This is part of an Illuminate series in which we’ll be exploring the learnable EQ competencies of the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Model. This is about Recognizing Patterns.


Fill in the blank: When I feel angry, I _______. That’s your particularly tendency, your pattern, when it comes to feeling anger. And increasing your awareness of those habits is a skill we call Recognizing Patterns, and it’s the second of eight competency in Six Seconds’ Emotional Intelligence Model.

Our brains love patterns. We enact them all the time. But are you being intentional about it… is it really what you want to do? Let’s explore.


Illuminate: Unravel The Deeper Layers of Your Patterns

Getting to know my emotional and behavioral patterns feels a bit like unraveling an onion. As soon as I recognize one of my patterns, another one is waiting behind it!

In thinking about this metaphor, I decided to draw out the many layers of one particular pattern (which I’ll explain below):

Here’s my example: One of my patterns is that when I think someone is angry with me, I feel ashamed + submissively shut down. I get quiet, and I agree with whatever it is they want to do. That’s the center of my pattern-as-an-onion. Then, because I feel ashamed and shut down when I feel someone is angry with me, I avoid provoking any kind of conflict. 

Then, because I avoid conflict, I don’t voice my opinion in a conversation if I feel it could lead to conflict.

Then, because I don’t voice my opinion, I’ve stopped checking in with myself about what my opinion actually is.

Then, because I don’t check in with myself about my opinion, my opinions, needs, and desires feel ignored.

Wow– that’s a lot of insight from recognizing one initial pattern!

Your turn– you’re going to create your own Pattern Onion. Get a pen and paper!

​​​​​​Time to create your own Pattern Onion.

1. Draw the inner circle of your onion on your paper. Start by asking yourself this question: What is one pattern I know to be true about myself? Write or draw this pattern in your circle.

2. Now, draw your next layer out of your onion. Ask yourself: Because…[first pattern], what do I do in response? Write the answer in the second layer of your Pattern Onion.

3. You guessed it! Draw your third layer, and ask yourself: Because… [second pattern], what do I do in response?

4. Keep going, adding more and more layers of patterns, until you feel satisfied with your onion.


What is one insight you’ve gained from your Pattern Onion?

Going forward, what is a step you’d like to take with this new insight?

PS- are you interested in exploring your patterns further with some 1-1 guidance? I am doing my Coaching Certification through Six Seconds, and my cohort and I are offering super-discounted coaching sessions to get all of our practice hours needed for certifications. Find more here!

Illuminate is a weekly e-mail series that provides practical tips + galvanizing inspirations for practicing an emotionally intelligent life. In our time together, we’ll operate from the assumption that you have all the wisdom you need inside of yourself + that you have a purpose the world needs to see. We will explore the tools + techniques to illuminate your own inner wisdom and purpose. If you’d like to receive this free gift of goodness in your inbox every week, subscribe here.

Maria Jackson
Latest posts by Maria Jackson (see all)

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This