The Stories We Tell
When we talk about our “story” or refer to the way we view things in our lives, what we are really talking about is the value system, or our personal beliefs attributed to and around something, due to our past exposure to similar situations. These are our “patterns of belief”. Some patterns serve us well in the moment, some patterns serve us well in similar situations, some patterns replay due to the roles we take in them, and some patterns are simply old programming, that truly does not serve us any longer.
Recognizing, acknowledging, and changing these patterns are key to creating what works best for us in our lives at any given moment.
Unless we do not see where our actions are leading, often we find that we’re repeating what we think we know, due to our past, but not until we’ve already repeated it, yet again!
How do we recognize something that is part of our daily habits? This is as easy as riding a bike after many years of not. We might be a little wobbly, at first, but we used to be proficient, so sticking with it we’ll find, in a short amount of time, the steady confidence of what it’s like to ride comes back to us and riding once again becomes a joy and ease.
So, start slowly, don’t hold yourself hostage to your past. You did the best you could, and that got you here, now!
When you start to question your reactions, actions, and decisions, you might find that some of the things you do are based on the past. Observing what’s going on inside of your head might surprise you. What are you really thinking and feeling? Is the situation at hand “similar” to one in your past? Or does the situation make you feel similar to one in the past?
These situations often are referred to as “triggers”. Meaning, something happens, and old traumas, fears, or emotional reactions come flooding back. We tend to react in a protective, fear-based way that ensures we are safe, or the situation is not going to happen again to us.
Triggers are VERY important! So don’t think for a moment that they are “bad” or “negative” because that couldn’t be further from the truth. Triggers help us identify how we feel, patterns that may be running in the background, what works for us and what doesn’t, giving us the perfect opportunity to evaluate them in any present situation.
Fortunate or not, we have a tendency follow patterns. We like patterns. We like consistency. They make us comfortable. Patterns create routine in our lives. Patterns play out at every level of our society. Making popular trends and societal norms. However, following along just because it’s what’s happening at the time is not always in our best or highest good.
Which brings us to recognizing what patterns we playout in our own lives.
Let’s start by just being curious. Curiosity takes the emotional attachment out of the equation and allows us to step back and view, as if a bystander. Imagine you are looking into a crystal ball or magic mirror, and you see into someone else’s life or like watching a program on TV. We can see other people’s patterns easily. Think about it. How many times have you been watching something, and you know what’s coming? You just KNOW….so you start talking to them (maybe even yelling) telling them to make a different choice! We’ve all done this…right?
So, let’s observe the past “movie” with curiosity and wonder! What are you doing? With whom? How did it feel at the time? What happened when you made the decision you made? Was it what you wanted? If you had done anything differently, do you think a different outcome might have been possible?
Play with making other decisions in old scenarios. This is actually fun! Imagine a totally different outcome. Imagine the other person or people reacting differently. What would that have looked like? How would that have felt?
As the saying goes “Once you see, you can’t unsee”. You might be surprised at how much more you begin to notice, and then you might start to notice other possible outcomes, simply by observing your own behavior and actions. The options here are endless.
Forgive yourself for what you didn’t know in the past. Recognize that what you did in the past was necessary in order to be here now. You learned to protect yourself very well and thank goodness for that! But the voices in your head may not be your own. No, you’re not crazy! We all have voices in our heads. Really!
As we grow and learn more about ourselves, we might recognize that some of those voices belong to people in our past. People that had influence over us at the time. But now you are your own decision maker, now they may not have the same influence.
The sayings we hear over and over, the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” influenced us in the past. By observing them in the present, we may find that they are still speaking loudly. Maybe it’s your mom’s voice saying, you never remember anything, or Uncle Ralph’s saying, you can’t trust anyone, or your teacher from Primary School saying, you talk too much. They still hold weight and power if they still whisper in your ear. We know now that, we have the power to change it! Those were other people’s limitations and fears. Are they really yours?
Start, if you will, to imagine the outcome you want from any given situation. Lean into the future. What if you decided to make a different choice for yourself? What might that outcome be? If you were told you weren’t smart, think back to all the times you proved that wrong! I know you have many times you can do that with. We all do!
Until the other people’s voices in our heads (past programming) are overridden, we continue to forget the times we were stronger and “knew” and replay the learned programs. For example. remember, when you knew it wasn’t going to be cold to you outside, but you were told it was cold and you had to wear a jacket anyhow? Your own intuition was overridden by the authority in your life at the time. They were just looking out for you and had your best interest at heart however, you were programed that someone else knows what’s best for you and your life. But the truth is …. you do know best, after all it is your experience … and you CAN trust your intuition. Intuition is not other people’s limited belief systems.
We all have the power to change! We all have the ability to recognize the warning signs of impending negativity. We all have the ability to play whatever role we choose, even when we can’t see it and we all are doing the best we can at any given moment.
So, start by being curious, be gentle with yourself, allow yourself to be imperfect. It’s ok to make mistakes. Wouldn’t you rather try and fail than attempt to do nothing and succeed?
Here’s to your new adventure!