Winnis Chiang Newsletter
  Personal Note From Winnis
  Feature Article - How to Interrupt Negative Patterns
  Chinese Article - Transition Into College
July 22, 2014
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Are you frustrated that you are stuck in some negative patterns in certain area(s) of your life?

If so, I hope the feature article, How to Interrupt Negative Patterns, will help you to reflect and may be try something different for your own sake.

As Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I am so grateful that more than 25 years ago I paused and re-examined the craziness of fighting with the person I loved. By the Grace of God, both of us changed. This July, James and I are celebrating our 39th Wedding Anniversary! Here is a little story about how we now live and work together.

After dinner on Wednesday, July 2nd, I was ready to get a few things done before the long weekend. At 7:30 p.m., our neighbor knocked on our door, "Your lawn is rising up!" James hurried out to investigate. Our water pipe was leaking so bad that he had to shut off the water main from the street. While he sought possible repairs, I rushed off to buy a few gallons of drinking water.

It was a long weekend. In spite of James diligently researching solutions, getting estimates, and arranging to have both a temporary and a long term fix, we were still out of running water for almost two days. We couldn't take showers, but we were still able to lead Bible Studies.

Who could have imagined how far we came from the days of conflicts over how to raise our only son? I thought it was all his faults because I could get along very well with everyone else (or so I thought). We are still interrupting our negative patterns whenever they show up, and so can you!

Love, Joy and Peace to You!
Featured Article
How to Interrupt Negative Patterns

When unfavorable situations, actions and emotional conflicts happen again and again in your life—same scene, different characters—there's a good chance you are in the presence of a negative "pattern."

Some examples: picking the wrong lovers/partners, constant conflict with co-workers, chronic indebtedness, people-pleasing, getting along well with everyone except that one person!

At best, these negative patterns cause frustration. At worst, they cause undue suffering, uphill struggle, sometimes even death.

The good news is: you have the power to change these negative patterns. Below are some ways to begin to disrupt them so that you can start laying down new, more positive patterns.

Become aware.
No matter how entrenched a pattern seems, the act of noticing begins the shift away from damaging thoughts or behaviors. Put simply, you can't change what you're not aware of.

One way to become aware is to just sit with your thoughts and watch for the patterns. The goal here is to notice, that's all.

In this step, focus your awareness on just the facts and feelings of the patterns. Don't let your mind wander into the analysis of "why" you have them right now, for it will likely try to justify and defend the pattern. You can analyze later (see below); for now, just notice.

Also, ask people you trust to help you see the patterns. Our blind spots are called "blind" for a reason; we just don't see them. But they'll be clear as day to others.

Discover the hidden payoff.
Becoming aware of your negative patterns, you see evidence they are disserving, perhaps even damaging, you. For example, your pattern of conflict with co-workers has gotten you fired several times, and now your resume reflects that pattern, too.

The key to interrupting negative patterns is to understand this: we generally don't keep repeating behaviors unless, on some level, we get something good out of them.

These hidden reasons are known as "payoffs," and they either help you get more of something you want or avoid something you don't want.

In the example above, the person in constant conflict with co-workers could be using the conflict to cover up deep insecurity with his/her work quality. The conflict, in effect, distracts from scrutiny.

Or the conflict could stem from uncensored outspokenness. The person may have an oppressive situation at home, and being excessively frank at work may allow him/her to feel powerful and self-expressed in at least one arena of life.

Look for (and create) positive patterns.
One of the best ways to disrupt the negative patterns that may be wreaking havoc with your life is to also study the positive patterns in your life. For these can be "grafted" onto your negative patterns with great success.

For example, you can utilize the discipline you've always had around working out regularly to stop using credit to finance your lifestyle.

Most important of all, practice the Spiritual discipline of reading God's word to learn God's will for your life. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)

Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

Real Life Story
Transition Into College

Evangel Literature, Inc. has published my article, Transition Into College, in their July-August 2014 edition. I was writing about my emotional ups and downs sending our son to college in September just a few days after the 911 Terrorist Attack in New York. You can read it here.
Winnis Chiang Winnis Chiang is Founder of Parenting ABC, an organization dedicated to training and coaching Chinese Christian parents from around the world to make a difference in the lives of children, youth, and young adults. Her passion is fueled by the new life she received when she found Christ in 1989 after her marriage and parenting were no longer working. She specializes in helping Mandarin and Cantonese speaking parents to get along with, enjoy, and influence their American Born Chinese children.

Winnis is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in California. She holds a M.A. degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from Western Seminary and a B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley. Her former careers include being a software engineer, development department manager, stay-at-home mom, counselor of kids and teens at public schools, and children's minister.

Winnis and her husband (now a pastor) have been married since 1975 after only three months of dating. They enjoy their son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren!

Winnis Chiang, M.A., LMFT


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