Are You Repeating Relationship Patterns? Mindfulness Can Get You Unstuck!

Internally, I have a habit of believing that all relationships will end in destruction.

We fall into patterns, quite simply, because that's what our subconscious mind is most comfortable with.

Staying in the present moment has been shown to have many positive benefits for your health and well-being, so it's no surprise that mindfulness has become such a popular practice.

We don't often think of that practice as being an interpersonal one. However, I've seen so much improvement in all my relationships since I started incorporating the practice of mindfulness into my life.

Since mindfulness is all about awareness of what is happening at the current moment, it means you have to be willing to stay in it.

That means no backpedaling, no rehashing the past, and no premeditating the future. Even doing something as simple as thinking about how you’re going to respond to someone while they’re still talking is an example of falling out of mindfulness — you’re focused on the future rather than on what is happening right now.

So yes, you could say it’s a challenge.

In relationships, we tend to fall into patterns. Have you ever noticed how all of your relationships seem to end in cheating, for instance or how you seem to meet all of your friends through work? How you seem to hold women at arm's length?

We fall into patterns, quite simply, because that's what our subconscious mind is most comfortable with.

Our brains are wired for repetition. We like what’s familiar.

In fact, your mind will often conspire to try to keep you in the same patterns and behaviors, even if you’re consciously trying to change them. Yes, this also applies if your patterns are destructive or dysfunctional.

Using myself as an example: I often date people who are emotionally unavailable. This has been a pattern for me since I started dating as a young teenager. It originates with the emotional unavailability of both of my parents as a small child (which, in turn, was a result of the dysfunction in their own relationship).

So I naturally seek out romantic partners who are emotionally unavailable too even though this is the exact opposite of what I’m looking for.

With some people, I see it right away. With others, it takes time before I realize that they also hold this trait.

My mind is doing this to keep me safe and comfortable. It perceives the emotional body of relationships as being equal to, well, not existing. So, it causes me to bring people into my life that also operate in this way, since it’s what my subconscious has been conditioned to believe is the status quo.

However, mindfulness disrupts this dynamic.

Since it keeps me out of the past, it keeps me from replicating these patterns. Now, it’s not necessarily a hard and fast rule, and certainly exists on a spectrum — but it does a lot of good in helping me to break the chain.

Because being mindful means focusing on the present, I’m shifting all of my thoughts, behavior, and energy into manifesting this moment with radical acceptance. I do not place my transgressions unto others, nor rely on them to help me heal. I do not expect anything from them, good or bad, because that would be living in the future. I simply AM. They simply ARE. We simply CO-EXIST.

That’s it: All there is is now.

Over time, I’ve found that this has helped me to not only promote change in my patterns and subconscious beliefs, but also in the relationship I have to relationships themselves. Internally, I have a habit of believing that all relationships will end in destruction. I feel that I don’t deserve to be happy with someone; therefore, I must protect myself and walk alone.

Through mindfulness, I’ve started to notice when I’m falling into the past or projecting into the future. Usually, it’s because of a trigger. There’s just something that feels off even if it’s something positive. Then, I scramble to understand what it is that feels uncomfortable and subconsciously seek to “fix” it.

For me, this usually means an end to the interaction or relationship. I either sabotage it or run like hell.

Staying in the present has forced me to reject this pattern of behavior and realize that I’m safe and the past is not in the present.

Those people who have hurt me are not here in this moment. Therefore, they have no place in it. Instead of replicating my patterns with them, I can move forward with my own desires.

I believe that anyone can practice mindfulness and see this same type of growth in their own relationships and relationship to themselves.

The best place to start? Catching yourself going backwards or forwards in time, checking with yourself, and re-centering into the present. It’s like a meditation, really.

Understanding through time and practice what tends to trigger you to get out of the present will help you to further grasp what patterns you’re replicating. Through this constant evaluation and manifestation of the present, you can cultivate balance, harmony, and — most importantly — love.

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