When something negative happens frequently in our lives, we can start to believe it’s our reality.
In this week’s video, I wanted to show you how to break negative patterns and rewrite the narrative you’ve been telling yourself.
What are some of the stories you’ve told yourself in the past? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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What else? Let’s see. I’m 24. Is it weird I’ve never had a boyfriend? No, I don’t think it’s weird. I think it’s your path. Well, firstly, is there such a thing as a path that’s not got some weirdness to it? We’ve all got something. It just feels like it’s easy to compare yourself to other people who have had boyfriends, friends of yours who have had more experience in that department and feel like you are behind. But what does behind really mean? We all have growth spurts at different times in life.
One of my heroes, Anthony Bourdain was penniless in his thirties and then made it in his . . . He wrote a bestselling book in his mid-forties and then had this unbelievable career trajectory in his fifties. So you can look at any aspect of life, whether it’s career or relationships and say what does it mean to be behind? We all go through growth spurts at different ages. We all put wisdom to use at different stages.
So you’re 24 and you haven’t had a boyfriend. You can play catch up on that anytime you like. Go meet people, be curious, be open to what could happen and don’t overvalue your story. If you go into speaking with a guy and you’re like, “I just feel like you should know, I’ve never had a boyfriend,” then it’s going to feel like a big deal. But if you wear it lightly and don’t feel like it’s such a big deal. If you just go into it saying, yeah, I haven’t had a boyfriend, but that’s fun. It’s new to me and you can even acknowledge that. And in your next relationship, when you make mistakes, you can be like, I’m still learning. Be humble about that. That can be an enjoyable thing.
And Lydia says, “I’m 29 and have never had one.” And that’s okay too. Again, the more time passes with something, the more . . . Here’s what’s interesting about our story in general, right? And it doesn’t matter. You could have the I’m 29 and have never had a boyfriend or you could be I’m 35 and every person I’ve ever been with has cheated on me. Whatever your path is or whatever your story is, the danger when something has been going a certain way for us . . . For example, there’s a lot of people that come to me and say, “Matt, I can never get someone past date three.” Or, “I go on the first date and it never turns into more.” Or, “I see guys, but they never commit to me for a relationship.”
The problem when something happens consistently in our life is that we start to develop this very ingrained story around that thing. We start to believe that that’s just reality for us and that’s a very dangerous place to be. Because once you’ve decided this is me, you really identify with that. And there are things that you used to believe about yourself that you no longer identify with, or you realize were ridiculous. It was just a pattern that you’d got in. But the problem is once we start getting in a pattern, there’s a part of what we do. If you take a woman or a man who consistently chooses bad partners, on one hand you can say, “Oh, they’re doing that because of low self-esteem.” And that’s kind of the typical thing that happens is everyone goes, “It’s a self-esteem issue.”
Now part of that is true. Part of it could be that he or she is choosing partners who don’t treat them well because they don’t believe they’re worth more. So they keep allowing someone to treat them poorly and they don’t see that as a red flag or a sign that they should leave. They see it as a sign that they should try harder, that they should give more, or that they should just be more accommodating or that they continuously think they’re going to change someone. So these are self-esteem issues, but there’s also a side to it that’s not to do with confidence, but it’s to do with just doing what we know.
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In life we tend to gravitate towards what we know. If what you know is a certain kind of person and that’s therefore the person that you tend to gravitate towards, then you keep going for that person because it’s just what you know. And what we know gets more and more ingrained in life to the point where we don’t even ealize that what we’re doing isn’t everybody else’s common experience. We just think that that’s normal.
I know someone who, when she was dating a friend of mine, she found that he was a kind person and the person she’d been with before that was not kind to her. And she was telling her mum about this person going, “He’s really nice. He’s so nice.” And her mom said, “Yeah, that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be like that.” And the funny thing is, you’d say “God, how could someone be misguided about something that feels so kind of obvious that you should be with someone who’s nice to you?” But for her at that stage, it wasn’t obvious to her. What she had experienced was the opposite to that and she’d come to just know that.
So even just this situation where someone was being nice to her was something that in the beginning, even though it felt good, it was actually uncomfortable. And when something’s uncomfortable to us, we can run away from it. We can get scared. It’s just not what we know. So whenever we’re trying to break a pattern, there’s a confidence element to it but there’s also just a getting used to something different. And when we’re getting used to something different, sometimes we don’t really believe that that different thing exists.
If you haven’t had a boyfriend for years, you may not believe that that exists for you. If you’ve never been with someone who doesn’t cheat on you, you may not believe that people who don’t cheat exist. If you’re not used to being around people who treat you well or with kindness, then you may not believe that that really exists. I have this fundamental belief. Jameson, I think, which you do a video about this. That what’s needed when we change a pattern, especially when it involves our beliefs about other people, is not to suddenly start trusting or believing differently because actually that’s incredibly difficult. Just believing that the opposite of what we’ve always experienced exists is actually a very difficult thing to do. And I find it quite insulting when self-development literature suggests that you just have to believe.
If you’ve always been cheated on, if you’ve always been lied to, you just have to believe that something better is out there for you. Well, that’s a hard thing to do if you’ve never experienced it. If your reference points say otherwise. I don’t necessarily believe that you have to just trust that something else is out there. I believe the gateway to new beliefs is curiosity. That we need to get curious about experiences that are different from the experiences we’ve had so far in our life.
If you’re a really jealous person and you are wanting to be less jealous in general, then find a friend of yours who’s in a successful relationship where you admire the relationship, but your friend isn’t jealous like you are. And talk to your friend about it. Wait, when he or she did that, that would normally make me jealous, but it didn’t seem to make you jealous. How do you deal with that? And listen to their belief system. Be curious about the way that they think about jealousy and what you’ll hear is a different set of ideas than the ones you’ve trained yourself or your past, your trauma, your parents, your early relationships that you’ve watched have trained you to believe. They will have a different paradigm for jealousy and it’s by observing somebody else’s paradigm with curiosity, that we start to develop a new one for ourselves.
We also want to get curious about new results. If we go on a date and it . . . Get curious. What happens if I go on this date with a different kind of energy? Let me get curious about the result that that brings. What happens if, normally on a date I just go really quiet and I leave it to the other person to reach out to me. Well, what happens if I was a little more bold and invited them on another date or reached out to them and said, “I had a great time,” and didn’t just wait for them? We need to get curious about what happens if we change our behavior.
We need to get curious if we change . . . What happens if we bring a different energy? If we break our normal pattern, because we don’t realize how many different realities there are available to us, how many different ways of living there are. How many different responses we can elicit from people if we start to shift things about the way we do things or what we believe. But it takes curiosity to do that. Not belief, curiosity.
Do you want to change your life? Go to this video now. Immediately right now. Because you want to be happy enough that you don’t settle for the wrong thing.
You want to be happy enough that if you find the right thing, but that person ends up treating you badly you can walk away from it.