aware of what we do and why. Lengthening the moments between situation and reaction is the key to overcoming your (negative) patterns. These patterns may have protected us in the past. They are like old friends that we need to thank for how they may have helped us, served us well I the past when we most needed them. But it’s time to say goodbye when they are becoming stifling and preventing us from moving forward in our lives in becoming the greatest version of ourselves.
Miss you my dear friend.