3 Ways You Can Shift The Unconscious Patterns That Are Holding You Back


Since I was a little girl, I’ve had a tendency to deny help and stay uncomfortable for no apparent reason.

“Do you want a pillow? How can you sit like that?” my mom would ask as I watched TV in her bedroom.

“I’m fine!” I’d squeal. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had returned from commercial break and I was not to be disturbed.

My mom would frown and walk away, only to ask me again 15 minutes later (“No! Go away!“).

You see, I was on the floor leaning against her bed. Except, not the normal sides of a bed that one typically leans on. I was propping my torso against the edge of the foot of the bed, the corner where metal mattress frames live only to poke at spines and injure shins.

During the hour-long show, I would shift the metal edge from one side of my spine to the other, back and forth, left to right.

“Are you sure you don’t want a pillow?”

“Argahghhh I just missed what Willow said!”

This is not to imply that whatever my mother asked me repeatedly was something I should have said yes to. If that were true, I’d have been drinking Coca Cola since I was 3.

But: Why didn’t I move? Why didn’t I just swivel the TV? Why didn’t I just say yes to my mother?

I’ve noticed this as a thread in my life. Not a thick, rock-climbing rope type of thread — more of a thin, sewing thread. It needles its way in sometimes, and I just never bother to take it out.

Today, I tried something different.

Today, I said yes to being comfortable. And more importantly — to being worthy of making my life and work flow more easily.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Notice the patterns you’re stuck in and choose to shift them.

I am here to tell you that there are at least a handful of unconscious patterns you go through every day that make your life way harder than it has to be.

Every time I go home to visit my 72-year-old mother, she climbs a ladder up to the highest shelf in her closet to get down the air mattress. I’ve asked her why she doesn’t store it lower, in spots it could clearly fit in, filled with things she doesn’t ever use.

“Because that’s where it goes,” she replies.

We do things like this every day. We’ve forgotten that we can choose where things go, that we can choose how we do things, in every moment.

I especially get stuck in patterns when it comes to writing (or not writing, as it were). When I open a document in Microsoft Word, it defaults the paragraph spacing of “after” to 10. I don’t know what 10 actually means, except for that when you hit enter, it puts a stupid space between paragraphs where it should not put a stupid space.

This means that I will find myself writing in an inspired flurry, only to realize this paragraph thing 2/3 of the way through my writing, upon which I have to reformat the entire document, trying to remember where I’d wanted all the paragraph breaks.

This often results in me not even writing the final 1/3. At that point, I’ve switched from my writer brain to my editor brain, and they are two different animals.

I have willingly gone through this process for five years. Five. Years.

Today, I said: No! Go away! to “after 10.” In a slightly less high-pitched voice, and from a much better place.

2. Take actions that reinforce your commitment to valuing yourself.

For the last six months, I’ve been Airbnbing my apartment. I’ve also been leaving my house key under the Welcome mat for days on end.

I love my home. I love it so much that it’s not even logical that I’m Airbnbing it. And I’ve continued to leave a key to it outside for months, in the most obvious place a key would be, stressing about it each time. All because I didn’t want to spend the money on a lock box.

You could say I had “faith,” but you could also say that I was looking the other way and telling the Universe that I wasn’t worthy — that my home, my things, weren’t worthy of being protected. And if I am being honest with myself, the latter is what feels true.

Ask yourself if you’re looking the other way, and if a simple action could make you feel more safe and at ease.

As for me, a $20 lock box is on its way.

3. Give yourself the tools you need to do your soul work.

I shoot myself in the foot every time I try to publish my writing, because I do not give myself what I really need — a printer. I must print things out to edit them, to make them fuller, richer, to give them wings. I have enough trouble following through with writing in the first place (and then I write about this, essentially so I can re-read them for my own benefit).

I had a printer once — a large, gray, dusty contraption that groaned when I looked at it. It needed two cords to live. I lost one cord for it, ordered a replacement, then promptly lost the other. That was the limit of my patience.

It then found a home in such places as garages, the back seat of my car (for like, four months), a grassy lawn, and ultimately next to a dumpster. It must have been terribly confused, not living its purpose.

Today, I finally bought one. A cute, shiny black one.

You might think these things sound irrelevant. To someone living in an entirely different social ecosystem, these things could sound horrifyingly trivial.

But, it’s not about what they are. It’s about your frame of mind, your perspective — and the story you tell yourself and what you attract because of it.

When we learn how to accept help or take charge of something we’ve merely been living with, we learn how to take our power back in an intentional way. We shift the energy of settling to the energy of worthiness.

We change our story — and we say yes to ourselves.

featured image – J Thorn