Screenshot 2014-12-12 12.57.01When I think of patterns, the first image that comes to my mind is of my mom and me cutting out dress patterns from that thin, crinkly paper we bought at the fabric store.  Spreading the pattern out across the living room floor and carefully following the dotted lines with my grandmother’s best scissors saved for just such an occasion.Ironically, the patterns I am writing about today were also carefully crafted and influenced by my mother and my grandmother and the rest of my family tree.  Today, I am writing about the patterns that Mr. Covey speaks of in the following quote:

“Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconcious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.” 

We all have them.  We can’t help it.  They’ve woven into the fabric of who we’ve become…but they are not really and truly WHO WE ARE.  The craziest thing about them is how completely unaware we can be that they even exist.  For example, this week I had the incredible opportunity to have a day-long retreat with my own, spiritual mentor.  And together we exposed one of my own patterns that has been limiting my ability to grow both personally and professionally.  It goes something like this..Step One:  Someone says or does something to me or a loved one that I know is wrong.Step Two:  Instead of speaking my truth, I bite my tongue.Step Three: I collapse in that moment instead of standing up for myself.Step Four:  I choose to believe their story about the situation instead of my own.In order to illustrate the point, I will share a personal story.  A few months ago, a friend and I had made plans to get together for lunch.  However, the morning of, I decided to cancel our plans because I had been traveling a great deal and felt like I need to get caught up on some work and to spend time with my boys instead.  My friend responded back that she was very upset and pointed out that I had been canceling several of our plans recently and if I couldn’t keep my commitments that she would no longer be able to make plans with me.I was briefly confused about how this one incident could have caused her reaction but just assumed that I must be wrong and must have cancelled on her multiple times and just forgotten about.  I was flooded with guilt and shame and immediately began to cry and apologize repeatedly.  She said that she could but that she just had to speak her truth.  Out of guilt, I canceled my own plans to get caught up on work and spend time with my son and asked her to come over for several hours that afternoon.Later, after she left, and I had calmed down…I began to wonder about how many times I actually had canceled our plans.  So, I began to scan back over our emails and our texts to look for evidence of my transgressions.  Imagine my surprise when I found just one prior incident.  The week before I had asked her to do a favor for me, which she agreed to reluctantly, and I canceled because I felt like it was an imposition on her.That’s it.  No long history of my making plans and then canceling them.  No documentation of any behavior that could have warranted her reaction.And when she first expressed her upset that day, my initial thought was to question her reaction.  I knew what she was saying didn’t feel quite right but I didn’t speak my truth.  I bit tongue instead.  Then I felt myself collapse as I began to cry and ask for forgiveness.  Because I had chosen to believe her story over my own.I’m not saying that I am a victim or that my friend was wrong.  That’s not the point.  The point is that my friend actually did speak up for herself…but I could not.  And this is a pattern that has played itself out in my life over and over and over again because I wasn’t aware of it.Until now.  Now that I am aware of the pattern, I can choose to create…to cut out a new one.  One that fits who I am today instead of the scared little girl from my childhood who was terrified to upset or disappoint anyone she loved.From this day forward, I vow to follow a new pattern whereby I choose to stand my ground and speak up for myself and my loved ones.  I will speak my truth, which I will choose to believe above all others.  With compassion and conviction, I will defend what I know to be right.  I won’t be perfect.  I will make mistakes.  But I will be me.What about you, dear reader?  Do you share a similar pattern of self-abandonment and doubt?  What vow are you prepared to make in defense of your own self and those you love?I’d love to hear about it…Please feel free to email your personal vow to honor yourself to me at next time,WY1_3392       

xoxo, Jenni B