Finding the Peace

Changing Old Patterns

I often tell others that if we make an error in listening to our knowing (or not listening to our knowing) and fall back into our old patterns, it will be fine.  The reason it will be fine, is that inevitably, we will be given another opportunity to replay the pattern again. This next time, we can step into our knowing and act on it by stepping into a new pattern, changing the way we interact, giving up the old dysfunctional way.

There are no accidents.  We are exactly where we are to be in this moment, at this time, dealing with this situation, these people and this decision. It may not be fun, or what you want to be dealing with, but on a soul level, our work is to work through our old patterns that we replay over and over again.  We may have different players in the scenes, but we often have the same patterns and same themes.  These patterns often go back to our family of origin patterns that need to be resolved.  Having the pattern show up in our present relationships now is the opportunity to heal it, step into our fully empowered self, give up the old tendencies, and use new skills and new patterns.  When we do, we can let go of the pattern and move on to new lessons and new growth. These hard lessons are our opportunity to release the old through healing it and move into new ways.

So what does this really mean?  Let’s say that you have a pattern of being a peacekeeper.  This started when you were young because your dad had a temper and you always wanted to make sure to keep him happy as a child. So instead of looking within yourself for your own answers, you looked outside of yourself to see what the people (your dad) around you wanted in order to make him happy.  As a result, you now end up doing what others want you to do, rarely figuring out what you want to do, and often feel frustrated and dissatisfied.  You don’t set boundaries, end up resentful and feel unappreciated for all you do for others.  And you are not happy.

The way you would release this pattern is to go ahead and stop being the peacekeeper. I call it, “Stomping on those egg shells you were so careful about as a child.”  Instead of worrying about the other person’s emotions and his/her reactions, you do what is right for you.  You can do it in an appropriate, respectful way.  But you still do it, setting the boundaries you need to set for your own welfare.  If you need to call it an evening at 10 p.m. and others want to stay out later, you call it an evening at 10 p.m. You take care of you and let the others around you take care of their needs.  If someone gets upset with you for setting boundaries, you may have to assess if this is what a true friend would do.  Being willing to take care of your own needs is your work.  No one will do that but you and until you do that, you can’t grow and change the old pattern.  What is interesting about the process is that once you get the lesson, the situations often don’t come up anymore as opportunities for you to practice.  Once you make the shift within yourself, the outside world no longer shows up with situations to match that pattern.

So go ahead – take your opportunities to learn and grow head on.  If you have a difficult situation, look at the pattern.  Assess if it is a pattern that is often repeated in your life.  Figure out what you need to do to be more loving and kind and caring to you.  Set the boundaries to match that equation.  See if things don’t get better for you.

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  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
    Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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