Stopping the Self-Enabling Cycle

With the Help from the 3 C’s Formula & Our Old Friend Aristotle

In today's world, people tend to look at outside influences and not ourselves as reasons for failing at something or continuing to put ourselves in the same negative situations or bad relationships. Although it is not our fault when people do bad things to us, what is our fault is what we do or do not do to overcome what has happened. When we do little or nothing to help ourselves, in reality, we are continuing to have these problems dominate our lives.

“What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher.” ~Chuck Palahniuk

“Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons. When there is something you need to learn, something that you need to work on, the same situation will continue to repeat itself until you either learn your lesson or find a healthy way of dealing with that particular issue.”

Take a look at the following two examples. The person who is directly affected needs to think about how they are enforcing the negative things which are damaging to them instead of seeing what they can do in order to stop the problem. Also think about how various things within your life, that you constantly try to change or eliminate. What do you do or not do in order to worsen it, such as in the bottom examples.

Example 1: When you are constantly going back to the same toxic relationships, regardless of whether or not it is a current or past relationship or whether it is a brand new relationship, you are continuing to put yourself in harm's path. What you are doing is repeating a behavioural pattern of putting yourself in the same negative situation, while making excuses that make it seem like you are powerless. A girl I worked with had a total douchebag for a boyfriend and one day said you can't choose who you love because God chooses that for you. (“sunk cost fallacy” mindset.) I'm powerless and hopefully one day he will change.

Example 2: Punching a wall, blaming the wall for your sore hand, and wanting the wall to stop hurting your hand as you continue to punch it and putting all the blame on the wall for your hand being sore is yet another example of an individual not taking responsibility for his/her actions.

The proper thing to do in these circumstances would undoubtedly to put the behavioural interventions in place in order to effectively stop punching the wall and recognize how we are contributing to the situation. Instead, the underlying thought with many seems to be maybe if I hit the wall differently or wait for the wall to recognize that it is hurting me then all will be fine. This may indeed not be a conscious thought but the actions taken often seem to portray just this exact thought!

How can the “Three C Formula” help you with recognizing the internal and external factors that stop you from breaking those negative behavioural habits?

Control What You Can

If something is not in your control, such as the example of the person punching the wall, you can't stop it. What you can do is take whatever you are doing out of the equation. Let’s be honest, the wall is not going to think maybe I should not hurt this person's hand.

It is the same as when expecting a person who is abusive or a toxic person to all of a sudden not be abusive or toxic.

Instead of hoping for what may be the impossible, you should be focused on the things you are doing to keep yourself in the same situation. In other words, stop punching the wall by using various behavioral mechanisms in order to see the situation more clearly. When a relationship is toxic or abusive, your best route is usually to totally distance yourself from this relationship! You need to stop making excuses for your behavior and change it in a positive manner.

Cope with What You Can't

“Coping strategies refer to the specific efforts, both behavioral and psychological, that people employ to master, tolerate, reduce, or minimize a stressful event.”

We do this by creating good habits and various coping strategies, by understanding yourself and training yourself or with the help of a professional, how to see the situation differently through various therapeutic techniques.

Concentrate on What Counts

In today's world, there is a crazy amount of misinformation, literally everywhere, whether it is social media posts, some self-proclaimed expert, and so on.

What is important is focusing on the things that help you in creating a healthy well-balanced lifestyle. Truthfully you that by taking the steps to eliminate the nonessential things that can cause grief, stress, and other negative things within your life.

Like Aristotle said: "We are what we repeatedly do."

I'm going to add an additional update to Aristotle's quote, we are also what we repeatedly think and perceive about ourselves, and what we let into our lives and how we let it into our lives.

Why is this quote is so relevant to The Three C’s Formula?

Without putting in the work to actually implement the positive changes, it is not going to get you anywhere. Other than being frustrated and blaming everything besides the things that you should be blaming for your lack of understanding and progress, without the work needed, all our greatest intentions can be worthless!

In order to fix something, we need to look at everything that can potentially be causing the problem. Whether it's ourselves, or external factors or a combination of both. 

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Stopping the Self-Enabling Cycle