Text by Jelena Fu, Nov. 2021
- “Every day feels the same.”
- “The same thing keeps happening to me.”
- “Every boss I have humiliates me.”
- “Every boyfriend always leaves without an explanation.”
- “I can’t seem to forgive my parents.”
- “I am still angry with myself.”
- “I am never getting out of this depression / anxiety.”
Have you ever thought about or said something like this? Or slightly different but used the words “same”, “never”, “always”, “every”, “still”, “again”, etc.?
You are not alone! We all sometimes get stuck in our lives, or get caught in the loop of repeating the same patterns, behaviors, dealing with the same people or situations. It feels disappointing, humiliating, as if we are doomed to stay in the same place forever and ever.
We normally try to get unstuck by using various band-aid techniques, like a new sport, different diet, new group of people, different hobby, a new job, etc. Or we try to run away from it by avoiding certain types of people, removing ourselves from the situations that might trigger us again. As you probably know, either approach might work for a while, but pretty soon the life is going to take us back to the loop with an even bigger force.
So what can you do that will actually break the cycle?
1. Sit with your discomfort
Instead of avoiding or forcing yourself to change your feelings, situation or people, go for “sitting” with it all. That means having a realistic encounter with what is the truth for you in your life at this point. No judgment, no complaining, no rationalizing, just being present, open and receptive. Allow all the feelings to show up, no filtering or holding back. Let the anger, sadness, disappointment, bitterness… dance around as they wish. They can’t harm you when you let them be, they are damaging only when they are locked inside. Feel free to cry, shout, run, jump, write, clean, pack, paint, dance…whatever naturally comes to you as a way to process the discomfort.
It’s quite common to come up against resistance during this stage. We are not used to surrendering control and allowing our hearts to express themselves, so we run back to our logical minds. The same approach works for resistance – face it, say that you notice it, acknowledge it. Admit that that’s where you are at this moment – in resistance. Then notice what happens next.
When we don’t skip over the emotion or ignore it, but rather shine the light of awareness on it – it starts to melt away giving us our energy and space back.
2. Address your limiting beliefs
When you start reclaiming your energy and space that was held hostage by repressed emotions, you may engage in some cognitive work. It’s time to address those underlying beliefs and attitudes that keep you stuck in the loop.
What do you believe about yourself? About other people? Society? World? Take some time to write it all down. You will know that the beliefs are limiting by recognizing those key words mentioned at the beginning of the article. After every sentence, ask yourself: “What else? What is beneath this?” Keep going for as long as the brain keeps fabricating those sentences. Because all the beliefs are fabrications of our minds. That’s how our brains work – we need a structure to rely on, to measure ourselves, others and the world against, so we invent them as a result of our upbringing, education and life experiences.
The next step is to evaluate your beliefs:
Are they helpful? Encouraging? Supportive? Do you need them? Can you reframe them? What happens if you let them go? What is beneath the beliefs?
According to the answers you come to, you may do a few things:
- write affirming beliefs and read them to yourself few times a day (or record on your phone and play them)
- burn or tear the paper with limiting beliefs as a sign of letting go
- meditate on the space where beliefs appear (if that’s where your inquiry takes you)
3. Discover the lesson
While you engage in this process the lesson hidden in the loop will naturally emerge and it will be quite clear why you had to experience what you did and what you can take from it to enrich your life.
You might discover that your life purpose is different than you previously thought; that you had to develop more empathy, for example; that you had to heal some old generation wounds; or to become a role model to the others. The lessons are numerous and only you can find out what yours is. They are revealed from the heart, not mind, so trust the process and your intuition. Your unique lesson will dawn on you as a little spark and you only need to recognize it and than embody it.
The embodying part is extremely important! How can you change your life in the light of the newly-learned lesson? How can you take its wisdom and apply it to your daily actions?
It is lesson learned and lived in your everyday life that brings you the liberation from the loop-prison.
4. Practice self-love
Along this process remember to practice self-love in a form of self-compassion and self-care. Be kind to yourself when you unearth some self-deprecating beliefs, send yourself waves of love when your dark side appears, cut yourself some slack when you start accusing and criticizing yourself (again), put your hand on your heart and send yourself messages of forgiveness and unconditional love.
“It’s not a loop, it’s a spiral” my really wise therapist told me when I mentioned my own feeling of being stuck in the loop after working on the same thing for a few years. That sentence really resonated with me. We are never at the exact same place in life, rather we are climbing upwards (however slowly it may seem sometimes) and we return to certain issues from a new perspective, with new skills, knowledge and tools. We are given so many opportunities in our lives to learn, heal and grow.