We learn hard to create them. We make them out of experience and knowledge, and are happy to employ them when faced with difficulties and challenges. It feels great to know how to handle problems similar to the ones we previously experienced, as we are now familiar with them.
But what to do when employing these patterns of behavior we are familiar with start to produce opposite results. And we stick to them just out of fear of changing them. Why do humans tend to blindly follow such patterns? Read on to find out!
The mechanism of creating patterns
A human is born as a blank sheet of paper. Unlike most animals, which are born with certain patterns of behavior, humans are one of the rare species being born without any of them. There’s a reason for that. Animals are forced to fight for their survival from the very start of their existence. But humans have parents to teach, protect and guide them for the longest period of time of all living creatures. Therefore, humans create their own patterns as they grow and experience the world themselves. In psychology these patterns are called associations. Humans have time to learn from experience, create their own and unique associations and are not programmed to react like the rest of the group. Humans are a kind of privileged.
How they function
As we grow and experience the world around us, we get familiar with all sorts of different situations. The way we felt and how we dealt with certain events leave us with certain experience. Every time we go through the similar situation, we strengthen the association we created. Now we know what we can expect in a way. At least, our brain recognizes it as familiar and finds the corresponding information. So, if we created negative pattern about something, we tend to arouse negative emotions when similar situations occur, even if this new event might not end bad.
Shall we follow these patterns or not?!
It’s hard to stop employing them. At least, we can’t prevent the way we react emotionally in familiar situations. But what we CAN do is to be aware of the fact that we can influence the course of our actions. What does that mean? If we experience the same situation again, we don’t necessarily need to react the same. WE can control our actions if we can’t control our emotions. We shall keep in mind that we are just scared because of the previous negative experience. And this is the time to reconsider that particular pattern and decide to what extent it can protect us from repeating the negative experience or prevent us from experiencing something positive this time.
Take love relationships for example. Negative experiences from the past can prevent us from experiencing something new and great. If we meet a person similar to the one we once loved, and if that person hurt us, we can subconsciously run away from the new one. We have a pattern and we employ it. Our first reaction is to protect ourselves from being hurt again. And this can apply to almost anything.
In time, we stick to the same behaviors and do not take advantage of new opportunities. And this may be bad! And this finally may lead to frustration and lack of self-confidence, because we don’t make progress due to the lack of life changes.
So, what to do?
Be aware of how our brain functions and try not to follow exactly the same patterns of behavior in each situation we encounter again. Try to take the best from the previous experience, having positive and negative aspects of it in mind, and adapt that particular pattern in a new situation.
Remember: no two events are the same, no two persons are the same. And, the outcome depends on you only!
Patterns serve to help us and protect us from previous negative experiences and getting into dangerous situations. And that’s their main purpose. They shall not serve to prevent us from experiencing good things and to make worse versions of ourselves because of fear of changing those patterns that no longer work.
So, having this in mind do not hesitate to reconsider your old patters. Modify them and employ the new ones for producing better results or taking more from life.