If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.
It’s an oldy but a goody. If something isn’t going right or if you’re not getting the results you want but you don’t change anything, you shouldn’t be surprised when the patterns repeat themselves. It’s not rocket science but it’s so easy to forget. It’s also really difficult to recognise. We all get trapped in our own heads and can fall into the trap of blaming the people around us when actually we should look inside ourselves.
I wrote in What are you worth? about things I needed to change in order to demonstrate my worth to those around me and myself. Part of that was setting boundaries because I was feeling frustrated about some of my interactions. Since then I’ve learned a valuable lesson: Not everyone has the same expectations as you and actually, that’s ok.
Sometimes the frustration I have is when people don’t live up to my expectations of them. When they don’t hold the same values, when they don’t act in the way I would or the way I want them to. But actually, that’s a pretty destructive thought. Why should anyone do or act in a way I’m projecting on to them? Actually, they should be them. If I’m not happy with their behaviour, I can discuss it with them but ultimately it’s their choice and one I need to respect. I then need to decide if that person, as they are, warrants my time and energy.
So how do you work out if it’s time for YOU to make a change? Well, if there is a recurring event or sequence of events that you’re unsatisfied with, then it’s probably about time you think about why the same thing keeps happening to you. For example, I kept picking the same type of person to date: charismatic but emotionally unavailable. I wondered why it always ended badly. Well, derr why wouldn’t it?! Instead of blaming these people it was time to change the pattern.
But how do you change the pattern without completely losing your values and identity? I guess it’s about thinking about your motives. If we use the dating example, I’ve had to think about why I kept choosing that type of person. Was it because I knew it would never work out? (the classic self-sabotage) Was it because I saw them as a challenge? (the “I can tame them” scenario) was it because that’s what I thought I deserved? (the self-esteem issue) Honestly, it’s probably a bit of everything. Either way, my motive for myself wasn’t to find a decent, loving, got-their-shit-together, adult. (Even though that’s what I thought it was)
Now I’ve been honest with myself and really questioned what I’m doing, rather than feeling like the victim of circumstances outside of my control, I feel better. It doesn’t mean that I’m not still attracted to the charismatic, emotionally unavailable people, I just now know they are bad for me and I am making a choice about avoiding them.
So yeah, I’d just say it’s time to have a good think, really look inward. Stop thinking that things are “happening to you” because they aren’t. They are happening because of every thought and decision you’re making. Don’t believe me? Change something.