2021

When Old Patterns of Behavior No Longer Serve You

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

In therapy we are working through current thought processes and where they came from. What we are finding is that a lot of our current thought processes were once very necessary and important for survival. Not necessarily physical survival, but emotional survival. They kept us on our toes and provided a way to understand what was happening around us and to us. However, these thought patterns and behavior patterns are now causing significant problems in our daily functioning and relationships.

We know the skills necessary to change that. We understand where the thought processes come from. We have an absolute understanding of the effects these patterns cause on our relationships with family, friends, and others. And yet somehow we have no concept of how to actually apply the skills to change these patterns.

It’s frustrating and hard for people to understand. It’s hard for us to understand. It ends up with us being careful about who we interact with and who we form bonds with. We are missing out on good people and good relationships because we believe we are less than others in our peer group. We avoid women’s gatherings at church. We avoid forming actual friendships with our co-workers. There’s a fear that if we get too close people will see that we are actually a serious mess and will think less of us.

It’s a tough pill to swallow when we admit that we are missing out on relationships and we are discounting people who may be amazing friends and amazing people. We are missing out on a chance to enrich their lives, and a chance for them to enrich ours all from a fear of rejection and a belief that we are not worthy of love, acceptance, and grace.

There’s no doubt in my mind that God has kept us alive this long for a reason. A reason, at this point, only He knows. God has given us gifts and by hiding ourselves and who we are, we are not using these gifts as He intends and we are holding back from being the person/people He has created us to be.

It’s time for us, and maybe even you, to step out of the comfort zone. I know it’s cliché. I know that it comes off as trite, especially to those of us who have really sordid pasts. Pasts that inspire shame and fear of judgment and rejection. Stepping out of our comfort zone is not something trite at all. It’s not easy. It’s paralyzing. Let’s start with a small community of people we trust, people who know us, people who know our pasts and accept us despite the terrible choices, abuses we suffered, and abuses we perpetrated. Let’s start building awareness to the fact that people can, and do, change. Let us remember that Jesus redeemed us and has wiped us clean, and let us live like we believe that. In this aspect of life, maybe we do have to “fake it until we make it”.

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