by Sylvia Browne
We’ve all formed patterns and rituals throughout our entire life, whether it’s cuddling a favorite teddy bear as we fall asleep at night or twirling our hair when we’re nervous. There are certain things we habitually do when we get up in the morning, such as brushing our teeth and reading the paper, and other things we do before we go to bed, like making sure all the doors are locked or keeping a glass of water on the nightstand (as I do). These types of behaviors are usually automatic and comforting, and they make us feel stable. In fact, if one of these things gets out of sync, we may feel “off center” for the entire day.
You see, we all have a spiritual center for our soul, and the patterns we form are often positive coping mechanisms that keep us in balance when something makes us uncomfortable or afraid. Some of you may remember a comedian by the name of Don Knotts, who played Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show. When he started out, he had such horrible stage fright that it was paralyzing, so for his stand-up act on The Steve Allen Show, he portrayed a man giving a speech who was so nervous he could barely talk, much less swallow. He twitched and jiggled, and everyone laughed because they could all identify with that phobia. Not until many years later did the public find out that this wasn’t just Don’s shtick, it was a real pattern that had plagued him most of his life – that is, until he decided to turn it into something positive. As he continued acting out his fear in front of an audience, his stage fright disappeared.
Negative Patterns and Bad Habits
Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that the coping skills we develop to deal with challenging situations are more destructive that the feelings of insecurity we’re trying to avoid in the first place, and then, because we live in this house or temple that we call a body, these physical patterns affect our spiritual growth. We may delude ourselves into thinking that certain behaviors are positive mechanisms, because sometimes there’s a fine line between a healthy habit and an obsessive one. For instance, it’s hygienically mandatory to wash our hands before meals and after taking a trip to the restroom, but what if, like a client I had, we feel compelled to wash our hands 104 times a day? Any action, deed, or emotion – even a positive one – becomes destructive when pushed too far.
Observe yourself and others as you reinforce your chosen habits with your words and actions: “I can’t live without my morning coffee,” “I have to have a few cocktails when I’m nervous [or happy or sad or whatever],” or “With my schedule, I need drugs to keep me at peak performance.” Statements like these not only program your behavior, but justify it as well.
It takes some time and definitely some backtracking to find the root or core of these negative patterns, or to determine when we first let them come into our consciousness. Many people in our society have developed the pattern of eating to comfort themselves, even though they know it’s destructive, because they feel helpless and trapped in their body. Others form a pattern of drinking because they want to be accepted – maybe it makes them feel more socially “in.” (And I’m not talking about a glass of wine at dinner – I’m referring to the folks who think they need a drink for courage or to get a buzz, and they don’t stop.) And then there are those who decide to smoke because they want to be “cool,” and just like alcohol, the cigarettes become a necessary companion. I’ll say here, without reservation, that with “friends” like these, you don’t need enemies!
Drugs, while more deadly (and make no mistake, they are deadly), have the same allure, and the same seduction: “I’ll be part of the group,” or “I’ll escape my worries.” Even prescription medications can be as lethal as any drug on the street when they’re abused, but people often convince themselves that if their pills came from a pharmacy, they must be all right. This is a fool’s paradise, because all these patterns are far more harmful than any insecurity we may have.
A less obvious habit that many people develop is that of being disappointed in themselves and beating themselves up. This is a behavior that may have started all the way back in childhood, or as recently as yesterday – anytime your expectations of yourself were greater than what you could accomplish: “I didn’t pass the test, so I must be stupid,” “I didn’t win the game, which means I disappointed everyone,” “I don’t dress as well as everyone else, so I’m a nerd,” “My brother can do everything better, which is why Mom and Dad like him better,” “No matter what I try to do it fails, so I might as well give up,” and strangely enough in this day of heightened awareness, “Nothing goes right for me, so I must be cursed.”
We could go on and on with these mental patterns that take root, flavor our lives, and, if we let them, haunt us forever. Many times we make poor decisions in life because we settle for less, thinking we’re unworthy. But we must remember that these behaviors aren’t defects of our innate soul or self, they’re simply part of life in the physical world.
Sylvia Browne is without question, "America's #1 Psychic," an internationally known psychic and medium.