Acknowledging My Patterns

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“‘New Romantics’ is about the way we fall into patterns in everything we do – the way we live, the way we think, the way we create – but we are curiously aware of those same patterns so we are always trying to move forwards in spite of them,” says singer Trenton Woodley.

I found this quote by Hands Like Houses lead singer, Trenton Woodley, while reading up on their new album and it reinforced things I’ve already begun to take notice of in myself. In the past few years of my life, I’ve tried to put a heavy emphasis on being introspective as to how I conduct myself and why it is I make the decisions that I do. I believe that having this constant investigation into myself is a vital process towards a positive personal growth. I always want to be the best version of myself and a big part of that involves acknowledging my worst parts and working towards adapting those characteristics.

Woodley suggests in his quote that human behavior operates in patterns in which we are “curiously aware” and I agree with that. Whether or not people are willing to “move forwards in spite of them,” however, is the part that I find to be more difficult to apply to the general population. It’s hard and requires a butt ton of effort to work on yourself, which is why I think some people go on living with their destructive patterns. But I think it’s so important to put in that effort because it only helps you grow into a better person.

Throughout my life, one of my personal patterns has been to try to make my problems disappear. When I’m faced with some sort of difficulty, rather than working to amend the problem, my first instinct is to remove myself from the situation entirely. This is problematic behavior because nothing is resolved through this withdrawal method. I just avoid the hard work of facing my problems and it’s ultimately detrimental to me.

For example, I’ve completely dropped friends because cutting off the relationship was easier than talking out the issues we were having. Looking back, there are friends I could still have in my life today had I simply tried to resolve the conflict rather than dismissing it entirely. Removing myself from a difficult situation does nothing for me in the end. It simply leaves me stunted in my personal growth because of my unwillingness to pull through when things are tough. And that’s something that I’ve been actively trying to change in how I act and behave.

It’s a scary process for me to work on changing this behavioral pattern of mine because I’m not used to it. Facing and working out a problem like a calm and rational person isn’t the difficult part but rather, it’s fighting that instinctual urge to withdraw. That’s the pattern that I’m curiously aware of and trying to move forward in spite of. I need to face problems head on because in doing so, I’m better off. I’ll learn more appropriate ways of handling my problems and become braver when I’m faced with more difficulties.

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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (Basically, she's a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.