Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Bringing the Best into Your Life


What do we attract into our lives and why? Are the people, and situations we attract positive or negative, healthy or unhealthy, respectful or abusive, humble or egotistical, selfless or self-centered? When was the last time you asked yourself, “Who are my circle of friends? Are they winners or whiners, kind or critical, giving or taking, tomorrow or yesterday thinking, thoughtful or thoughtless?” Do we project to others our own vulnerabilities, and subsequently attract those who we perceive can fix those vulnerabilities? When in fact those who we perceive can fix them actually possess similar or even more destructive vulnerabilities themselves. Do we allow and enable a repetitive pattern of relationships and friendships that consistently result in the same disappointments? What kind of outlet do we gravitate towards to relinquish not having to be responsible for repairing ourselves? Is that outlet one that invigorates us, or one that stagnates us? Does that outlet assist in breaking the pattern, or reinforcing the same old pattern?

Through the course of my life’s journey I have found reflecting and acting on these questions during periods of personal doubt to be extremely important and helpful. We all get caught up in the routine of life, but how often are we examining how healthy that routine may be? Am I hanging out with successful or oppressive people? We all know what the answers to the above questions should be, but what are your answers? I am asked frequently, “How do I break the patterns of behavior that reveal my weaknesses, vulnerabilities and lack of self-respect?”

The answer is, stop repeating the pattern. Granted, easier said then done, but the first step is to acknowledge a destructive pattern exists, and to recognize the characteristics that initiate the pattern to be repeated. This can be revealed by the status of your physical and emotional wellbeing. If a destructive pattern does exist, are you searching for a quick fix or working toward a durable repair to cope with those harmful behaviors? In regard to relationships, it is easier to attach to a person we believe possesses characteristics of what we are not, because it directs us away from having to take responsibility for our own insecurities. We also perceive it to be less stressful to repeat a relationship pattern of what we are used to, rather than constructing a new pattern based on the personal core values we truly believe in. In reality, this person likely increases stress and creates more anxiety because it provides erroneous justification to procrastinate in working on our own internal dysfunctions.

Emotionally we give ourselves permission to forego dealing with our own issues by putting priority on their issues. We also use their behaviors as an opportunity to validate our own value by enabling them, even if the behaviors are destructive in nature. We become falsely dependent on them to fix us, or enable their behavior to create a false sense of self-value. These behaviors tend to be ones we know, have experienced, or what we grew up with. Congratulations, and welcome to being codependent. Codependents Anonymous defines codependence as, “a tendency to behave in ways that negatively impact one’s relationships and quality of life. This behavior may be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, compliance, and/or control patterns.” Ouch! We are all codependent to varying degrees, and although these patterns can be deep rooted, who we bring into our lives will either fuel the destructive symptoms or help dissipate them.

We should all make an effort to hang out with emotionally healthy and optimistic people. Attract those in your life who are a positive force, not a debilitating one. Find those who you have common interests with and participate in events that reinforce the things and values you love. Reflect on the things and experiences that have brought the most happiness to you. The times were your joy and happiness were invalidated by others is not an excuse to live in misery, but an opportunity to reignite the passion for what inspires you to live. You teach best in life what you want to learn the most. Celebrate the joys you cherish and attract those who mutually share those similar joys.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

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