Happy Friday everyone. I haven’t posted in awhile, but I’ve been sober since last Sunday. I wanted to share this gem with you because it brought me to tears today. It’s not my work but was published by the folks at: http://www.marcandangel.com
Hope it speaks to you as well…❤️
Even after you let go, the past is still part of who you are. Every one of us lives in the present and makes choices based on some part of the past. This fact is simply unavoidable. You are only able to read these words right now because of your past. Your brain relates past experiences (or learned knowledge) to these words.
All forms of learning rely on your ability to continually reference the past. If you think about it, many wise decisions you have made leading to this very moment were created through recalling what did or did not work in the past. You are only able to do what you can now because of what you learned. For instance, you only recognize a friend when she walks into the room because you reference a past connection with her. In this way, you are using the past effectively.
But when you start behaving ineffectively because you think, “this is the way it has always been,” problems arise. Old traditions may be useful, or they may stifle your progress and growth. It all depends on how relevant they are to the present. It’s your job to make this determination.
We talk about letting go of the past and moving on, but what do we really need to leave behind? Since the past helps us at least as much as it hurts us, how do we know which pieces to discard?
Here are two things we know that have helped thousands of our coaching/course students:
1. You are subconsciously matching patterns from the past with the present.
When an experience in your life has emotional significance, it gets tagged in your brain as being important. When the emotional experience is tragic, it triggers your brain’s fear mechanism, which tells your brain to remain on the lookout for any future conditions that vaguely remind you of this tragic experience (it does this to protect you from future harm). Your brain then tries to match new experiences with the original one. But depending on how emotionally attached you are to the original experience, it can lead to ‘false pattern matches’ which will inevitably lead you astray.
1. A muscular man assaulted you, so now you find it hard to trust all muscular men.
2. An old boss verbally harassed you, so now you have trouble respecting a totally new boss or different authoritative figure.
Again, these false pattern matches occur whenever you respond negatively and over-emotionally to a particular experience. And it all happens subconsciously too. Logically, you know that all muscular men are completely different human beings, but emotionally you respond as if they are one.
If you feel that you are stuck because you can’t move beyond a past experience, then your brain is relating to it as if it’s still happening right now, which means it’s matching patterns improperly in the present. Knowing this is honestly half the battle. The second half of the battle requires you to take an intricate look at your present circumstances and then pinpoint all the specifc ways your present differs from your past (Marc and I have guided thousands of coaching/course students through this process over the years).
2. Your subconscious mind forgets that your capabilities have grown.
Even though you intellectually know you’re stronger than you were in the past, your subconscious mind often forgets that your capabilities have grown.
Let me give you a quick metaphorical example…
Zookeepers typically strap a thin metal chain to a grown elephant’s leg, and then attach the other end to a small wooden peg that’s hammered into the ground. The 10-foot tall, 10,000-pound elephant could easily snap the chain and uproot the wooden peg, and escape to freedom with minimal effort. But it doesn’t. In fact the elephant never even tries. The world’s most powerful land animal, which can uproot a tree as easily as you could break a toothpick, remains defeated by a small wooden peg and a flimsy chain.
Because when the elephant was a baby, its trainers used the exact same methods to domesticate it. A thin chain was strapped around its leg and the other end of the chain was tied to a wooden peg in the ground. At the time, the chain and peg were strong enough to restrain the baby elephant. When it tried to break away, the metal chain would pull it back. Sometimes, tempted by the world it could see in the distance, the elephant would pull harder. But the chain would not budge, and soon the baby elephant realized trying to escape was not possible. So it stopped trying.
And now that the elephant is all grown up, it sees the chain and the peg and it remembers what it learned as a baby – the chain and peg are impossible to escape. Of course, this is no longer true, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that the 200-pound baby is now a 10,000-pound powerhouse. The elephant’s self-limiting beliefs prevail.
If you think about it, we are all like elephants. We all have incredible power inside us. And of course, we have our own chains and pegs – the self-limiting beliefs that hold us back. Sometimes it’s a childhood experience or an early failure. Sometimes it’s something we were told when we were younger. We need to learn from the past, but be ready to update what we learned based on how our circumstances have changed (as they constantly do).