When old habit patterns hold you back

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Have you ever judged someone’s intention and been dead wrong?

I have, and it almost happened to me last weekend. Old habits and coping mechanisms die hard.

Here’s how it went: A friend texted me asking if I wanted to paddle. I was stoked because it had been raining and one of my favorite rivers was up.

As we were texting back and forth about logistics, she told me that another friend was joining us, and they were going to meet and ride together because our other friend didn’t have racks.

This is embarrassing.

I’m embarrassed to admit what my mind went to next. Instead of being stoked for our friend, my first thought was, oh, they’re only asking me to go with them because they need a shuttle vehicle.

That thought sent me into a spiral of resentment and frustration. How on earth did you get to this from that, you may be asking?

When I was young I experienced major disappointment and hurt when I realized that some ‘friends’ only hung out with me when they wanted something. To protect myself, I started being suspicious of people’s intentions when they wanted to befriend me. I used that coping mechanism from childhood for many decades, especially around tightly knit groups of women. Because of that, there is a neuro pathway strongly formed in my brain for that behavior. Even though I’ve done a lot of personal work to recognize and overcome, it can still rear its ugly head.

In the past I would put up walls to protect myself from folks taking advantage of me. It left me feeling frustrated, lonely and isolated.

Last weekend when I realized where my mind was going I actually chuckled at myself. That’s crazy, I thought. And, even if it were true, I’m glad they felt that they could reach out to me because I have a great shuttle vehicle with racks! Recognizing my old story, and not giving it power allowed me to have a great day and connect with my friends. At the end of the run I felt joyful, fulfilled and connected.

Old protective behaviors that were useful to you in the past may be hurting your ability to create community and connection with people now. Those behaviors aren’t wrong because they were helpful at one time and helped get you where you are today. Building self-awareness around those behaviors helps you to choose out of them, and open up new possibilities.

What are some old habit patterns that keep you from connecting with others, and how are you changing your story? Email me and let me know.

If you want to learn strategies for breaking free of old habit patterns and beliefs that no longer serve you, check out my upcoming Master your Whitewater Mindset 8 Week Course. Click here for info and registration.