In my last post, I shared some insights on the importance of letting go, whilst keeping the balance and focusing on your dreams. Not an easy chore… You know me… as per usual, my weeks are always filled with surprises and I’ve come to realize something vital: I’m intoxicating my life.
Sounds harsh, I know! But aren’t we all somehow conditioned by some of our deepest wounds, those that secretly condition us and make us repeat toxic cycles? Aren’t we often the artisans of our unhappiness?
It just dawned on me this week once again. I obviously knew this… I had read about it, went through therapy in the past, etc. But when emotions, which are irrational, take over, we lose focus and can easily repeat negative patterns.
The Subtlety of Toxic Cycles
As I was walking downtown Montreal this past week, I just happened to meet a friend. As he saw me from far, he decided to hop off his bike and after saying a quick hello he told me, “Nick, it hurts me to see you hurt yourself.”
It would have been easy for me to dodge it off and pretend I was fine and that I was actually not doing any of that … but he was unfortunately right. I won’t elaborate on this specific situation for now, I would not want anything to come across as judgment, because the real person hurting himself is me!
As I went home that night, this sentence got me rethinking my whole life. It may sound absurd, but it gave me insight on some unconscious cycles I was perpetuating.
Shedding Light on Toxic Cycles
Those who know me well, see me as a person full of resources and ideas. When on my own, I’m hardly bored. I will meditate, I will pick up classical guitar again, write poetry, work on my blog, go hiking or go for a bike ride, will focus on my health and hit the gym, etc.
Problem is, when friends or other forms of relationship show up, I always end up being the first one to give up on what I truly love in order to please others.
It reminds me of my best friend from elementary school. We were inseparable. When we finally got to high school, our parents chose to send us to different schools. We lost track of each other, but would always end up visiting at least once or twice a year.
Well, every time we did see each other, I would end up picking up on my friend’s style and music choices. I was more of the perfect grunge style, but when he’d play some hip hop and wear the large pants, I’d do the same. In a matter of a few days, I’d become a copy of my friend!
Why? Why would I give up on the music I loved and the style that defined me? Because I was afraid to lose him… I was afraid of rejection.
Toxic Cycles… Identify the Source
As I mentioned above, I identified the problem and the source years ago in therapy… But I clearly see that I still have lessons to learn. I fear asserting myself… I fear rejection that could result from it… I’d rather become the other so that I will not need to risk it all! In other words, I become co-dependent of the other, I cease to exist and let the other person’s existence take over.
The problem is in the long run! The same pattern will slowly repeat itself. I end up losing myself through the process of imitation. I give up on my core beliefs and will also slowly give up on my health to then becoming upset at what I’ve done and will want to break the cycle.
Consequences are also always the same! Because I never stood up for myself, for my beliefs, for my hobbies and habits, when I get upset and try to assert myself, it comes through as an unexpected explosion and I end up being the guilty one for reacting that way.
Obviously, the other person does not recognize me! They cannot fully understand where I’m coming from and will clearly think I’m wacko… Why? Because I never gave them the opportunity to discover me… the True me.
Stop Toxic Cycles From the Beginning
So, as I was coming back home that night, after my friend had spoken to me, I suddenly remembered all this beautiful theory about wounds and toxic cycles. But if I know about it, why do I keep repeating?
Well, probably because I do not try to cut the cycle from its roots. Sounds weird, but I doubt we can fully heal from our past wounds. We simply learn to live with them and can identify negative patterns that stem from them, helping us avoiding the repetition of toxic cycles.
If I were to describe myself today, I’d have a hard time. Why? Because I think I’ve lost part of myself in the last few years. I’d probably give a definition that has nothing to do with myself and with some of the people I’m surrounded with.
So basically why would I look for friends or a partner in bars when in reality, I’m not the bar type of guy? Why would I focus on finding others when maybe the best thing would be to let others find me, or maybe find each other?
I travelled, explored the world with my backpack, visited museums, went to concerts, etc. But slowly found myself hanging out for drinks! I’ve never been a heavy drinker, but why did I settle for less? Cause I feared rejection!
The End of Toxic Cycles
So yeah, what are you doing, Nick? Why do you keep hurting yourself? That friend was definitely right? I need to choose wisely and integrate some self-love into my future encounters.
I don’t mind going to bars for a drink, nor do I mind going dancing here and there … but these places do not define who I am. What if God/life was just waiting for me to build upon what I truly am, what I truly love, what I truly aspire to? Maybe only then will I meet the right people that will encourage my flight?
Did you ever stop and wonder what conditions your choices? What brings you to certain conclusions and pushes you towards certain decisions? It can be scary to question it all. However, it is fundamental.
Many in my surroundings see me as unstable. I’ve left the priesthood and religious life after 18 years. Since I accepted jobs that allowed me to live because of other people’s opinions or suggestions. Result? I basically changed job yearly since I left the priesthood. The last I did, was creating my mobile barbering company and had to sell because of a strong and incurable shoulder pain.
I did not follow my dreams, I followed other people’s opinions on my life and dreams! Well, for the first time, I’m doing what I truly want to do: write! So many around me are criticizing my choice; they are pressuring me to find the perfect job with perfect conditions … but I will not give up on what I want … not now!
Let’s end toxic cycles and chose us!
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