How often does what’s happened in the past limit you?
Whether it’s starting a new relationship, ending one which isn’t working, changing your job or improving your health what limiting beliefs get in the way?
Do you tell yourself ‘I can’t do it’, ‘men, women, people in general can’t be trusted’, ‘I’ll never be able to manage on my own’, ‘all the good jobs are taken’, ‘I can’t keep my weight off’
Would you ever talk to a best friend like that? Telling them they’re useless, their ideas will never work, they might as well give up? No, I don’t think so, so why do you do this to yourself?
Back in the day when I was considering becoming a coach and NLP Practitioner I will admit I had a lot of self doubt.
My inner Gremlin which was rather like the meanest, nastiest bully. It would tell me things such as:
- You’re not good enough
- You’ll never understand it
- There are so many others out there doing this, why would they want little ole me!
I also had so called friends telling me:
- There’s no money it it
- It’s too competitive and cut throat
- Everyone is giving up their day job and becoming a coach
- Why would you want to give up your day job
In hindsight i know my friends were advising me as if they were in the situation, these were their fears, I didn’t need to make them mine. I realised my own self doubts came from the past when I found it hard to understand letters and numbers and when I though everyone else was better than me.
The truth is I realised I could stay the same doing a 9-5 and not really using the gifts I naturally have or I could fly by the seat of my pants and create for myself a different future.
In the end that small voice inside got a little louder and said ‘You can do this!’ and well, that was ten years ago now. Since that time i’ve achieved so much and helped others achieve their dreams too.
Having been someone who let the past get in the way once too often I’ve developed a process helping you to move on from the past. It’s shared in my first book Find YOU, Find LOVE though I wanted to share some snippets with you here:
Using The Spotlight Process on the stories in your mind
From this moment on, when you get caught up in a story in your mind, please take a moment and reflect:
- What part of your story is a replay of what happened in the past?
- How often do you tell this story?
- When you tell this story, how do you feel?
- Is your story one that you are creating about the future with a negative expectation based on the past?
- How is thinking in this way limiting you?
- What are the consequences of thinking this way?
- What do you want instead?
When your story is a replay from the past or is a negative projection into the future your body responds as if you are actually experiencing fear simply because you are thinking about it. The memory isn’t real though your mind and body may think it is real and project fear of attack into situations that are really quite safe. Our unconscious mind will do everything it can to keep us safe even if there is no actual risk. It’s a self protection mechanism.
Practical Exercise using The Spotlight Process (15 minutes)
Periodically throughout the day and at the end of each day, use The Spotlight Process to take stock of where you have spent most of your thought time (past, present or future) and answer the following questions which complement the process beautifully.
- What have I been focusing on?
- Where have my thoughts been (past, present future?)
- How have I been talking to myself for the last hour or two?
- Have I been talking to myself in a kindly way or a critical way?
- What images, stories, thoughts or feelings have experienced today that have caused me distress?
- Which emotions and feelings have I experienced the most today?
- Have I been thinking about the future negatively or positively?
- What advice can I give myself so that tomorrow is a better day?
- What choices can I make that will take me closer to my goals?
When you use the past to work for you rather than against you, instead of responding from the part of you (the child within) conditioned by your parents or caregivers you are able to reply from the adult you.
Responding from your adult self will support you to grow, to take action and to achieve great things you desire. Responding from the adult you, encourages you to take risks, to blossom, to treat yourself with love and kindness, to be the best that you can be.
If your light is always in the past, you cannot see the future