We are all a part of life patterns, they are common to all of us. It’s something most of us don’t ever think about, but they are there. Some, are natural to us all, while others are unique to each individual.
Carl Jung talked about the collective unconscious, a part of our mind which we all have in common. He believed certain characteristics are present in it and he referred to them as archetypes. These are formed by human experiences as we evolved and are now a part of the human psyche.
There are many archetypes, but Jung said there are 12 primary ones which make up basic human motivations. Isn’t it amazing to think that as humans evolved, the patterns of experiences have become a collective part of who we are. You can see Jung talking about this in the short video below.
Strange Life Patterns
In addition to life patterns that are part of the human psyche, we have some which are unique to us. These tend to reflect our character and are a part of our individual make-up. They are developed through our life experiences, but they can also come from influences from others.
Other than the patterns we inherit into our collective unconscious, we are an open book when we are born. In fact, before we’re born. There are stories of pregnant mothers developing cravings to eat things that aren’t food, such as coal or soap.
It’s a condition known as pica and is thought it might be caused by a mineral deficiency or anaemia. This can also affect the unborn baby. When my mum was pregnant with me, she didn’t crave to eat anything odd, but she did develop a craving to sniff mothballs! Weird, I know!
They had a sort of smell of camphor and as young child, I can remember wanting to sniff them too. Thankfully I don’t have that desire now, but I can clearly remember the distinctive smell and how much I enjoyed it.
I can even remember, and I must have been very young, sniffing one so hard that it went up one of my nostrils and got stuck! Now that caused a panic in our household, but thankfully my dad managed to ease it out. I still find it amazing that it was a pattern of behaviour I learned before I was born.
How Life Patterns Work
As we grow, we learn patterns of behaviour. They are stored deep within our subconscious and we may not be aware of them. If, for example, your parents had a volatile relationship, there’s a chance you’ll have the same throughout your life. It’s a learned behaviour and can be a recurring life pattern.
One of the reasons it happens over and over is that your subconscious learnt it and believes that it’s normal behaviour. Because your conscious mind doesn’t think about, or is unaware of the pattern, it continues and repeats itself.
Another theory is that the subconscious mind recreates these patterns, hoping the situation will work out better this time. Because of this, you’re subconsciously drawn into these situations and it appears to you that the same thing happens to you time and time again. You might see the pattern but not understand it.
It has been said that a lesson in life will repeat itself until learned and this can be so with a repeated pattern of behaviour. If the same situation keeps occurring, it’s certainly a life pattern where something needs to be learned and changed to stop it.
Identifying Patterns in Life
Patterns have a kind of magnetic pull to them. We’re drawn to them and we follow them. They’re not all bad though. We tend to concentrate on the ones that aren’t so good for us, which is understandable although not a good idea.
By putting your focus on a pattern that you don’t want, what’s going to happen? Yes, you’ll be attracting more of the same. Identify good patterns, for example, when you’re presented with a problem you may have a particular way of dealing with it until its resolved. You might have a talent for dealing with and helping people, or you may be a natural leader.
Look for your patterns that are a positive part of your life, because concentrating on them will help you feel good about yourself. With the patterns that aren’t so helpful, don’t feel bad about them, recognise them. These are showing you where you should make changes to your life.
I’ve identified a pattern I have where I start a task and after a short while have to start another one. Then after a short while, return to the first one, then the second. Both get done but probably take a lot longer than if tackled separately. I haven’t worked out what lies behind it, but it’s something to work on!
Changing Negative Patterns
Once you identify a negative life pattern, if you can, try to work out where it comes from. Chances are it will be caused by something you learned from someone else. It might also recur because of something that hurt you in the past. If you’ve been hurt by a situation, your pattern may have been formed to ensure you don’t get hurt in the same way in the future.
You should also recognise that a life pattern, good or bad, forms a routine, a comfort zone. This will give a sense of security even if it isn’t good for you. It won’t change until something changes in your life and that’s down to you and you alone.
If your pattern is something like always being late, staying in bed too long or missing deadlines, they should be quite easy to change. They’re not normally difficult to identify and can usually be changed with little effort.
The key to changing any pattern is to realise each scenario is different but acted out in the same way every time. The underlying pattern is not related to the current situation, so try something that sends that message to the subconscious. Do or think of something that interrupts the pattern. It should be something that’s sudden and pleasant.
Using visualisation and affirmations can be very powerful in affecting change, but they won’t be immediate. Repetition of these will help to change your mindset over time. It’s all about developing good habits which change the pattern.
Don’t be too Hard on Yourself
If you look, you’ll find patterns everywhere, our lives are made up of them. They can be helpful and protect us. It’s only when they hold us back or restrict us, they can become a problem.
Don’t expect to change overnight, it will take time. Often, when you break one pattern you form a new one. Life patterns are a part of us, but you are in control. It’s important to understand that, because once you do it’s easy to begin the process of change.