Pressure and old pathways

I have noticed that when I am under pressure that I can sometimes start to return to old pathways, to behaviours that I thought I had changed. Behaviours that I no longer want to have.

The other thing I have noticed, that if you do not recognise this or stop it straight-away, then it soon becomes the default behaviour again and the habits form.

So, after all, perhaps this changing habits and changing yourself is just a patch and really deep down all the old behaviour and pathways are still there.

OMG, all the stuff I’ve read, written myself and believed is all just a sham.

Well, no.

Changing ourselves, particularly when it comes to habits and behaviours that we have being actioning for all our lives are not going to miraculously disappear overnight or even over many years. It takes a commitment.

We will have these lapses, as we are human not machine.

The most important thing is, I have recognised that the behaviours are going back to where I was and that is a major step forward. I know I need to do something to stop that.

This is where kindness to ourselves comes in.

I can choose to say ‘well done Philip, at least you recognised you needed to change, you’ve been on that process of changing and you’ve slipped a bit’. The challenge for most of us is the being kind to ourselves bit.

Recognising things about ourselves is hard and takes practice and that is one thing time and practice has helped with, becoming more self-aware. It’s a constant work in progress.

Reverting to old behaviours

Many times when we are going through the difficulty of changing we reach a pressure point, a moment or several moments of stress, and most often at that moment we default back to the old comfortable habits.

That’s OK, it is normal.

The important thing is not to worry about the lapses, it is to simply recognise they will happen and that we need to be compassionate without ourselves and be kind. Allow ourselves to be human and to slip now and again.

If not what will happen is that we beat ourselves up adding, even more, self-imposed pressure and we will revert completely to the old habits and many times give up on the change.

Change is difficult, being kind to ourselves is part of that so that change becomes easier in the future.

It is as ever a choice that we make inside our own heads, however, start with some kindness to ease the challenge of building new habits.