Use Your Awareness to Change Your Habits

Learn how awareness can change your habits.

Every human has patterns in their lives that they use over and over again. Some of these are necessary, but others might get in the way of a good relationship. So, how do we change those difficult patterns? By using our natural and always present awareness.

So, what is awareness? This is the part of all humans that can look at our own behavior and say something like, “Wow, I shouldn’t have yelled at my partner,” or “Why didn’t I say something when my mate hurt my feelings?”

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When Couples Stop Communicating

Some people stay in their relationships even when they feel distant from their partner.  I’ve seen couples spend decades with a person they don’t really know, or think about.  They just find a way to exist inside the relationship.  It’s like they
live alone, even though they are a couple.

People who find themselves in this type of situation might wonder if their life is happy enough.  They might quietly ask themselves if they could have a better life by making some changes. Maybe they resign themselves and just accept their circumstances.

I’ve worked with couples who have been together for decades.  They tell me they don’t want to end their marriage.  They tell me they love the other person. What I often see are two people who believe they know each other so well they don’t even see the other person anymore.  They’ve become people who can answer the other’s sentences. They already know what the other person is going to say even before they say it.  The curiosity and wonder about their mate has vanished.

They come to counseling to get “better”.  They want what they used to have; closeness, laughter, possibilities.  They want me to help them find it again, as if it’s just hidden somewhere and I can use my therapeutic x-ray vision to spot it.  I wish it was this easy.  I wish I could just help couples feel good about being in their relationship again. 

But I know it’s not that simple.  I do have good vision, and I can probably help couples see what happened to their relationship and why they feel the way they do.  This is often helpful, but it’s just the beginning.  The real work comes
when each person wants to have a better relationship and isn’t expecting the other to make it better for them.

If one or both people in the relationship are waiting for the other to change, that relationship is going to stay the same. It isn’t up to one person to make it different for the other. A relationship improves when both people look at themselves.
When each person starts to see how they talk, and react to the other person, then there’s a good chance for change. 

In counseling each person begins to understand what he or she is about.  They learn what they have wanted and needed from the other person and they acquire the skills to ask for it.  If a couple wants to save a relationship it’s likely both want to see their partner happy. If this is your situation why not try counseling, dig in and fight for what you really want; love, closeness, understanding, kindness, support.

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Why We Suffer

Sometimes when life is too good we wonder if we really deserve it.  If we are used to living a life of struggle this thought might occur to us. You probably believe that you really want to be happy, but your experiences show you that happiness is not possible; your history reveals more experiences of struggle and suffering.

The things we want most; happiness, freedom, ease, all seem to get pushed aside for the more familiar feeling of suffering.  We don’t do this on purpose.  We do this out of habit.

So how do we learn to accept the good in our lives?  How do we find a way to just receive the happiness, freedom and ease that has eluded us all these years?

We start by noticing. Notice when you feel the good stuff. Notice when you feel the other, the struggle and the difficulty.  Notice what is happening in your body.  If you are in a good place chances are you are feeling light and full.  If you are
suffering or in a bad place you might use words like dark or negative, or phrases like, “It feels as if I’m under a dark cloud.”

When we notice these things about ourselves we are gaining awareness.  So why is awareness important?  Because we ultimately want to understand ourselves so we can notice how often we go into the dark place and how seldom we allow the good place in.

Sometimes it feels like things just happen to us, and they do.  But we can begin to understand how we react to things when they happen and begin to become aware of how we automatically, unconsciously play out the same old reaction.

Do we tense up when we feel threatened, angry or in danger?  Do we relax when we feel safe?  These are good things to learn about you.  Once you understand your own reaction to situations then you can begin to explore your patterns.  You might learn that you tense up when you feel unsafe and you freeze.  This is good to know because when you understand your reaction you may want to try something else to see what could happen.  Maybe you want to have a conversation with yourself and ask, “What am I afraid of?  Is there really danger or am I just following a pattern?”  If you observe there is
nothing to be afraid of maybe you can tell yourself the next time, “I am going to (take the action) because there is nothing to be afraid of.”

Many people want to make changes in their lives.  They want to be happy and peaceful.  The first step starts with you observing and understanding you.  Once you become an expert on your patterns and reactions to life you will be able to make the right changes for you. 

How do you know what the right change will be?  You already know.  When the right changes occur, you feel good; your body feels in alignment with the rest of you.  That’s how you know you have made the right decision for you.  Take a moment to understand what good feels like in your body.  Then when you feel it you will know. The right answer and action will send all the right messages to your body.  To know this about yourself you have to study yourself.

But isn’t that something you do already?  Don’t you know more about yourself than anyone?  Why not take the next step for you by taking a stand and telling yourself this, “I want to live a life free from suffering, and I’m willing to learn more about myself in order to do that.”

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