Falling back into old patterns is inevitable when you are working on your personal or spiritual development. And no matter how many times you've experienced it, each time it feels like you're, once again, back to square one. In this blog post you'll find the 3 most common causes for falling back in to old patterns and you’ll see that it’s anything but bad news.
The relapse allows for deeper integration
Whatever path you are currently walking in your development, it is a learning process. And learning involves trial and error. Yes, that's super cliché, but still important to reiterate. After all, you learn nothing from accidentally doing things right, you learn from making mistakes and subsequently finding new solutions. Falling back into old patterns actually gives you the opportunity to integrate what you're developing on a whole new level. You anchor it deeper within yourself by also learning to walk this new path in a different, more challenging context. So actually, it’s not even a ‘real’ relapse, but a new challenge on the same path.
‘Falling back into old patterns gives you the opportunity to integrate that which you are developing into a new level or area of your life. So really, it’s not a relapse, it’s a new challenge on the same path.’
3 common reasons for falling back into old patterns:
#1 The situation is too challenging
When something crosses a certain threshold of challengingness, you stop learning new things and go on autopilot. There's nothing you can do about that; you're human, so this is just something that will happen from time to time. When things get too hard, safety is all that matters for our human brains - and ‘safety’ is found by going back to the old and familiar. In such a challenging situation you simply don't have enough bandwidth to unfailingly keep choosing to take the new path. And that's okay.
You can never lose what you have already learned - even if it sometimes feels that way. As soon as you have a little more breathing room again, you can just continue to walk your beautiful path right where you left off.
#2 Your self-worth has fallen behind in your growth process
When you’re doing particularly great and are continuously working outside of your comfort zone, your self-image, and with that your self-worth, may fall behind, because it needs time to catch up on all that’s happening. What tends to happen, when you’re growing so fast, is that your self-worth is going to hold you back, because you're unconsciously looking for confirmation of it. And so you start (again, unconsciously) sabotaging yourself, by, for example, reintroducing those old patterns, so that your world matches your self-worth again. Remind yourself as often as possible that what you do is completely separate from who you are - whether you grow mightily or fail mightily, you are and will remain equally valuable.
#3 The expansion is (too) big
Sometimes the expansion, the result of your development, the space you free up for yourself, is so great that your mind starts to panic and slow you down by means of those fantastic old patterns. It's a very clever trick of your brain to make you think you are doing something wrong when in fact you are doing loads of stuff right. So much so, that it’s the whole reason for your brain’s panic attack (because: change, new, unknown, scary!). So, your ‘relapse’ may simply be a sign to take a moment to reflect on your progress and celebrate how far you’ve come.
It's part of the path
So, this time in your life, revisiting old patterns, really just means that you are doing gloriously, and that you are a human being - a soul on earth in a body with a brain. But of course, the fact that this ‘relapse’ is a worthy part of the path does not make this experience any less hard. Whatever the reason was, the effect is always the same: your nervous system becomes unhinged. So, the best way you can support yourself right now, is to try to calm your nervous system. The inner security you develop as a result will allow you to soften, and that softening gives you access to your inner wisdom and strength again.
Tag: growth & healing