Do you know that part of our behaviour is on autopilot? From childhood, we start accumulating patterns such as brushing our teeth every morning or doing 10 minutes of meditation after waking up. Those patterns are accumulated from our experiences, learnings and culture. Not all those patterns are routine, day-to-day actions, some of them fall into our subconscious or make us take life decisions. One of the most known patterns is the one that many are raised to follow: school and then university. When you graduate, you get a job then everyone starts asking you if you have anyone in your life. You get married then your surroundings start asking when are you planning to get pregnant. You raise your children and by 68 more or less, you retire.
How many of us took a moment to question those patterns? Do they lead to positive or negative results? Is that what we really want?
Time and Context effect on Pattern Results
What is good for us now might not work for us later. We are moving in life from one phase to another. For instance: a routine party on a Friday night in the city till 3:00 am might be a good re-boost for a person in the 20s but a killer for a person in the 40s. In dating, what we look for as a teenager might change with time. Nothing is stable in life, neither is our preference, priorities, needs or desires. It is good to evaluate our patterns every now and then or in every milestone to ensure that they are still working for us.
Patterns don’t have a universal effect
How many of you have searched “morning routine for successful people”? Then you start reading affirmation, meditation, green juices and an hour run. Great, they are all nice habits but they might not work for you. If you don’t run for 1 hour in the morning doesn’t mean that you will never become successful. Some people just need to start the day with a coffee and 30 min of quiet. Pattern preferences differ from one person to another because each one of us has a unique character. It is nice to ask people about their routines as they might give some new ideas but It shouldn’t be a guide to follow blindly.
Cultural Influence on Pattern Development
That’s one of my favourite topics. Most of our behaviour and beliefs come from our culture. We grew up listing to our surroundings. In our childhood, we believe whatever we are taught and we grow up thinking that they are common sense. Social perception becomes part of who we are. Sometimes those beliefs bring us pain more than happiness. How many of us dare to challenge those beliefs? When you start doubting them, it feels like you are doubting your identity! A whole dilemma goes into your mind in which you feel trapped for some time. I have been through that path, but by pushing through that’s how you start to build yourself.
Identifying Toxic Patterns and Changing Them
From experience and learning, we accumulate patterns which are not all positive or we will be all living the dream with joy. In addition, Some of those patterns might be helpful during one phase of our life but an obstacle in others. Identifying those patterns and changing them is a step toward moving forward and feeling happy. In the end, awareness is the first step to the solution.
The issue is that whenever a person is in the middle of a situation, it is difficult to be objective. Having an inner circle that we can trust and that is honest with us, can also help allocate our toxic patterns. The only thing is that we need to keep an open mind.