Learned patterns of behavior are supposed to simplify our lives because they allow us not to learn the same thing over and over again. It makes us do a lot of things automatically. However, they do not always make our lives easier. Why is that so?
We can define a pattern of behavior as a record stored in our memory. Based on this, we react to different situations. The pattern of the behavior determines our reactions and very often influences our behavior.
Part of the pattern is often typical thinking and feelings, which usually cause how we behave or behave in a given situation. Learned patterns of behavior affect us daily. They can influence what we do in our lives, where we go, how we deal with people, or how we dress up.
Why am I doing this when I know it doesn't make sense?
The interesting thing about learned behavior patterns is that the person often knows it doesn’t make sense to behave, think or feel. But that doesn’t stop him from doing it all the time.
Most people realize that it is not right or pointless to compare themselves with others, to be jealous, envious, or afraid of something. But with learned behavior patterns, which include how we think and feel, it’s not just about knowing. The mind knows that this kind of behavior is not logical, it is exaggerated, but sometimes it simply cannot command the body.
The most common negative behavior patterns
Among the frequent unhelpful patterns of behavior is precisely comparison. In my practice, I also often encounter a pattern of self-doubt or fear that no one will like me, waiting for confirmation from others that I’m fine, or fear of not being accepted or avoiding uncertainty.
Patterns of behavior arise even within ourselves
Learned behavior patterns are usually attributed to the fact that they arise in a relationship with another (we are influenced by parents, siblings, partners, friends, colleagues, teachers, and others). However, this is not always the case. For example, a person can learn to relate something to himself, to think about something.
Few people probably realize that we live without any demands on ourselves for a relatively long time. A great example is a child at play who doesn’t care how he looks or what others think of him. Later, however, something changes, and we begin to perceive things differently. We start setting conditions for ourselves to relax in our lives or to learn new things with joy.
For example, we start saying: “I can’t be happy and spontaneously ‘play’ because I’m not pretty enough.” I can’t be happy because I don’t have a good job like others, etc.”
We can trace the pattern from our parents when, for example, we feel that the mother does not accept herself, does not believe in herself, or has excessive concerns about life. However, it can also come directly from upbringing, when the child was praised or received love and acceptance only when he achieved something great, had excellent grades, and the like.
Based on this, a person can then learn that he must necessarily do something to like himself. But, of course, it’s not just parents; we’re always learning in every moment, all our lives. The collectives we are in, and actually, any relationships are particularly important.
Work consciously with yourself
If you feel that you are copying your parents’ behavior in some situations, then it is good to know that you can change the learned patterns.
Reflect on your childhood and find specific parental behaviors you adopted as an adult. Alternatively, during an argument, think about whether the voice you use to communicate is really yours. Perhaps you will be surprised that the intonation and spoken words are completely identical to the words that your mother or father used to communicate.
Getting rid of outdated patterns of behavior that harm us can be done effectively during therapy. Work is being done to identify those that harm the client. What is important is their division into the thoughts that run through my head during the pattern, my feelings on my body, and what behavior results from this. Once these systems are concrete and named, you can work with them much better.
Gradually, a person gains knowledge about his thoughts and emotions and how they influence his behavior, thanks to which he can decide how he behaves towards himself and the world. He begins to have more control over his mental health and functioning. He begins to look at things with a greater perspective or allows himself to act according to his needs, without shame or fear of the reaction of those around him.