Let’s talk about relationships. Let’s talk about patterns in particular. I’m actually looking at a screenshot of something that I wrote out, a pattern one of my clients have.
Patterns are certain things that we see coming up in our lives over and over again. What I’m going to talk about today are patterns specifically in relationships. When you think back on your life, think about the relationship you’re currently in or were in recently. If you haven’t been in a relationship, think of a friendship in particular. That is a relationship, but it’s easier sometimes to think about romantic relationships. My guess is each relationship that you’ve had has a very specific pattern that we could break down together.
Now, that pattern could be that you meet somebody and they end up being the wrong guy. Maybe he ends up being an alcoholic or a drug addict or abusive, or maybe he’s just lazy or doesn’t like the outdoors, or whatever it is. You find that person and you don’t find out until months later and you’re just in too deep. Patterns come in all shapes and sizes, but let me give you a very specific example of a client I was just talking to.
This individual, a successful businessman, was having so many problems in his relationship and he was so down that we got on a phone call. During that phone call I quickly sketched out on my pad what he was saying so I could then show him the pattern. You can see the screenshot below.
He was telling me, “Ugh, I just don’t get it. I’m getting so jealous. This girl that I love, I just love her so much, Doug, and what happens is I get so jealous of her and then I’m just scared she’s going to leave me.” His story went on and on and on. This woman was very open with her friendships with other people. She was, in his eyes, flirtatious. What he wasn’t getting is this pattern he was in. Once I walk this pattern through for you, you may see some of your similarities in there, but when I walked it through for him he went, “Oh my God. This is something I’ve been doing my whole life, not even my adult life, but I’ve been doing this since a child.”
These patterns, we all have them. I have my patterns and you have yours. Most of us started forming these patterns as protection mechanisms so we could socialize in the environments that we are in. We’ve been doing these patterns in some way, shape or form since we were really little. Oftentimes it gets traced back to, you know, roughly around five or six years old. You start to formulate your meanings of life and things that you see, and you create stories in your own head and you fall into these patterns. Oftentimes as we get older as adults we actually start stacking patterns on top of each other.
Let me describe what his pattern happened to be. What happened was, he’s a great guy, I mean phenomenal. Any woman would be lucky to have him, but he falls in love with somebody quickly. He falls deeply in love. Now when he falls in love with another woman, what happens is he just wants to give himself so much. He’s a lover. He just fills them up. He just takes everything he has and pours into them, pours himself into them. Then what he ends up doing is not pouring love into himself.
What I often talk about with my clients is the need to fill your own cup first. If you don’t fill your own cup and you’re filling somebody else’s cup, your cup is empty. He got into this pattern where he would fill his partner up and then he’d be empty. Now he was in a cycle where he needed his partner because he needed his partner to fill him up since he hadn’t been filling himself up. Now he’s in a cycle. Then, when he’s needing his partner to fill him up, he dumps into another cycle. That cycle is called not enough.
He’s not enough because he needs her around him. He feels like less of a man. He needs her to be there, and so because he needs her so much he gets jealous. Now, when he’s getting jealous he starts really seeking something else. He seeks other women. He starts going out there. She’s doing something and then he starts seeking other women to fill him up because he’s not enough. Now, of course, when he’s getting jealous he also starts judging himself as well. He’s getting into yet another pattern of judging himself, which then spins off again to not enough, in which he then seeks the other person to fill him up, which brings him back to the original pattern of seeking somebody else and dumping so much into them in the hopes that they’ll return the favor, and then he needs them even more.
Then, when he needs them, even more, he’s pushing them away because he’s so needy. Then he feels even more like not enough and needs more of their love. Then he starts seeking it even more. Then he goes back into judging himself because he’s not enough. You see all the circles around. He gets in this downward spiral. This actually spills over, as it does for all of us, out of relationships and into his business.
You see, now he was in this downward spiral and his business, he just couldn’t focus on it. His business started going into a similar cycle. His business wasn’t enough. His business wasn’t growing.
This also went with his soul. When you’re not filling up your own cup, you’re stressed because you’re worried. You’re worried about the other person. Is she going to leave me? Is he going to leave me? Are they going to be with somebody else and I just don’t know? It starts playing with your mind. When you get in these multiple patterns, these patterns actually feed themselves. They’re protection mechanisms.
He wasn’t filling himself up first because he was scared. He was scared of what he was going to find. He was scared that he wasn’t enough, he wasn’t enough of a man that if he filled himself up and focused on himself, first of all, that was bad because he’s being needy. Second of all if he was filling himself up, he wasn’t paying attention to the other person. When he got this and flipped the script…remember it’s a pattern so it’s going to keep coming up, but you’ve got to keep working on it.
He flipped the script and started focusing on filling himself up. That doesn’t mean being selfish. I mean, it’s selfish, but not overly selfish. Doing what made him happy, filling his soul. The woman he loved was more attracted to him. She wanted to spend time with him because that’s the man she fell in love with.
She didn’t fall in love with a guy who was just dumping himself into her. She fell in love with the man who was being the man he was, the man that did the things that filled him up. For him, it was yoga, meditation, going outdoors, spending time with his child. You see, in relationships and relationship patterns you see these things over and over and over again.
One of the keys I see to breaking these patterns, and this happens nine times out of ten if not ten times out of ten, spend time filling you first. Fill your cup.
Many of us just don’t even know what that means. Today what I’m going to ask you for your homework is sit down with your journal and write what makes you happy. If you haven’t been happy in a long time, first I’m sorry, and you really need to get in our community and jump on board and maybe work with one of our coaches to get you on that track, but hopefully you have and hopefully you can see those things that really fill you up.
Maybe if you’re having a hard time, you’ve been married for many years and the relationship has kind of gone dead and instead of having a marriage you’ve got a roommate or somebody else. Think about what you did when you first met, not just going to the bars or what have you. What are the things you did? Did you go hiking? Did you go bike riding? Did you meditate? Did you do yoga? Did you really enjoy the arts? Did you go to art galleries? What were those things that filled you up then? Chances are they’re very similar. Chances are the things that filled you up as a child are very similar to things that fill you up today.
I encourage you to write those down. Also, on a separate piece of paper write down those patterns. Recognizing the patterns is the first step to breaking them and replacing them with something great. That’s it for me today. I hope your relationships are phenomenal. Take time to do the homework.
If you like these daily growth hacks, it would mean the world to us if you would take a moment to subscribe and review us on iTunes!