Sometimes to get out of complex, destructive cycles happening in my life, solutions are often simple things that I throw into those cycles as paths to help me get out.
The first thing about any of my destructive cycles I’ve noticed is that they revolve around a mindset. They arise out of some need that I feel that needs to be fulfilled. And if it isn’t fulfilled, I go right back into doing something destructive - even if I know it isn’t the most logical choice.
I see it like eating fast food. The experience of eating that food is amazingly tasty at first, but makes me feel bloated and guilty after - because I knew what I was eating. And I knew what the effect would have, but I did it anyway.
When my behaviors repeat like this, at first I only see two choices: to continue those behaviors, or stop them. This can be incredibly limiting, and sometimes the path to stopping them altogether can seem like light years ahead. So I give myself more choices - more opportunities. I try to think of ways I can minimize my destructive behaviors instead of quitting them cold turkey right away.
One of my biggest fears used to be talking to people - especially people I didn’t know or know well. I would go out of my way to avoid approaching or meeting people. And I would feel detached because of that, and at the end of the day just relapse into those feelings.
I knew that I couldn’t instantly get the confidence to stop feeling afraid. So I started with the people I knew best, and slowly tried to meet new people through them. It helped so much knowing I was comfortable with someone I knew, which helped build up this new behavior of talking to people.
The thing that really helped me there was knowing there was other paths to take to get where I wanted to be. I knew how I wanted to feel, but I often jumped to the extremes of how I thought I should be. That shot me back to my old behaviors, instead of taking what I had with my friends, and making some new behaviors out of it.
Whenever I feel destructive behaviors taking hold now, I think hard about the things in my life I can move around to give me some paths to take. If they don’t exist, then I have to make them - but there’s always a way if you’re motivated enough to make a change.