Do you have some habit, pattern or behavior that you do over and over again, and no matter what… it seems like it’s almost impossible to break?
Maybe it’s stuffing your face with ice cream (gluten free, of course).
Maybe it’s another failed romantic relationship attempt.
Maybe it’s an addiction.
Maybe you keep giving your power away.
Maybe you’ve had the same fight over and over again and want to stop.
Whatever it is… most of us have at least one, if not more, old patterns in our life that don’t do us any good.
So, how do we break ’em? It can feel impossible, but let me assure you, it’s not.
You can break free from the patterns that hold you back.
And when you do, you step into a whole new kind of world.
A world of greater learning, greater abundance, greater Love, joy and yes, greater purpose.
Over the past few weeks I’ve received many replies from the community that is asking the same question:
How Do I Break Old Survival Patterns™ (SP’s) that hold me back?
If you’ve been wondering this, today, I’m going to give you the map.
The short answer is this:
To break any old SP, you need a pattern interrupt.
And if you aren’t sure what an SP is – let me define it for you:
A Survival Pattern™ is an unconscious (fancy word for hidden, like you, don’t know you have it) and irrational (meaning, it makes no logical sense) fear that is based on past trauma that prevents you from moving forward.
SP’s can be felt in the body. SP’s are an automatic response to any uncertainty or stress.
We’ve all experienced trauma in our lives, which, essentially is a wound created by emotional isolation and being physical, emotionally or mentally unsafe.
The stereotypical thinking about trauma is that it’s only trauma if it’s extreme – like physical abuse, for example.
However, trauma is not just for those extreme examples.
We all experience trauma on different scales.
And to the brain, trauma is trauma.
So, it’s a common mistake to think that other people’s “trauma” is more significant or valid than yours.
Don’t go there. The way you feel is valid.
So, how do we break a traumatic SP that is almost an automatic and unconscious response in our brain and body?
Pro tip: It’s vital to move through these steps quickly. Otherwise you run the risk of your SP’s running you. The goal is not to indulge your SP, but rather break it… So, make it your intention to keep moving through the steps.
Step 1 – Identify The Pattern
The first step is admitting you have an SP.
Late night binge eating. Overspending. Toxic relationship. Whatever it is, the first thing you must do is say:
THIS PATTERN EXISTS
It can feel scary to do this because we have been falsely trained to believe that if we admit to our SP’s – then that will make things worse.
Not acknowledging your SP is like putting duct tape over your fuel gauge in your car and pretending you won’t run out of fuel if you don’t see the light. So, admit you have it.
Where is it? What does it feel like in your body? How familiar is this feeling? And then move on to Step 2.
Step 2 – Acknowledge The Pattern.
Pattern’s start to die when they are acknowledged. When you say… “AHA – there you are!” SP’s be like… “Who, me?” And, they tend to lessen.
The difference between acknowledging and identifying is that identification is about becoming aware that you even have an SP…
Acknowledgment is giving it your attention and saying hello.
Give your SP a name, other than your own.
For me, I call one of my SP’s “Rod The Fraud” – when I feel like I’m a fraud and not enough. (Yup, that still happens.)
And, you don’t want to stay in the SP too long, though.
If you find yourself mostly talking about the SP, and seeking out other people to validate it, then you are keeping yourself stuck.
Acknowledgment is essential, but we must also keep moving to the next step to break the pattern.
Remember, SP’s hold you back.
Don’t put them in the driver’s seat, just let them know you see them and love them.
Step 3 – Neutralize The Pattern
Next up, now that we know that you do in fact have an SP and you’ve named it.
Now, it’s time to neutralize it. It’s easy to want to forget this step and just keep going.
The neutralization of the SP means you have to grow.
And, it means you get to “kill” your SP. And your SP will resist this.
This is where the phrase “Old Patterns Die Hard” come from… Or… “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Patterns can be strong. And there is only way to neutralize them.
You must override the pattern with an equal or greater emotional experience.
You cannot do this on the level of thinking.
Repeat, you cannot THINK your way out of an SP.
You must feel your way out of it.
There are all kinds of ways to do this.
For me, the SP of wanting to stuff my face with caramel popcorn or cinnamon rolls starts to surface around 7/8pm and lasts til about 9:30 pm.
So, instead of just white knuckling it, I ask my SP… like literally… “What do you need right now?”
Typically, the answer is something like, “To feel safe.”
I know I have a “witching hour” in the evening.
So, I design my day to interrupt that SP with a more powerful positive emotional experience.
It could be a massage, a Kundalini Yoga class, meditation…
Recently I’ve discovered the awesome experience of “Escape Rooms” (OMG!) and have gone during the witching hour.
It is a pattern interrupt on an emotional level, designed at the time of day that the SP tends to rear it’s head.
Also, I have an old SP that thinks that on the weekends I “deserve” to go to town on “treat meal.”
Especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
So, I am mindful of how I spend those nights.
In fact, a big measure of how healthy I am is based on the quality of my Friday and Saturday nights.
So, I put a BIG focus on those evenings of the week and making sure I design emotional pattern interrupts into my routine.
Other ways to break the pattern on an emotional level are:
Kundalini Yoga, EMDR, Escape Rooms, Massage, Meditation, going to a 12-Step Meeting, being in nature, getting a life coach, a therapist, going on a retreat or attending a seminar.
You want to neutralize the SP on the emotional level. That’s how you override it.
Then, move on to Step 4.
Step 4 – Turn the SP into an act of Love and Purposeful Work
SP’s in the body are basically parts of ourselves that hold trauma and are underdeveloped. It’s as if are bodies are screaming for attention and healing.
One of the best ways to heal your SP’s long term is to serve others.
I started by first blog, The Daily Love, with a ton of anger energy.
I was mad at a former business partner for what I thought and believed at the time was a Soul level betrayal.
Instead of channeling my energy into taking him down or focusing on how “screwed over” I felt… I decided to serve others.
I channeled my anger into purposeful works of Love.
Use the energy of your SP’s and direct it to help others.
Donate your time. Write a blog. Call a friend in need. Forgive your family. Find someone to help.
The old saying goes, “If you’re feeling helpless, help someone.”
Nothing is quite as healing as helping to alleviate the suffering of others.
This is the power of 12-Steps, group coaching courses like Claim Your Power and other community driven programs.
And, you don’t need to wait to have a million followers to help someone.
Literally, help the next person you see.
Offer to buy their groceries, or give them a smile or compliment.
There is no shortage of the need for kindness and being of service today.
And, be unconditionally kind.
Not just to people like you. Be kind to those you would normally judge (yes, I know you judge other people, still… that’s okay… break the pattern).
If you open your eyes, you will see at least ten opportunities right in front of you.
OK – so….
Those are the Four Steps to breaking a Survival Pattern™ – those pesky patterns that hold you back.
Now it’s over to you…
Breaking an SP is a process. So, be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself and strive to make small baby steps each day.
Your mantra today is…. one step at a time.
Remember to get out there, take action and make it real!