In our quest to become fully realized, we work hard to break old patterns and create new ones. However, at times we fall back into patterns that we thought we had left far behind. We get frustrated with our efforts and self-doubt arises. Am I capable of more? Why do I continue to fall back into these old patterns?
It's important to understand that self-awareness is not a linear process. Even if at times, we feel that for every step forward, we take several steps back, it is not true. Life is not like a video game that once you pass a level you move on to the next. Often we fall back into old patterns that we thought we left behind to gain a greater understanding, or gain a new perspective.
This happens to the best yogis. Being a "perfect" person with no problems is not the goal.
Here are some tips for getting yourself out of the frustration of feeling like you are regressing into old patterns:
Suffering comes from desire. If you are hoping that things could be like they were before, or wish them to be better than they are now, you are creating suffering. When things don’t feel like they are going our way, we cling to desire as the magic elixir. We think that if we can have a particular outcome, our problems will be solved; we will be liberated from the pattern.
Focus on what you are doing in the moment. This focus brings contentment through self-expression. Creativity comes from being present and connecting to what you are doing. If you are having difficulty being present, take a few minutes to sit quietly and breathe consciously. You can also focus on your breath while engaging in an activity to keep you present.
Stop judging yourself
To extricate yourself from a pattern, you must fully understand it. Judgment causes separation and prevents understanding, while acceptance creates union and opens you up to comprehension.
Typically, self-judgment is based on how you feel, your emotional state. This creates guilt and confuses the emotions. Guilt brings with it many more emotions to deal with, making it more difficult to recognize and understand the underlying emotions and patterns.
Create new habits
If things are not working, change. We often get stuck in patterns that don’t work because we are afraid of letting go of them. Fear is not in the unknown, it is in letting go of the known.
Create new experiences. Often, when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we withdraw from life. However, putting yourself out there to try new things is what will stimulate growth and take you out of the obsession of guilt and self-loathing.
Celebrate yourself by doing things that are good for you. The way you treat yourself is an indication of how you feel about yourself. Many times we say, “When I feel better, I will do _______.” However, it is your actions that will change the way you feel about yourself.
Celebrate yourself through eating healthy, exercising the body and mind, engaging in activities that you enjoy, and taking care of yourself.
Most of the trouble is when you spend too much time in your head and not enough time opening your heart to yourself. Don’t identify with the problem; the problem is not you, it is something you are experiencing and it is only temporary.
In life, you attain what you feel you deserve. If you are being hard on yourself for getting stuck in a pattern, you are creating more difficulties. Work to create the tools and mindset necessary to help you recognize why you are feeling the way you are, and how to effect it.
Furthermore, understand that people who have the most challenges have the most opportunity. In Buddhism, suffering is considered a holy truth because it is through suffering that one is able to find liberation. When you are faced with difficulties you have to become an expert to liberate yourself.
Say everyday at work your computer has a different problem that you must solve before you can begin working. Your colleague’s computer works without problem everyday. After a year, who is the expert on the computer?
Become an expert in your life and don’t get discouraged from the challenges.