I read somewhere recently that if you want to break habits and form healthier alternatives, moving house is the way to go, which means I’m in for a shake-up soon. Of course there are other opportunities to break habits and often we forget due to wanting to cling hard to old but possibly unproductive habits, that breakups and new relationships are a wonderful opportunity to evolve.
Part of the grieving and moving forward process is creating new responses to cues and triggers where you’ve typically reached for or relied upon your ex, such as boredom, loneliness, validation seeking, stress, tiredness, desire to escape etc. You have to be more self-reliant and self-soothe in these situations, and where things go awry is where you keep looking to your ex (or a substitute) in these situations and this increases the lack of personal security you feel as well as the pain.
New relationships also offer the opportunity to go down a different path and this is much easier to do when you have the self-awareness that comes with being willing to learn from the insights gained from your prior relationships. With each relationship you get to understand you a bit more and where you also need to step up for yourself to ensure that you’re representing your needs, expectations and wishes.
New relationships are an opportunity to evolve and grow regardless of the outcome.
It’s not that you won’t be hurt and pissed off if things don’t work out, but when you know that you weren’t just trying to pick up from where you left off in a previous relationship and that you weren’t trying to be the exception to the rule and trying to right the wrongs of the past, you have the perspective to recognise where you’ve made gains instead of being loss focused. It also helps if you don’t treat being single as the prison sentence that you have to pass between shady relationships…
There won’t be this sense that you’ve lost out on somebody making you ‘whole’ at last and you’re not being caught out by stubbornness and feeling away due to having had your pattern on repeat. You won’t feel too afraid to gain new insights because once you’ve grieved the loss and the dust has settled, what you learn from the experience takes you a step closer to a more fulfilling relationship and it provides you with some self-knowledge. You may even feel proud or empowered due to how you handled a situation or just knowing that you weren’t pretending to be something that you’re not in order to fit in with somebody who was actually unfolding.
We do have an awareness of what does and doesn’t feel good and what does and doesn’t work for us – we just may not be living up to these values, possibly due to being sidetracked by fear or eagerness to please and to be seen in a certain way. Sometimes we crave the feeling of validating ourselves off of another person changing and being in our uncomfortable comfort zone more than we want the feeling of peace that comes with getting on with the business of living instead of living in the past.
When our past behaviours start showing up in present situations, it’s time to ask: What can I learn here?
This isn’t about owning other people’s behaviour but instead it’s about recognising that we’re defaulting to thinking and behaviour that we know won’t benefit us. It’s also recognising that if we want how we feel or the types of situations we typically find ourselves in to change, we have to change.
It’s also time to stop, look, and listen, because we’re either slipping into old habits due to not just repeating this pattern but also due to being with a similar person in different packaging, or we’re repeating these habits with no regard for what’s actually taking place around us. We’re having default responses that don’t give us an opportunity to do and think differently than we have previously.
We can look the similarities between a past and present situation but it’s also important to look at what’s different. Aside from the fact that they may not actually be the same beyond our reaction or surface similarities, it’s also important for us to note that we are not even the same person we were previously. We are smarter, stronger, and more self-aware… if we want to be.
When we get stuck in this cycle, we are too internally focused and may be responding to internal fears without external evidence of those said fears but still carrying on like there is. We have a duty of care to get our own house in order and to take responsibility for how we show up in each situation. We don’t need to show up perfectly because hell, that’s impossible, but we do need to show up in the present with a willingness to listen to ourselves and to judge what’s happening based on reality and merit. Anything else is just forcing us and a person into a script where we’ve already determined the outcome and will create as much drama as is needed to get the ending we’ve already predicted. The scenes may shake up a bit and there may be some plot twists but we end up acting and feeling similarly and this is disempowering.
There’s some benefit in understanding the behaviour of those we typically engage with but there’s an even greater benefit in understanding our own typical habits and where we can make adjustments to avoid relationship insanity – carrying the same baggage, beliefs, and behaviours and choosing same people different packaging but expecting a different result and then being surprised when it’s not… and then lather, rinse, repeat. If you’re tired of this cycle, you have an opportunity to break out – grab it.
Don’t forget, if you’re in Boston and would like to be involved with the pilot for my show, get in touch!