Have you ever had a colleague or friend point out something that you then realized was obvious but you missed it?
I talked with a long-time friend whom I had not connected with in a while. We caught up on our work, our health, and what we are looking forward to. I told her about some pending changes in my family. She said she noticed I focused on how others were experiencing the changes rather than how I felt about it. She caught an old habitual pattern of mine. I hadn’t noticed. It’s a habit of mine to focus on what others need, and sometimes I even forget to ask myself what I need.
We all have such habitual patterns that shape our lives. But, of course, the patterns served us at one time and may not in our current life. So it is nice when a good friend shares her perspective. It is even better when we catch ourselves before we say something, take action or refrain from action.
When we notice our patterns, we are more at choice in responding. When we are unaware, we tend to follow our old habits. It takes awareness to notice our inclinations. The first step is pausing for a breath and paying attention. It is also helpful to ask a friend or a coach to share what they notice.
It can help us to be kind to others when we appreciate that we are each seeing different things and reacting based on our background experiences.
Be kind to yourself and others and notice. You can be on the lookout for a specific pattern that may no longer be needed.