Mostly the reasons for our actions aren’t what we think they are.
Please discuss. How does this play out in life?
I’ll start us out. Mostly we’re very nice people. We like to think of ourselves this way. We’re comfortable with the idea that we’re good and do things for the right reasons, consistent with our personal and spiritual beliefs. This conviction helps us feel safe. Unfortunately, it isn’t always true.
No once experiences life unscathed. Along the way, we develop coping mechanisms in response to difficult situations. We reuse them as similar scenarios seem to arise. On the surface this appears functional and practical, however sometimes our minds will identify circumstances as something they are not. Usually this will happen if a past event left a deep and often negative emotional imprint on us.
For example, someone who has been abused may develop a victim stance, At the time the abuse occurred, they were powerless to prevent it and needed help and sympathy from others. Cruel behavior by others, powerlessness, and need for assistance have become a pattern, one in which they know how to play their self-assigned role. It becomes easy for them to view themselves as victimized, even when it isn’t actually occurring. They may even unconsciously generate circumstances in which they can be the victim; it’s their self-created comfort zone. This individual likely can’t see that in responding to current situations, they are actually reacting to the past. The reasons for their behavior aren’t grounded in the present.
Today’s message reminds me to be aware of my patterns and avoid using the past as a lens of perception. I’m best served by noting any strong emotional reactions to current events, identifying past situations that evoke the same feelings, and neutrally assessing present circumstances to see if there are any similarities. If there are, it is likely due to my own emotions and behavior. When I deal with my feelings clear-eyed and compassionately, I can then ensure my thoughts and actions are in response to what is actually happening now. Taking an observer stance, I can find a functional and enjoyable path. Awareness frees me to choose what makes me happy.
How about you? Do you feel you have emotional patterns, and if so, how do you deal with them?