THE BLOG
09/21/2012 08:45 am ET Updated Nov 21, 2012

Patterns and Habits: Ruling Your Life!

I mentioned in my last two blogs the powerful realization I recently had about fear. I believe it is critical for a successful work and home life -- and a life of joy!

We are all living lives based on patterns and habits, ruled unconsciously by fear.

This seems to be true for everyone. I notice it in myself, my audiences and almost everyone else I have met or known.

How Patterns or Habits Are Established:

Any activity will become a pattern or a habit if we repeat it often enough that pathways are set into the brain. For example, driving a car. Your first few lessons were a nightmare for you and your parents, until you had practiced enough that some patterns were laid down.

Those patterns have been repeated so often that now, you can drive home listening to the radio, speaking on the phone (hands-free, of course) and thinking about your life, and you don't even remember the actual driving because it is so automatic.

That's what happens with our behavioral and emotional patterns as well. Once patterns of behaviors or emotions set in, they run permanently -- and unconsciously -- in the background, like the operating system of our computers.

We don't see them, or even know they are working -- but these unconscious patterns control everything that goes on in our lives -- just like the operating system controls everything in our computers!

Various programs automatically launch as soon as we turn our computers on. Those programs are the equivalent of our unconscious behavioral and emotional patterns. So... most of us live life totally unaware of these patterns or programs.

The Root of These Patterns

I believe that many of the patterns are laid down as a result of fears from our early childhood years.
Toddlers can't think with rational, adult logic. They don't see other aspects to situations or behavior. Something (sometimes innocent or innocuous) happens when we are young and our perception of it (note: not necessarily the truth) embeds a belief.

This belief becomes the basis of a story -- a fairy story that we start to tell ourselves -- about ourselves, others or our situations. Before we know it, a wound is created and fear surrounds it as the "false protector," making sure we don't get hurt again.

Now our lives become a process of protecting and defending ourselves and our story, until it becomes "the" truth! This is now the program that runs permanently in the background of our brains. It controls our behavior every moment of every day.

The Big One!

One of the big fears ruling most of our not-so-useful habits and patterns is the fear that we are not good enough, not worth loving, or not loved. I have mentioned this a couple of times so far in the blogs -- each time a different aspect!

When we believe (i.e., tell ourselves the story), that we are not worthy of love or being loved, it undermines and influences everything we do. We are constantly on guard in case someone finds this out, and we defend or protect ourselves before we even know there is a choice to consciously respond to what we perceive as attacks.

Can you think of situations where you react instantly to something and you are not even sure what you are reacting to? That's the speed of the brain's background operating platform. Before you know it, your brain has heard what someone said, started defending you, blamed something else, begun the protection process... because it is responding to the story that you are not worth loving and it's covering for it.

So now you have blown up at someone, said something hurtful, behaved like a 2-year-old or done something really stupid. When you calm down you wonder: "What is the matter with me?"

And then comes regret. You don't know why you keep doing that same thing. It is probably not exactly the same thing each time, but the same type of behavior or emotion, the same pattern.

Anger, resentment, frustration, lashing out, impatience, blaming, behaving like a toddler, justification and defensiveness are the most common patterns!

How to Change the Patterns

Today is your new beginning! With awareness comes choice. Once you understand why you do what you do, you can start to explore your stories and the beliefs and fears behind them.

Today, put a note up on your computer that says: "I am aware of my patterns and habits -- and the beliefs and fears behind them!"

Then make it a goal to become conscious of these patterns that are taking away your peace and joy. No more blaming others! They are your patterns and your fears!

Only YOU can change the story. Only YOU can fill your need for love. Only YOU can help yourself be whole (although divine intervention can help).

You are the most important person to believe you are worth loving. Once you see how special you really are, and can truly love yourself, then you can unconditionally love others!

Step One: Wake Up -- Become Aware

Once you "hover" above, become conscious of or shine a light on your fears and patterns, they may disappear just like a fear of the dark disappears once you turn the light on. (Although sometimes we need to keep turning the light on!)

At least you know what is driving your behaviors.

If you choose to, you can become more aware of your patterns and their triggers. You can examine them and find the fears behind them.

With practice, you can recognize them immediately, and if you choose to change them, you can. It just takes a bit of work.

So the first step is to become aware.

• What patterns are going on in your life that are interfering with and blocking your joy?
• What do you do that you regret after you have done it?
• When you have arguments, are you blaming others?
• If things are not the way you want them to be in your life, are you blaming others, or do you take full responsibility?

A reader recently sent me a wonderful concept: If you point your finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at you and one pointing up, to your higher self or God or whatever you want to call it.

If you can reconnect with your higher self, or your heart, or something bigger than you, if you can accept that it's not someone else's fault but something you are creating or seeing as a reflection, if you believe that there is an "operating system" in the background of your brain that needs to be changed, if you choose to take responsibility for what is going on in your life...

and for your behaviors (patterns and fears)...

and then you consistently do the work to change...

and repeat the desired behaviors until they become the new default...

you will change your life and be well on the way to finding your joy!

Let me know how it goes! Feel free to comment or share your ideas!

Zooties!

Amanda Gore

For more by Amanda Gore, click here.

For more on becoming fearless, click here.

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