Changing Behavioral Patterns
We all form behavioral patterns based on our personal situation and history. In a way they develop to make life easier for us; automatic responses help us effectively handle the reality of our circumstances.
In ideal cases, when we live in healthy environments, this is a good thing, for it will raise us to be able minded and good hearted people with a strong emotional foundation. But there’s also a shadow side to this unconscious process: when the conditions are bad they can also corrupt us or make life permanently difficult.
That’s when we need to change our routine. And to do that we need to become aware of the vicious circles we’re stuck in. Most of the time we just experience the impact of a pattern, namely the way we feel, without relating it to our established ways. That’s like being conscious of a symptom, but not of the cause; and only by treating the cause can we find the real answer. Actions we take to make us forget about our emotional state never provide us with lasting solutions.
No, instead we need to contemplate and puzzle. How we feel is linked to what we did or thought, sometimes literally second before the sensations, other times they’re repercussions of earlier experiences. It’s vital that we learn to recognize these connections, because once we know which thought or act (which is often also based on a thought) is the source of our state of mind, we can train ourselves to change them in order to feel better.
In this regard it makes no difference if we’re talking about behavioral patterns or thought patterns. The way you think about yourself can be the result of the impact of an unhealthy atmosphere, which left you no option. But once you’re aware, you can make a choice, which is a choice you need to fight for in order to make; for instance, liking yourself when you don’t requires you to break free from an itself perpetuating frame of mind. This is true for all pattern we must liberate ourselves from.
And even when things aren’t that bad it may be wise to examine yourself. As long as we don’t maintain a garden it will overgrow or wither away. That analogy also counts for our minds and the climate we create. To uphold a prosperous state we need to actively manage it, and we can’t do that when we remain blind to it. And even then, things can always be better. There’s no end to the way we can improve ourselves and our shared situation.
Examine yourself to discover the relations between thoughts, deeds and sensations, decide whether or not you wish to keep thinking and acting that way and labor to change it. The rewards, in the form of an overall well-being, are waiting to be plucked, like fruits from a tree that needs your care in order to blossom.