Is there a goal or transformation you’re anxious to accomplish, but you feel sabotaged by some of your own behaviors?
And no matter how deeply you desire the outcome, you can’t seem to break the patterns that are preventing it?
There’s something you should know about patterns of behavior …
What’s the benefit?
In order to change a behavior, it helps to first understand how it’s benefiting you.
Yes, I said benefiting. Because I bet it is.
If not, you probably wouldn’t continue doing it. Right?
I know, you’re thinking surely that can’t be true. These patterns are painful, after all.
I don’t disagree that they’re uncomfortable.
But again, what is the benefit? Look closely.
The only reason you keep doing something that brings you discomfort is that it’s helping you in some other way.
Either the action itself, or the result of the action is benefiting you in some manner.
The hidden benefit in my overeating
For example, I used to use emotional eating and overeating to push down my emotions.
Did I like the weight gain that resulted? Absolutely not! So it never occurred to me that my issues with food could possibly be helping me at all.
Looking back, there was a part of me that liked the idea of escaping my emotions, if only for a few minutes. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the benefit.
It wasn’t until I learned how to deal with my emotions — and give myself the care I needed during times of anxiety and stress — that I was able to begin to break this pattern. By fulfilling my needs, the benefit I was getting from overeating could now be achieved in another way. Therefore, the behavior became much less necessary.
One caveat: please know this behavior is quite normal. It’s human nature and there’s no reason to become frustrated with your actions. Instead, use this knowledge as simply a point of entry when you want to understand the underlying reasons for patterns of behavior.
Give it a try
Do you want to dig into your patterns? If you feel ready, try these two steps:
1. Next time you notice you’re experiencing an uncomfortable pattern of behavior, ask: “In what way could this be benefiting me?”
See where your answer leads you.
2. Then, if it feels comfortable for you, open yourself to the possibilities of other ways to meet your needs and give yourself this benefit. Ask: “How could I get this same type of feeling in a way that honors my goals?”
Take your answers and experiment to see what feels best. Work to replace the painful pattern with a more fulfilling option.
And if you need any help on your journey, let me know.