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How to break free of familiar patterns

Sarah Griffiths is a highly specialised trauma and abuse therapist. Here she offers a starting point to breaking free of familiar patterns that may be holding you back.

My whole life I have been drawn to the familiar, because as a human it is something that comes naturally. This wasn’t a problem when I was ordering the same coffee every time I went to Starbucks. But in the past, this constant seeking out of familiar patterns meant that thoughts and behaviours that did not serve me were allowed to continue unchecked, and I allowed myself to stay locked in an abusive relationship for years. These days, thankfully, I am free of this need to revert to the familiar. It took a lot of deep inner work to recognise the negative patterns that were holding me back, and even more work to break them!

If you see yourself in this but feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to break down those thoughts and behaviours, don’t worry. As impossible as it may feel, you really can free yourself from the patterns that are holding you back, and once you do you will start to see that anything is possible. Here are some steps to get you started.

Recognise the patterns

To break free from cycles of abusive behaviour or self-deprecating thoughts, you have to start asking yourself some difficult questions. You need to be honest with yourself about what in your life is holding you back, and question why you keep going back to it. This could be a relationship or a way of thinking. For me it was both! But because these things were so familiar to me it was hard to see that they were damaging to my self-esteem and growth.

It took a lot of soul-searching, and I had to ask myself why I was unhappy and learn what I could do to change it, but eventually I figured out why these things were bad for me. This was my first step towards breaking out of my negative familiar patterns and prioritising my own success.

Accept responsibility

It is important that you take responsibility for the role that you play in your own unhappiness, and when you do it will become possible for you to see how you can change things for the better. It is down to you to change your circumstances, even when other people are the ones causing you pain. Because if you expect the same things for yourself over and over you will only ever get the same results.

I used to put so much pressure on myself to achieve goals that did not make me happy. I did this in my career, my marriage and my personal life. But once I started to see the pattern, it became clear that I was only doing this because it was familiar, not because it would help me achieve fulfilment. Without this realisation, it would have been impossible for me to make the changes I needed to thrive.

Get the support you need

As a coach and someone who has been through all of this before, I know it isn’t easy. I needed support, and you will too. This could be someone in your life already, just make sure that turning to them is not simply a habit that could compromise your progress.

For myself and my clients, therapy and coaching were the best tools. In a one-on-one environment with someone who is dedicated to helping you recognise your value and creating the life you deserve, it is possible to break out of those familiar patterns in months. All you have to do is choose to leave the negative in the past and invest in you! Once you do, everything starts to change.

About the expert

Sarah Griffiths is a highly specialised trauma and abuse therapist. Having recovered from the trauma of her own past abuse, bullying at school, and a long marriage to a covert narcissist, she now runs two successful businesses. Her newest venture, SallyG.com, uses her skill as a hypnotherapist, along with coaching and traditional therapy techniques to help others rapidly heal from their past, firmly putting it behind them so that they can achieve their full potential and live the lives they deserve, just as she has done. Sarah’s book, The Unlikely 7 Figure Entrepreneur is out now.

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