How to Break the Patterns that Make Us Miserable

Nov 02, 2020

In human development, structure is internalized from the outside and becomes internal. Teach a child that if he chooses A then B is coming, he begins to think in a linear path. Therefore, he makes choices that are going to give him the B that he desires. In other words, before the misery comes, he learns to make a choice that is going to prevent it. That is the move to maturity.

Sometimes, we do not know the structure of life or certain situations or certain relationships until we are in them. So, we do not anticipate the ways that those jobs, projects, contexts, or relationships need to be structured. We don’t know what causes misery until we are there.

But, once we are there, and the misery becomes a pattern, we need to realize that this is not a one-time occurrence. It is a pattern. And we need to take ownership of the reality that whatever internal structure we are depending on to not have this happen is not working. If it were, we would not be having the problem on an ongoing basis. That is the time to realize that “I do not remember that if I do A then I will hate my life because B will happen.” Therefore, I need a rule to keep me from doing A so I will not get any more occurrences of B. Said another way: When “I better not do that or I am not going to like myself tomorrow” is not working, then we have to change to “I have a rule against doing that.”

Wisdom is, among other things, knowing to not do what we already have experienced as not helpful. Wise people are not smarter than other people; they just have learned from experience or they listen to the experience of others and believe it. They do not talk themselves into “it won’t be like that this time” or “it won’t happen to me.” They listen to experience, let it talk to them, and rise out of their denial that somehow “next time will be different.” So, really, rules are about learning from your experience and not repeating the same misery for longer than it takes to learn what is creating it. To continue to do the same thing expecting different results is not wise. Listen and believe the results that you are getting, and make a rule to not do whatever is getting you the results that you do not want anymore.