As a coach, my job is to point you to the future. To point you to hope and possibilities. Unfortunately, many people are stuck in the past for one reason or another. That can be because they had some emotional trauma or a limiting belief they developed as a youngin’. For example, let’s say dad left you as a kid. Or, let’s say your parents were too busy to spend time with you as a kid. Even though you’re grown, those things can still be affecting you and your current relationships. The past is not in the past. It’s in the future.
Likewise, many people keep limiting beliefs they develop from the past. From the examples above, it might be that people leave you. It might be that you’re not good enough, that’s why people don’t give you their time. It might be that you have to achieve X, Y & Z before people will like you.
From a more recent past, it might be that you can’t lose weight. You haven’t been able to until now, so you won’t in the future.
It might be that you aren’t a good mom. I mean, you’ve been overwhelmed, tired and yelling for the last five years. That’s proof enough, isn’t it?
All of these things from our past often hold us back from our future.
I imagine a whole world unburdened by their past.
Let’s dive into the exercise.
First of all, let’s identify it. What is this thing in your past that’s holding you back? What is this thing in your past that is weighing you down? Many of you will know this immediately. There might be a big hurt in your past that lingers. It’s always there, never too far away.
If you don’t know, I want you to think about a big goal you have. Maybe one you haven’t even said out loud to someone else. Think about it. In a second, I want you to close your eyes and think about it some more. Go.
What came to mind? Did any phrase come to mind when you were thinking about that goal? These phrases typically start with, “I can’t because ______.” “I’ll never be able to ____.” “I’m not _____ enough.”
So now you’ve identified your past. Let’s examine it a bit. Think about how your past is like the first photo. How is it weighing you down? How is it keeping you from moving toward what you want? How is it keeping you in one place, rather than progressing? How are you bringing it into everything you do? Every relationship?
Now that we’ve examined it a little bit, now that we’ve called it out, we’re seeing it for what it really is, it might seem a little lighter.
Now, let’s look at whatever this thing is is serving you.
Let’s say it’s the idea that you’re not good enough. Think now about how that idea serves you. Does it serve you at work? Does it help you perform better? Does it serve you as a parent? Does it make you a better parent?
Now, consider if it is even true? I mean, what is good enough? Aren’t you a decent person? Don’t you try hard? Don’t people love you for you who are? Aren’t you honest? Caring? Loving? Isn’t that enough?
If it’s someone who hurt you in the past, think carefully how holding on to that hurt is really helping you. Is it making the hurt go away? Does it change the fact that you were hurt? Is it healing the relationship? Is it hurting anything else in your life? Is it teaching that person a lesson? Is the energy you’re using to hold on to that hurt energy you’d rather invest in something you love and care about?
Let’s say it’s the idea that you’ve been overweight for so long that you’ll never lose weight. Tell me, does holding on to that belief help you lose weight? Does holding on to that belief make you feel better? Does holding on to that belief motivate you to make changes? Is that belief even true? Just because something hasn’t happened in the past, does that mean it can’t happen in the future? Just because a baby can’t walk the first time, doesn’t he keep trying? Doesn’t he eventually get the hang of it?
Now it’s time for a big decision. What would your life be like if you let go of this thing? If you examined it, picked it up and realized it wasn’t worth hanging onto? What if you your ball and chain became a balloon? What if you simply decided to let it go?
Did you know you can make that choice? I know it’s hard. We get comfortable with our problems. We find our identity in our problems. But, we are not our problems. We are not our past. We can choose to simply let it go. We don’t have to wallow in it, we don’t have to spend a long time analyzing it. We can choose to simply let it go.
What if you let go of the idea that you’re not good enough? How would that feel? Maybe you’d become a person that reconsidered the meaning of enough. Maybe you’d become a person who was okay with being enough. That was okay with her own definition of enough which meant honest, loving, caring…or whatever it means to you. Maybe you let go of the need to strive, to try so hard to prove to others and yourself that you’re enough. Maybe you just give yourself a little hug and accept that you’re enough as you watch that balloon drift off, taking that past belief away.
What if you decided to take that hurt from the past and simply let it go? What if, when you let it go, you decided it was no longer going to control you? What if you decided to let it exist in that balloon, floating out in the universe. That means sure, it happened, but it no longer affects you. It is no longer something that will weigh you down.
What if you decided to let go of the idea that you can’t lose weight? What if you just let go of that person, of that past history? What if you let go of the past identity of someone who couldn’t lose weight? Maybe now you reach out and grab a new balloon. Maybe now you reach out and grab a balloon that says you’re the kind of person who is learning to love her body, to make it strong and healthy. That balloon sounds way more fun to me!
So, go through this visualization. Name your past. Name the thing that’s weighing you down. Examine it. Examine how it serves you, whether it’s really true. Then, make the choice to let it float off, no longer weighing you down.