Survival patterns are patterns that we have learned and developed in childhood as a means to get our needs met. They can and do take many different forms.
For instance, perfectionism is a survival pattern.
The need to control is a survival pattern.
The need to be liked is a survival pattern.
These patterns shape our behaviour and the way we navigate our life as adults. They are the gnarly, murky parts of ourselves that are hard to look in the eye because they don’t represent the best of us.
In our Q&A session this week, we had an interesting discussion around control. What if control, it was asked, has been our friend? What if it’s the way that we made our way through? How do we know if it’s the “good” type of control or the type of control that is getting in our way, stopping us moving forward and keeping us stuck in one spot?
My answer was this:
It’s important to differentiate between what control looks like and what consistent decision making and action taking looks like.
If I am looking to control something, what I’m essentially saying is:
“The decisions and actions I’m making now are motivated by the desire to control my reactions and experiences in the future”
In other words, I shape what I do now (or don’t do now) as a means to avoid something negative that I perceive may happen (or as a means to “force” something I want to happen). I’m not motivated by present moment reality but by future expectation.
I can, of course, make decisions and take actions that sit outside the paradigm of control.
In this way, we are saying:
“I’m observing something in my present experience (that I may wish to change) and I’m making a decision and taking an action towards something different based on that knowledge.”
Here, I hold a possibility of something more, but I’m not basing my actions on any attempts to control the future.
We seek to control because the truth of where we are or what we are being shown is not always easy. It’s not always roses and butterflies.
But there’s something beautiful about claiming where you currently stand, however messy that may feel. In that space, you can hold positive possibility for the future without seeking to control it. They are two different things.
It’s an exercise in self-trust. And at the end of the day, trusting that we can and will handle whatever comes our way is the only true control we really have.
We look at survival and behavioural patterns in Joyride- both understanding more about them and learning how to navigate through. You can learn more or come join us here!