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The vicious Cycle: understanding the need for change

March 29, 2015

In Alcoholics Anonymous the definition of Insanity is described as repeating the same behavior over and over and expecting different results.  I have often described my own spiritual breakthroughs as being of ‘the brick wall’ variety:  where I will repeatedly hit my head upon a brick wall until it is bloodied enough to finally elicit a psychic change or breakthrough.

No, I am not literally hitting my head on a brick wall.  This is a metaphor.  But the insanity thing could hold merit in some of my behaviors and, most definitely, as examples or instances where I would seem not to be either capable or willing to surrender a particular line of thinking, habit or reaction.  This tends to happen when faced with a person, place or thing I am experiencing some form of resentment with.

Resentment is not always obvious to me.  It can be a blatant disregard for fact, my ego wrapped in an entitlement or retaliation, a conscious wall I have set up to separate myself from the situation or an unconscious fear of whatever it is I believe I am potentially not getting or standing to lose.

Unfortunately resentment is not something I can curtail or stop completely within the way I think.  It happens.  The sooner I accept it is a part of the fabric of my thought-process, the better.  The trick to this understanding is in an awareness of the process and my willingness to stand armed and fight resentment with better, more powerful and productive tools and thoughts.  Combating the negative with the positive and “right-sizing” my thinking will help to achieve a better, healthier, more spiritual end result.

Of course, that is easier said than done.

It sometimes seems the realistic view of my thought process will always set the default to defense.  It can feel I am here on Earth, one could say, to protect myself and make sure that I am going to get the things I deserve and am owed.  Very few people are different by this nature.  It is actually quite natural to want and need to protect one’s best interests.  What tends to be different is how, and to what lengths, this default setting might take people.  In my head it can be dangerous, but in the end that danger is never real to anyone but me.

I am aware that doesn’t necessarily make me sound at all spiritual, but please read on.

Fortunately the “default” I have described no longer has a long shelf life.  Often it doesn’t come up for air at all.  With a created habit of better thinking (a filtering process so to speak) and it’s results from the associated different actions,  I have been able to learn this change in thinking.  It is the result of being around people who want to enjoy life, with no tendency to feel everything and everyone owes them something for simply being who they are, that I am slowly eliminating the vicious cycles of the closed mind and embracing the changes which spark the adventure and growth I seem to always crave.

But the changes must always start with me.

Where I have a tendency to get stuck I might not realize I am actually repeating the wrong behaviors.  It has traditionally been easier for me to blame things around me… be it within the situation, the person in charge, the personality, the rule, the timing, the differences in moral thought or tastes…. it really doesn’t matter.  When I am unhappy it is likely because I am trying to control an outcome.  It is because I feel (often mistakenly) that I possess the best answer to whatever it is I am afraid someone else might be trying to do to or for me (often, if not always, with a different point of view.)  I have the potential to become an antagonist in a situation because forget I don’t have the power to know the future and often don’t completely know what is right for me or the situation at hand.

As a result I have experienced the phenomena of repeating situations over and over and finding myself confused and frustrated that I can’t seem to step out of the lesson with a resolution and continue down whatever path I am on (have you ever felt stuck?)  Repeated behavior means I did not learn what was supposed to have been learned from the experience in the previous time(s) it occurred.  I am doomed to repeat aspects of my life, experiences and relationships until I check myself and change whatever reactions and responses I know don’t work.

The change in me and my thinking is precisely the recipe to allow the results I believe I need in my world.  The fact still remains, however, I will not know what the best thing for me is going to be until it happens.  I can no more control an outcome (completely) than I can predict the future and how any outcome will pan out.

I have learned the key to this is in seizing the moments that are negative and remembering even my thinking is a choice.  If it doesn’t work I can change it and find something more positive that will.  If it doesn’t work I can learn surrender.  As with everything else it has to be about the reaction (or, in many cases, the non-reaction.)  By changing this thought process I am realizing and admitting it is time to end the vicious cycle.

Stop. Smile. Breathe.

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