How to interrupt our patterns

This is a conitnuation of my previous post, please read that first so this one makes sense. CLICK HERE

Once we know how to spot our patterns, we can take steps to eliminate them. The simplest way of doing this is by simply interrupting the pattern. When something triggers you and you begin to feel fear or shame, make the conscious choice to eliminate the defensive behavior pattern (avoidance or anger) that usually follows. Try to tap into Witness Consciousness by observing your thoughts and feelings as they are happening. When we can observe ourselves, we open up the space to create different behaviors.

For Lions, the next time you are in an argument and you know your pattern is to get angry, instead of lashing out, take a few deep breaths and observe the “five-minute silent rule,” meaning keep your mouth shut for five minutes. This gives you time to cool off and cuts down on the possibility of you carelessly hurting the other person with your words while you are in reaction mode. Use these five-minutes to think about what it was that really triggered you – what meaning have you attached to the situation and what perceptions and beliefs are you holding on to? Are these beliefs a reflection of reality? Will holding on to them increase your suffer- ing? Can letting go of them ease your suffering?

If you are a Unicorn and you know your pattern is to avoid, resist the temptation to run away during conflict. Instead stay committed to working the problem out. Better yet, go to your partner and give them a big hug. They certainly won’t be expecting that! By interrupting your pattern, you can often get your partner to interrupt theirs as well.

Interrupting our patterns is hard work and is often easier said then done. We can use the simple four-step Conflict Resolution Process below to help guide the way. By making a conscious and consistent effort, you will find results.


  1. Validation
  2. Responsibility
  3. Acceptance
  4. Asking for our needs to be met
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” 
- John Dryden 

Step 1: Validation

First we must validate the other person’s feelings. We basically say, “You have a right to your feelings and given your perception, your feelings are valid.”

Step 2: Responsibility

We must then take responsibility for our reactions and feelings and understand that they are about us.

Feelings arise from perceptions that support the instinctive view of reality we developed in childhood, based on our earliest survival needs. Until we realize that our reactions are about us, and that they tell us nothing about anyone else, we will never find freedom from suffering.

Step 3: Acceptance

We must then accept that we cannot control another person’s response. We must accept that both parties are in defensive mode and there is no guarantee that the situation can be calmly diffused. But the goal of acceptance is to create space for different choices.

Step 4: Asking for our needs to be met

Finally we ask the other person for help with our feelings and the emotional needs that go with them.

The Magic Phrase

Keeping the four-step process above in mind, try using this phrase the next time you find yourself about to engage in an argument: “I hear what you are saying. Your feelings are valid. The problem isn’t your behavior, the problem is my reaction to your behavior, which comes from my feeling. Will you help me with my feeling?” 

This method opens up space for the other person to make a different choice, but it can be difficult if your partner is already triggered. If you don’t get a compassionate response, shift your focus to the fact that you have actively made a different and better choice today! Because the one guarantee is that if don’t break your pattern and use a defense instead, you will reinforce the circular problem.  

The ultimate goal is that the adult brain of each person can look inside the other and see the other’s hurt child. When you each become aware of the others true feelings, the natural response is compassion. Compassion is the key to intimacy.


1.      Make your relationships a top priority. Don’t let your relationships take a back seat to the pressures of everyday life – work, paying the bills, taking care of the kids, etc.

2.      Let go of the past and embrace each day as a new possibility. View each day as a clean slate – a new opportunity to grow and strengthen your emotional connection.

3.      Let go of being “right.” Try to see things from the other person’s perspective. There can be no compassion while you are still on the defensive.

4.      Interrupt your limiting patterns and create new empowering patterns.

5.      Tell the people in your life how much you love and appreciate them, every single day!

I give full credit to my Budokon trainings where I learned all of this.

Treat yourself well,