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Have you noticed them, the patterns I mean? I don’t mean the big ones that people talk about when they say things like “Every seven years there is a change…”, or “Things go in ‘X’ year cycles, don’t you know.”

I mean the sort of patterns that are happening and in which we are involved, moment by moment and day by day.

Time and again I have found that – when working with both individuals and groups – the problem they are complaining about is held in place by a self-sustaining pattern of behaviour.

This may be a tit-for-tat type of interaction where one person responds to another’s behaviour in a way that has become predictable. Or it can be the individual is simply repeating behaviours (this includes how they think, say, by making judgements or accepting blame, for example), that are unhelpful or destructive.

Over the years I have come to adopt a kind of loose rule which says “It doesn’t matter what you do, just as long as you break the usual pattern.” This means that, often, you don’t actually have to know what the pattern is in order to change it!

Astonishing, what!? Or daft! But it works.

You can try it. The next time you are caught in a loop that just seems to keep you stuck, change the pattern by doing the opposite (or near opposite), of that which you would habitually do. Even if it doesn’t fix the problem you can have fun experimenting!

(I should point out that the new behaviour or course of action should be respectful of others, legal, safe, and not likely to put you or anyone else at risk.)

Learning to see things as patterns provides some interesting opportunities, and even if you’d rather not try anything new, at least you might recognise what you are struggling against.

2 Responses to “Patterns In Your Life”

  1. Wow! I am sending this to a friend. It is just what I wanted to say to him. Thank you.

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