February 17, 2016 Blog No Comments

clouds - santafeI am fascinated by this subject. I think the patterns of our behavior tell a lot about our life lessons. Many patterns start out as wonderful expressions of our gifts that make important contributions to society. When they’re overused, they can develop into repetitive behaviors that are unhealthy. Has the pattern become a way of covering up or working through something else?

The focus of my class last week involved looking at the patterns of our life. What we discovered is the genesis for this article. It became apparent that many of our excellent qualities that are golden in many settings, when put in overdrive, throw our life out of balance. We’d gone too far.

I’d like to review some of the patterns that are common to many of us. It’s helpful to get honest. What is really going on and what are we really needing?

See if you recognize yourself in any of these:

Working Hard – Too Hard

Are you the work harder, try harder, do more kid? Everyone loves you, especially in the workplace. You are the go-to, get it done person. You can be counted on, relied on, depended upon, especially in a pinch. You’re sincerely appreciated. Thank heavens you are this way; you are needed.

After a while, especially at home, when you are there, it can be a different story. You may be too tired or distracted to be able to be present for your family or kids. It may be hard to see this is a problem if your belief is that you have to work so hard. When challenged you can be defensive and adamant that it’s necessary. Having a balanced life may be the farthest thing from your mind.

Being needed and carving out that role for yourself is the essence of this pattern. Why do you need to be so needed? What might you be avoiding?

Does it fill a void of not valuing yourself to assert your worth at work to get that recognition?

Taking Care of Others – And Not Yourself

Many people who are in professional caregiving roles are in this pattern. It is important and satisfying to help others for not only is it deeply meaningful, you know you’re doing something valuable. Our culture would not be advanced if we did not have so many caring, compassionate people who dedicate themselves in service to others.

The occupational hazard to attending to the needs of others comes when you lose focus of your own needs. While being self-sacrificing is a fine characteristic, when it comes at a cost to personal health and emotional stability you have crossed a line. Balance is lost to the service of others.

What are you needing, and what are you gaining by displaying this pattern? What makes this so compelling?

What part of yourself is crying out to be taken care of that is getting fulfilled through others?

Being Accommodating – Overly So

Being flexible and accommodating is a wonderful attribute that makes you an excellent team player. It can involve being a good listener, understanding other perspectives and being willing to compromise for the greater good of all. These qualities are essential for good relationships at home and in business. It’s a necessary leadership skill to flexibly respond to increasing complexity.

Accommodation becomes a problem when it means you are no longer speaking your truth and are simply going along. If you are silent out of fear, trying to keep the peace or you’re too tired to fight, it can be a sign of real trouble. Have you lost your voice, your fire or no longer trust you will be heard?

Something is terribly wrong when you no longer believe you can be who you truly are. It’s time to stop and take a look at what’s happened. What needs to change?

What fear has suppressed you to the point that accommodation is your primary response?

Juggling Many Balls – And Dropping Some

Being a multi tasker is now an essential skill. We’re often on a computer and phone at the same time, attending a meeting on one device, responding to messages on the other, while also sending notes or hand signals to whoever is around. We do it enough to not even think about it anymore. Multitasking between very different activities is common. It’s an amazing and growing skill set, a sign of our incredible, expansive adaptability.

When things are forgotten, dates get confused, we’re always late and balls get dropped we know we are slipping. When the stress level spikes, tempers get raw and you’re feeling hassled, frenzied and overwhelmed you definitely know you’re tipping to the side of losing control. Do you tell yourself this is normal and get over it? Or do you recognize it for what it is – simply too much?

Why are you moving so fast and doing so much? Is there some concern you’ll be inconsequential if you aren’t involved in everything that is going on? You know it’s impossible to do it all.

Do you think you’ll be seen as not good enough if you don’t do it all, right now?

As we discovered in our class, wonderful gifts that provides much good, when taken to extreme, can create a pattern that throws our life out of balance. it’s helpful to look at this. In the class we took the next steps to consider letting go of the ones that no longer serve us to step into something healthier. It was a very productive exercise.

Does an examination of the patterns of your life seem like a helpful exercise for you? Discovering new ways to live a more balanced life is easier than you know. The relief is wonderful. This type of self-examination is a pleasure. If you’re interested, message me here, email connie@conniemilligan.com or see my website www.spectrumtransformation.com . I look forward to hearing from you.

Written by Connie Milligan, LCSW
If there is anything I’ve expressed that speaks to you, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at my email, connie [at] conniemilligan [dot] com