Obstacles to Your Growth, Part 6: Living in the Past, Dying in the Present
Two days ago, as I write this, we here in the northern hemisphere experienced the winter solstice. December 21, the shortest day and longest night.
This is an appropriate time to wrap up this series that began, strangely enough, at the fall equinox.
Post-equinox, when the nights literally overshadowed the days, it was appropriate to focus on the darker sides of personal growth. What are the things that hold us back? What gets in our way? Why do we make it so damned hard on ourselves to get ahead?
There are things to be learned in these places. We learn in the dark, we get stronger as we achieve, we become wiser when we embrace the lessons of the shadow.
In closing this series and preparing to look ahead to the light in 2019, I ask you “What aspects of you need to be buried and left in 2018 so that you may grow in the new year?”
How have you been living in the past?
Of course our past experiences have value. Ideally, we learn from them and make new choices as we continue living and growing.
But you may become stuck living in the past in one of two ways: 1) “Should-ing” on yourself or 2) holding on to fear
The first aspect of living in the past involves us looking at the current state our lives and then, from our present perspective, saying something like, “I should have done X, Y or Z when I was 20,” or “I really wish I would have known then what I do now. That would have made all of the difference.”
Stop Should-ing on yourself.
In that moment in the past, you did not have the information that you do now in the present. You cannot expect your younger self to have made a different choice if they did not have additional insight.
Get over it.
You did the best you could with what you had.
Instead of using your current insights to blame your younger-self, because you can’t change the past (even if you do try living there), let’s bring the experiences of you younger-self to the present.
What would you do differently now? What did you learn then that helps you chart a new course forward?
Which brings us to the second aspect of dying in the present: living in fear.
“I tried changing my life before and it didn’t work,” “I can’t do that…,” “The last time I stood up for myself, I lost my (job/relationship/etc).”
These statements are all forms of limiting beliefs that are rooted in the past, yet are flowering in the present. Unfortunately, when limiting beliefs bloom, you die a little death.
The network of neural vines created by these false, belittling beliefs is much like an ivy. On the surface, pretty and familiar, maybe even calming in its familiarity, yet as it grows and expands, this seemingly innocent plant has the power to tear down a brick wall.
Thankfully, we can create new neural networks based on beliefs of self-worth and personal value.
These new networks support our growth into our ideal, higher selves. They help us to live our purpose. They guide us to giving ourselves permission to do new things, overcome fear, and experience true fulfillment.
Most of all, they help us to see that there are no failures, only opportunities to learn. This is known as “failing forward.”
These networks help us to stay in an empowered mindset.
It’s time for you to choose.
Who are you going to be?
Are you going to continue to be the person tethered to the past, stuck in an old way of dis-believing in yourself; living in the past and dying in the present?
Or, are you going to choose to release your old self with love, metaphorically killing the you that you know so that you may become the you whom you wish to be?
Both personas cannot exist in the same space.
Choose the darkness of limitation or choose the light of expansion.
The decision is yours.
If you choose the latter, ask yourself:
“Am I pleased with who I am/who I have been?”
“What aspects of me have not served my growth in the past?”
“To be who I want to be, what ideas/behaviors must I leave behind?”
Build your life forward more effortlessly and efficiently by leaving this baggage in 2018 (or at any moment when you may be reading this article). We tend to think of life-changing activities being centered around New Year’s Day, but you can change your life at any moment of any day.
Resolve to be your best you in 2019.
Anything else is so 2018.