Give Yourself A Life Audit

We sometimes feel we’re experiencing the same negative scenarios and behaviours over and over again. To take control of your life, it’s essential to examine the underlying beliefs that you have about yourself.

Between the time we were born up till the end of our childhood, we had already accumulated numerous life experiences and relationships with our parents, siblings, teachers and peers. Enough experience, psychologists believe, to leave an impression on the brain, becoming the blueprint on which the rest of our behaviour is based and determined.

Many of these have enriched us, developing our sense of self and where we are in relation to the world around us: the ‘good girl’ who always does what she’s told or the smart, strong boy always succeeding at sports. But some of our childhood experiences have also left us traumatised, allowing us to internalise labels and assumptions about ourselves that we still carry around with us well into our adult lives.

This excess baggage of unchallenged beliefs manifest in ways we may not be aware of. We may have carried the belief that we are unlovable because we may have felt we weren’t given the same amount of love and attention as others. This perhaps has led to a string of unhealthy relationships where we were always the needy or clingy one.

‘If deep down you feel unlovable then you won’t ever feel good enough for anyone,’ says psychologist Sonia Zadro, ‘and you won’t believe anyone could love you for just being yourself. These behaviours can push your partner away and result in the very abandonment you’re terrified of.’

While everyone’s problems are never exactly the same, explains Zadro, many people have a repetitive theme echoing throughout their relationships. The common themes are that of persecutor, rescuer and victim, with most people having a tendency to fall into victim roles. That is why women who grow up with an alcoholic parent attract partners who are also alcohol addicts or why some people with a demanding and controlling boss tend to repeat the same relationship pattern as they had with their controlling mother or father.

According to Doris Eliana Cohen, author of Repetition: Past Lives, Life and Rebirth, a book that sees self-defeating patterns as a result of unresolved past life traumas, this victim role can grow into a continuous destructive pattern—preventing us from creating loving relationships and a healthy approach to life’s difficult situations.

When we play the role of victim, we perceive that we have no power over our circumstances. As a result, we let other people or circumstances take over our exert control over us. Our story—of being a misunderstood outcast, a lonely or shy person, or a helpless worker with the demanding boss—becomes our reality.

‘An important step to exit the patterns we have been repeating is to change the victim or reactive child mentality many of us take on when we are in that familiar situation or behaviour,’ says Cohen. ‘We empower ourselves when we heal and separate from the energy of a ‘troubled child’ in ourselves and allow the adult to initiate behaviour, change our reactions and move beyond trauma into joy.’

Apart from the common belief of not being lovable, the belief of ‘I’m not really good enough’ or feeling inadequate is also commonly pervasive in people who find that they are attracting the wrong type of partner again and again. ‘This can be seen when their partner treats them badly and they put up with it because they don’t believe they ever get anyone as good as their partner again,’ says Zadro. ‘In fact being with their partner makes them feel more worthy. This is a distortion, or an illusion. Believing they are not good enough results in an unequal relationship with them taking on the scapegoat or victim role.’

Believing you are not good enough is not only prominent in relationships. Perhaps you were not praised as a child when you received good marks or maybe you were always made aware of your shortcomings rather than the effort you put in certain tasks. This can leave you obsessing and having trouble moving beyond certain types of behaviours. So when a new project presents itself, for example, even though you have the necessary skills and knowledge to complete it successfully, your belief that you are not good enough can undermine your best efforts.

But, Cohen says, knowing that you are attracting the wrong type of relationship or scenarios again and again affords us the opportunity to change the labels and assumptions we have of ourselves. Zadro agrees. ‘Like a repetitive destructive relationship, repetitive negative experiences are all mirrors to show you that you not only need to respond differently,’ she says, ‘but that there are beliefs holding you back from responding differently.’

The most important step to reacting in a new way to situations or people is self-awareness and self-responsibility says Zadro. Once you are conscious of the negative beliefs about ourselves that underlie our repetitions, the less we act them out, the more we take responsibility, and the more empowered and loving we can be.

It’s also important to remember that we always teach people how they treat us. ‘If someone is treating you badly and you allow this to happen, you are teaching them unconsciously that it is okay for them to treat you in that way, and they will likely to keep doing it,’ says Zadro. ‘Once you believe you are worth defending, anger turns into energy to take action to do something about your situation.’

Beginning to identify the underlying beliefs behind our repetitive behaviour patterns allows us to create new and more fulfilling relationships and experiences. Even if we may have been carrying past hurts since childhood, as adults we can now consciously challenge our beliefs and determine our own course in life.

Change the underlying beliefs behind your self-defeating patterns.

Victim mentality: ‘I’m always choosing the wrong romantic partner.’

Change to: ‘I am worthy of someone who respects and loves me for who I am.’

Victim mentality: ‘I never seem to have enough money.’

Change to: ‘I create the abundance that flows easily and freely into my life.’

Victim mentality: ‘Why do they always overlook me for advancement?’

Change to: ‘As long as I use my knowledge and skills to the best of my ability, I will attract the right position for me.’

Repetition: Past Lives, Life, and Rebirth by Doris Eliana Cohen, Ph.D (Hay House, $26.95) is available at all leading retailers. Visit http://www.hayhouse.com.au

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