Cycles and patterns are easy for us humans to create. We are really good at finding ourselves “here” again. Finding myself “here again” in eating disorders, business, relationships, friendships and smoking was one of the reasons I sought out new answers.
I couldn’t understand how I had created massive change then a few years later find myself exactly where I said I wouldn’t go again.
I wanted to the intimate details of how that happens. And I found the answer. I have a relentless thirst for answers, to know things, figure things out. And this was no different. And it changed everything, for me and for so many people I am blessed to help.
Everything we do we do for a reason. Everything. Every. Single. Thing. It meets our needs in some way. We all have a needs structure and we all have the same needs structure, but which needs drive us and the way we meet our needs is different.
I learned this as part of my training under Tony Robbins & Chloe Madanes in my Strategic Intervention & Life Coaching Certifications. It was game changing. I was able to figure out what needs I was meeting through eating disorders – certainty (control) and significance (unique/important), variety, connection (to myself).
Smoking was also meeting my needs in a variety of ways… hence why it became an addiction. Food or lack of food intermittently met my needs for variety, connection, love, certainty, significance. Sex, once upon a time met my need for connection and love. Alcohol and drugs have met my needs in various ways.
We will always meet our needs. The issue is will we will meet them in a positive, negative or neutral way. For many of us, we’ve developed unhealthy ways to meet our needs because of experiences, conditioning, beliefs, among other reasons.
If you want to change behaviours or patterns knowing how it meets your needs is crucial to ending the exhausting self sabotage cycle so many of us find ourselves in over and over. It’s like we enjoy destroying ourselves at times.
A few months ago, I had a conversation with a woman who was upset that she had regained all of the weight she had lost. In an effort to understand how she was meeting her needs I needed to understand her views of herself, weight, exercise, food among other things.
She disclosed that she had lost the weight initially by not eating. She would drink 2-3 protein shakes a day. That’s it. Amounting to 600 calories and working out for nearly 2 hours a day. She dropped weight quickly. But couldn’t maintain it and hence binged and gained it all back. This happens to her 2-3 x a year and her weight fluctuates in excess of 50lbs each time.
That’s some serious mental, emotional and physical damage being done. In our assessment we really needed to understand her issues with food and why she believed and resorted to starvation as a weight loss plan. She had been doing this for nearly 20 years.
We worked together for a couple of months in deep coaching work to find and clear the foot. There were a lot of layers and there was a lot of negative stories and beliefs about food, exercise and weight loss. But before we could re-pattern them we had to understand how they were meeting her needs, remove those, replace them with new behaviours, repattern the behaviours, beliefs and really go deep into it.
It turned out that starvation made her feel good for a time. It gave her a sense of control. The feeling of pain and being in charge and so “strong” that even food wasn’t an issue. But she was killing herself and it was an illusion of control because she wasn’t really in control, in fact she was out of control and her thoughts, emotions, physical body were pushed to the limits.
She’d crash, start eating, hating herself, go into a cycle of self pity (connection with her self) and eat until she gained it all back.
We are working on this now and she’s got a better mindset, belief system than she’s ever had. Re-patterning takes time. And she’s committed to the process otherwise it wouldn’t work. It’s not a band aid solution or it risks coming back.
I apply the same work to other issues some of my clients have – some are addicted to emotional breakdowns, others stress and being busy, others are disconnected and checked out, some are addicted to anger. Emotional reactions and responses can meet our needs in ways we can’t begin to imagine, then drive us at times into a behaviour – venting, screaming, crying, overwhelm… They all meet a variety of needs but often it’s certainty and significance (“my problem is SO important”) “I know how I’ll feel when I freak out” (certainty).
Money is a big one for a lot of people. The shiny object. Meeting our needs for variety, certainty, significance and even connection depending on the purchase.
Figuring out your need structure is a crucial part of ending negative and sabotaging behaviours. One of the most interesting things I see, and also noted when I was a personal trainer, was how often people reached their goals or got what they wanted (or close), then convinced themselves they didn’t need anymore help and soon enough they were reverting to old behaviours.
This fascinated me. Like myself, my own drama’s and trauma’s seemed to always show up, AGAIN. Why? I had to know. And what I ultimately uncovered is that we will meet our needs in anyway possible, even if that means violating our values and standards to do so.
How often when we get there do we fuck it all up because we didn’t know what else to do? Uncertainty loomed and for many people uncertainty is a kiss of death, being unable to cope with the unknown, many people unknowing sabotage themselves and recreate the same vicious cycles over and over again, rather than face the unknown.
There is an opportunity to step forward, create something new, become the best version of yourself, but without self awareness to realize what’s happening, most people are immediately triggered and instantly go back to old behaviours where they can justify not going after what they want.
Because it’s comfortable. It’s the known. We create cycles and behaviours, even when they are destroying us, because they meet our needs for certainty. Everyone’s experience and limits and needs are beliefs and language and trauma and life experiences are different…. but at the core for so many people cycles and patterns, emotions, behaviours, are created because we know don’t what else to do.
I wrote “what now” this morning. What now? So many phases and cycles are over in my life. The past is over. I’ve dealt with it. I wrote a book, got a book deal (4 year project), I’ve completely shifted business and am out of the critical oh my fucking god what did do phase. Toxic patterns, behaviours, friends, people are out of my life. I know how to stand up for myself. I know how to use my voice. I believe in myself and am not waiting for external validation – all the things that made me starve myself and smoke (among other things).
I’m ready for the future.
And for a moment this morning I wondered “now what?” What will I write about? What will I say? What if I have nothing more to say? And as my pen flew over the pages in my journal I answered my own question, which funny enough, led to this blog.
I’ll write about the same things and new things and different things. In fact, I don’t know and that’s the beautiful part of it. I’m on a new threshold, a place I’ve never been and going to a place I’ve never been.
How easy it would be to scared and smoke. Then hold myself because of it. How easy it would be to start thinking of the past and dredging up who did and said what. How easy it would be find something wrong to satisfy my need for self destruction because of my low self worth.
But the thing about this work is the deeper you go the more you burn away until there’s nothing left but the real you and the real you isn’t scared of change or uncertainty or the unknown. In fact, she thrives on new experiences, realizing if she could make it here, she can make it anywhere.
When you clear away your triggers and trauma’s and you find yourself in a place and you’re excited and ready and hungry for it, you know you’ve healed in ways you can’t explain.
You just keep walking forward, unsure but ready. I sort of know where I’m going. I have a plan, a vision, a dream and I’ve spent a lot of time tearing down and rebuilding simultaneously. It’s not a tear it all down and rebuild it all sort of process.
The tearing down and the rebuilding happens together, at the same time, take away things, rebuild things, until eventually you get to the foundation and plug the holes in the foundation, making all the other rebuilding stable.
And you won’t know it’s over until you see your lack of reactions to things that once upset you. You see yourself not getting involved, moving on, not caught in the clusterfuck of societies rage, judgement, condemnation.
It’s quiet out here. Quiet inside and quiet outside. In the place where only a few go, where only those who relentlessly peruse their greatness, those who tirelessly believe there is more to life than suffering and dying.
So what next? What now? Now what? However I say it, I can say that I have a plan and I know I can do it. That might seem silly but it’s the truth. Riddled with fear, doubt, uncertainty, low beliefs, low esteem, low worth, I spent so much of my life looking outside of myself for prove or proving myself that I wound up burnt out and failing at everything.
When I turned the flashlight in I found a lot of stuff, dark stuff, shadow stuff, stored stuff, pain, hurt, negative beliefs and I attracted a lot of people who showed me directly to those wounds. I’m sure some rubbed salt in just for good measure. But under those wounds, was me, my power, my passion, my strength, my resilience.
And there were times it felt like it was never going to end but I also look at that time and realize while I was working through some of the hardest days of my life I also created some of the most amazing things. I turned pain into passion. I turned why me into why not me?
And I know you can do it too. I teach women all over the world to do this. We all have it in us. You just have to be willing to go into the darkness, to lift the layers, as many as there are, be willing to show up, to expose yourself, be real, raw and vulnerable. You’ve got to be willing to stand in the pain of it knowing that better is coming.
That’s not work we do alone. And it’s not easy work. But when done those old behaviours, patterns, beliefs and what’s holding you back? Gone. How you meet your needs is vastly different… imagine connection with yourself through your own heart, knowing and living by your own rules instead of chain smoking and binge eating ice cream to feel something?
Imagine that uncertainty gives you massive certainty?
I know. Hard to believe when you’re in the middle of the storm. But one thing I can tell you is while you’re there, in the dark, my hand will be in your yours the entire time, the light I cast into your darkness will be so blindly that you will have no choice to find your greatness and all the best parts of you that you’ve buried.
I know you can do it.
Now what? Greatness, wild ones, greatness.