“Don’t be someone that searches, finds, and then runs away.”Paolo Coelho
It’s very simple. We choose what is familiar. And actually, it’s the subconscious that chooses for us.
We all want and seek good things for ourselves. But once we reach or have them, we don’t always choose them. And then we suffer greatly wondering why we keep screwing ourselves out of happiness, success and well being.
We’re not scared of good things because we’re stupid, sick or horrible people. We’re scared of them because they’re not what we’re used to. It doesn’t matter how good a situation is. If it’s unfamiliar, and touches on some traumatic experiences from our past, it scares the heck out of us.
If love, support, tenderness, safety, wellness, abundance and any good thing you can think of is familiar, we’ll choose it even if it’s not perfect.
If unlove, lack of support, abuse, doubt, instability, scarcity and any negative thing you can think of is familiar, we’ll chose it over its exact opposite – and positive – alternative.
Last week I came across a podcast where someone mentioned we need to pay attention that we don’t marry our parents… in the context of how children used to overbearing caregivers, abandonment, neglect and every manner of un-wellness growing up tend to, against their own logic even, gravitate towards partners who recreate the same unhealthy dynamic they’re used to from childhood.
This explains why intelligent, high-functioning and seemingly self-aware individuals sometimes choose partners who are emotionally unavailable or outright abusive. And it also explains why other intelligent, high-functioning and seemingly self-aware people are unable to handle consistently affectionate, loving partners who offer support and are actually trustworthy.
Awareness of familiarity with negative dynamics, situations and people is key to understanding patterns in our lives that keep leading to unhelpful or outright negative outcomes.
And understanding is key. Although seeking professional help to look deeper into the underlying trauma(s) is worth doing too, we can also, on our own, choose to practice and make negative things unfamiliar, while allowing good things to become familiar. And yes, it takes some time, and commitment, and willingness to change.
But I don’t know anyone who would rather not have the things they do want in life, or deliberately seek to remain in a state of anxiety, anger, dissatisfaction or shame caused by the realization that they can’t seem to ‘get it right’ even when life offers them every opportunity.