Letting our past get in the way of our future is something we’re pretty good at doing, even though we might not realise it.
Our past has this great way of keeping us stuck, limited and miserable.
It’s all too easy to let our past sabbotage our present – and our future.
Now, I’m sure that’s not a pattern you’d want to be running… But just in case, here’s how I used to do it!
Here are 3 great traps we can all fall into…
Trap 1: I can’t do it!
This is a great belief that our past creates for us. Usually we use evidence of past failed attempts to support this one. So, if something goes wrong, we pick up the conviction that we can’t and won’t ever be able to get a different result.
Whether you think you, or you think you can’t, you’re right. ~ Henry Ford
The problem with this trap is that it’s based on the assumption that things never change – we don’t change, our environment doesn’t change, the circumstances never change. But that’s simply not true.
What’s the alternative?
Question it! Ask yourself: “What could I do instead / do differently to get the result I want?” Is it really true that you can’t do it? Or are you just scared? Are there some skills you might benefit from developing? Would a coach or mentor help you break through your blocks? As my slightly potty but strangely wise great aunt used to say, “There’s no such thing as can’t.”
Trap 2: I can’t help it!
This one is often followed by the lament of “That’s who / how I am!”…
It’s a great way of staying stuck in a situation that you don’t really want.
It’s about playing the victim – you’re not in control. You can’t influence. You don’t have any say in the matter. You’re certainly not responsible for any of it…
What’s the alternative?
Do you really want things to stay the way they are? Or is it possible you could find even just a tiny aspect of the situation that you could change? There’s got to be something you can influence – even if it’s just your response? No one’s saying it’s easy, but it’s got to be better than staying stuck where you don’t want to be, hasn’t it?
Trap 3: But I have to / should / ought to…
This is usually from childhood conditioning. My four-year-old often says to me “But I want to do what I want to do!” When we’re young, we know what that is and we do our best to do it!
But as we “grow up”, we learn what is expected of us and place more importance on that than on our own desires, to some extent sacrificing our own free will.
This builds up resentment and guilt, which is a great way of limiting our potential. We can easily end up feeling miserable and even bitter.
What’s The Alternative?
It’s the difference between feeling obligated and feeling free.
The secret is that we might not be able to choose what has to be done, but we can always choose how we feel about it.
Here’s a quick fix:
- Ask yourself: is it really a thing you need to do?
- If no, then consider not doing it!
- If yes, then choose to do it.
Change your mantra.
Instead of “I have to…” “I must…” “I ought to…” “I should…”
Play with “I want to…” “I choose to…” “I would like to…”
And notice how much better you feel.
Are you ready to let go of the past and get on with living in the here and now?