It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, but I still find it funny, how we relate new experiences to past experiences. For example, when an uncomfortable feeling arises in me, I ask, “What’s this?” But what my mind is really trying to figure out is which of my unhealed issues this feeling most closely relates to. Which box can I put it in, in order to better understand how to deal with it? The funny thing is that sometimes our control dramas – our, often inherited, reactive tendencies – lay dormant until such a time as they seem relevant. For example, what I learned about being a father from all of the father figures I had in my life when I was growing up will probably only become clear when I actually do become a father myself. I may suddenly find myself reacting in ways that remind me more of my own father than my usual self. Which is why we may think that we have let go of all of our unhealthy habits, and then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, long forgotten patterns of reactivity are alive and well and living through us.
Practice awareness. Becoming aware of a reaction – as opposed to an action – is sometimes enough to stop the cycle, and, practiced regularly enough, will help you to stay true to how you really want to express yourself in the world.