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How many of us go through the same cycle in our relationships that is hard to break, and an old behavior that is destructive? I know, I have, many times so before. Just recently, I have been asking myself a question, why is it hard to break a cycle especially a destructive behavior? What I have discovered and realized after assessing my own life is that we have managed to programmed our minds in “automated response.”

An automated response is what I call a behavior that is programmed in our brain. I also refer to this as a learned behavior. Learned behavior is something we’ve been doing over & over again that eventually became a part of us. Some of which were developed as a child that has been stored into our psyche. Some of the learned behavior was adapted or influenced by people around us. This is why assessing yourself and finding your authentic self is crucial in redefining your behavior.

How To Avoid Conflict?

First & foremost, conflict is unavoidable. It is given in life. It doesn’t matter who you are, you’ll encounter a conflict one way or another. An argument arises when a conflict occurs. Arguing with someone is like playing a tennis match. The opponent hit the ball towards you and you hit it back. Exchange of words takes place. If none of you is willing to back out then the argument will never end. It will just escalate to another level.

People’s Normal Response Are:

Some people withdraw or chose to walk away from the argument while others like to confront. It’s a “fight or flight” response. I used to fight instead of learning to just let the storm pass. It takes an effort to just walk away to keep the peace. The moment I am triggered by words. My normal response would be to defend myself. Once we are triggered by someone else’s behavior that doesn’t align with ours, our brain sends a signal that is telling our brain that we must protect ourselves from the attack.

How Do We End The Cycle?

  1. Self-awareness. Self-awareness is knowing your triggers and patterns. Once you realized that there’s a pattern, now you can watch your brain like a hawk. For me, a week before my period comes, that’s when my husband and I get into a heated argument. It’s when I am most likely to get easily offended and hormonal. This is why I have to keep reminding my husband to bear with me and have a little bit of patience. In doing so, he is well aware of why I am easily offended. Another tool that helps me is by writing down my experiences in a journal. Journaling is my way of recording my emotional triggers and understanding them as it occurs.

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2. Reprogrammed Your Mind. This practice takes time. It takes a lot of effort to change your thoughts. Thoughts are what govern our emotions that also influence our behavior. Our thoughts can make us miserable by how we perceive the words of others. We have a choice to react or respond. Of course, this is easier said than done when you have been used to reacting instead of responding lovingly. I am still learning not to react and not respond with anger. This takes time.

Know this, my beloved brothers:
 let every person 
be quick to hear,
 slow to speak, slow to anger;
- James 1:19

3. Be quick to listen, slow to speak & slow to anger. If all of us could practice these precepts, we could avoid arguments. But this is hard for all of us. Listening involves engaging and truly understanding what the other person is saying without assumptions or judgments. However, listening is a skill that must be developed. Most of us want to give out our opinion and talk rather than listen.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that

we can listen twice as much as we speak.” 

Epictetus

4. Setting Healthy Boundaries. When setting up boundaries, it is important to clarify what your standards are. Knowing what’s acceptable and what isn’t acceptable. After my husband and I argued, there are things we must have to address after the argument. In this way, the next time we avoid it from happening. For instance, cursing or calling names is not acceptable. You get my point. A boundary is like a parameter or a fence. It’s essential to know your boundaries. You shouldn’t apologize for placing one in your life. There are some people in my life that after repeatedly expressing that their behavior is unacceptable. They eventually became aware of where to position themselves.

This is where argument originates from the lack of empathy and never developed emotional intelligence. I know this is rather difficult to practice. But we can’t give up just because it’s hard. In my own experience, I have to retrain my mind time and time again and refuse to give up if I messed up. We have to keep at it. Studies show a habit is developed at least 66 days. We must have to keep repeating the process of what I’ve listed above in breaking the cycle. In due time the more we practice, we can be much better at breaking a destructive cycle. Do you agree with what I just listed above to break a cycle? If you have any additional ways to do so, please feel free to comment.

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