Making Space

Musings about authenticity and the subconscious layers protecting it.

Are you a Cycle Breaker?

authenticity healing Sep 28, 2023
person with back to camera

Are you the Cycle Breaker in your family?

You're able to see unhealthy cycles of behavior in your family and you intentionally work to break that cycle. You're the one that asks, "why?" and has the desire to change.

  • You're aware of your patterns and you seek information and help to change those patterns
  • You're doing things differently: parenting, living, relationships, working, growing, expressing
  • You feel like the different one in the family
  • You're willing to change and empower yourself by confronting fears, beliefs, emotions, and create boundaries
  • You see the world differently than your parents / caregivers

If you're a cycle breaker, you're intentionally (or unintentionally) changing multi-generational family patterns.

This is not light, easy work. 

It involves both deep introspective work and intentional behavioral change.


From the time we're born until about ~12 years old our subconscious mind is running the show while our conscious mind develops.

Meaning, we are highly suggestible and quickly adopting beliefs (just like in a hypnotic state), whether they're helpful or not, and these new beliefs are created with limited knowledge about ourselves or how the world works.

This is why we often just adopt our parents beliefs and why later in life we think we sound like them.

But not you.

You believe you can choose. 


Cycle breakers often have a deep desire to live authentically…

and often have a deep fear of being ostracized. Living authentically does not go hand-in-hand with a fear of being seen as different. 

I used to think of authenticity as all-or-nothing. Meaning: I had to be authentic 100% of the time to qualify for the term.

I’ve expanded this vision the more I’ve learned about why we protect ourselves.

Many of us learn to protect our truth at a very young age. We learn from the world who we need to be in order to fit in, be acceptable, and maintain attachment for survival.

Our subconscious provides tools for us to meet those external needs:

  • People pleasing
  • Being overly self-critical
  • Rigidity
  • Perfectionism

 At the time, it’s adaptive. We need tools to survive (when I say survival, it’s not always in the literal sense, although it can be); at that young age survival means fitting in with your group. Our brains are still wired that if we’re not fitting in with the group that equals death.

So, we adapt. And it’s effective.

Then we grow up, we gain knowledge about the world, we gain resources, tools, and become self-sufficient. We’re no longer relying on the adults around us.

This is often when those tools become maladaptive … sometimes around our 30’s and beyond.

We start to wonder why we

  • Self-sabotage
  • Can’t create healthy boundaries
  • Can’t quit habits that don’t serve us
  • Feel exhausted (tired, yet wired)
  • Have irrational fears and anxieties
  • Have insomnia
  • Lack gratitude and joy

We may swing from stress to apathy and back and forth, but experience little excitement or fun in our lives.


How do we unlearn these patterns?

Something to acknowledge is that these patterns can be unlearned. We can learn to look at authenticity as a dial we control. We can turn it up when we feel safe, and we can turn it down if just need to survive.

Having an awareness of when and why is what changes the relationship from being externally controlled, to stepping into your power.

By developing and deepening our relationship with ourselves, our emotions, our sensations, our triggers, and our stories, we may be able to come into more acceptance with ourselves. Accept all the parts of us, even the ones we're ashamed of. 

With practice we can recognize what relationships we want to deepen and who deserves and has earned our authenticity. There may be other times when you just need to smile and nod and carry on with other relationships.

It's our choice what relationships we want to deepen and how much we let them see. For example, I want my family and close friends to really know my authentic self, which sometimes means setting uncomfortable boundaries. But there are some relationships, acquaintances, that it makes sense to don a mask. Intention and awareness is important here.


If you're the cycle breaker, know that you're part of a bigger family made up of other cycle breakers.

You're not alone and you're doing important work. Keep going, keep asking why. With awareness comes choice, and with choice comes change. When you change, you're potentially changing those around you, too. It's got a ripple effect and that one drop can make a change on another shoreline.


Listen to the Podcast

Making Space with Jen Pillipow

Themes: authenticity, goals, entrepreneurship, spirituality, self-awareness, empowerment, personal development and growth.


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