Loops and Patterns… How We Get Stuck and How to Get Out of Our Own Way
Whether you’re trying to make changes in your relationship or changes for yourself, it’s likely that at some point you’ll get stuck, lose some traction, or take some steps backward. When you get into some of your thinking, it’s likely that you’ll discover that you’re in what I call “loops.” Basically, a loop is just how it sounds. It’s an attempt to process something, but rather than finishing up with the processing, you just keep starting over. The way that this looks is that you’ll find that you’re asking yourself the same questions over and over again.
This is an understandable way of coping with various things in your life. The idea behind this is if you ask yourself the right questions, you’ll discover something that will help you make a lasting change.
Unfortunately, this discovery usually never comes. Instead, you can end up with these great questions, looking for an epiphany that you’ll just never find.
Logical information dilemmas.
Logic holds a lot of power though. It won’t easily accept that you need to take some time and focus on more vague or complicated things. This is because it’s often trying to protect you. Failures, heartaches, and emotional pain all get logged. Our logical mind is there to keep us in line with several things. First, it’s trying to keep us in line with social norms. It’s hard to move forward in a many situations while just being ourselves. It’s not impossible but can be a challenge.
Secondly, logic is trying to help you cope and move on. In our busy lives, it’s very difficult to take time with the challenging stuff that we’ve faced. Sometimes this works out OK. But there are other times where we end up storing all our negative experiences. Sadly, these experiences don’t just evaporate. They influence how we deal with ourselves, our emotions, and our relationships.
Therefore, it’s important to change shift your attention away from the loop and find a new way to process.
Loops involve your thinking, which can impact your behavior.
Loops are a thought process where we end up in the same place over and over again. This often leads to behavior patterns that are intended to resolve problems. If you have a problem, it makes sense to have solution, right? The problem is that these behaviors are often intended to solve the problem, but the problem is often more complicated.
People will also use behaviors to cope, but they will also use them to lower the intensity of their negative feelings. The problem with behavior patterns that come from this type of thinking is that the solutions are often oversimplified and misplaced. For example, someone may be dealing with insecurities about themselves. Rather than working on self-esteem, that person might focus on losing weight. Losing weight doesn’t increase self-esteem. But we’re surrounded by messages that tell us that it works, so people often return to it over and over again.
Uncovering the unknown and letting go of control.
The answer is to first learn to stop the loops and patterns. This is not easy task. People often find that they’re almost addicted to utilizing these coping strategies. The big question that you have to work to answer are “what are you trying to cope with?” Sometimes, there has been a major life change or a trauma. Other times, these patterns have existed for decades.
At the center of these coping strategies is a feeling of lacking control and an attempt to regain it. The goal is to learn to deal with vulnerability and a lack of control. Control can lead to safety. Safety is incredibly important, but sometimes we overemphasize being safe, and give up taking the mindful risks that help us live our lives as meaningfully as possible. This requires a huge amount of bravery because the risks are often very real. We can get hurt or hurt someone else. We can get rejected.
Sometimes those risks are worth it though. Because the rewards can be extremely valuable things that you want in your life. A meaningful relationship or connection. A new career path. Engaging in an activity that is meaningful or helps you reach a goal.
The most important rule when in a loop.
When you’re trying to change a pattern and get out of these loops, you have to be willing to try different things. So many people will say that something won’t work or that they can’t do something before they even give it a chance. When you’re wanting to make a change, you have to take some changes and try different things out. Sometimes this will work out and other times it won’t.
The main thing is that you’re moving towards the kind of life that you want to live. Identify what you want out of your relationships, your career, your sex life, etc. Ensure that these changes are a good effort to move towards the things that are important to you. This way, when you mess up, you know where your intentions were. This will help you try again and prevent you from giving up altogether.
If you’re in Texas and looking for a therapist to help with feeling stuck in a loop, please feel free to contact us.