Breaking the patterns that we have takes courage to first admit to ourselves we have them and then second to take the actions we need to change.
The fact is we are made up of our stories that become our reality. These stories affect everything we do, say and how we treat people – at home and at work. But, are they the truth? What is our responsibility to break free from the stories and create new patterns for future generations and those around us? How do we do it? These patterns are created many times as a “hand-me-down” effect of the prior generation. Sometimes these can be good behaviors. However, many times, the pain comes through stronger than the good deeds of generations past, and in turn becomes part of the next generation’s DNA. How does that affect the people we love, our friends and co-workers?
Many years ago, I woke up one morning and knew something was wrong. At the time, I didn’t know what it was. My whole life, I had always made sure that I had been very much in control, I felt, of my life. I always knew I was going to be an accountant from the time I was a child. I worked many jobs to get through school and couldn’t wait to move on from other people being in control and finally get to the future I worked so hard for. No matter what tough experiences were thrown my way, I was not going to let it get in my way. I stayed really focused and that is how I survived it.
I pushed through my early adulthood with a focus on accomplishing what the vision I set for myself when I was young. But, for some reason, I knew I was not accomplishing what I had hoped. I was not letting go of my fear to repeat history of the generations before me. Fear was getting in my way and I didn’t even realize it.
Based on my life experiences, I have a strong belief that each of us has a responsibility to not blame our past for our current situations. There is a time, a short time, where we can feel sorry for ourselves. But, the harder part is starting to move the barge around in your life, which takes a lot of courage. How can you shift the wind so you don’t bring your past to other people in your lives – whether it is your family, friends or people you work with. These stories we live with start to become just that, stories. Not reality. The reality is today, this moment, and how we affect those around us. We don’t get a pass for treating people unfairly because we were.
When I started going through the process of re-living all my stories so I could be objective and understand them differently than the “truth” in my head, I read a book that was extremely helpful called Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. There is a quote in there that has always stuck with me since, “…95% of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe those lies…. We have learned to live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other people’s points of view...”
If you find your stories are not working for you, finding the strength to break the pattern is never easy. If you catch yourself blaming others for your actions, try to take note of it and not let your pain or frustration seep into another generation or your work life. It’s really hard work. It was very intense for me in the beginning, but soon the pane of glass came down and I could feel my life as my own, not a product of the past. The best achievement I can attain now is the happiness and freedom from generations past and my children not having it passed down to them.
This doesn’t mean the work ever stops, its just not as hard as the initial stages. But it is possible. Look at the way you affect people at work or home and check in with yourself it feels right. If something doesn't, assess it and see if it's a pattern you recognize. Find ways to heal and change the course of your reality. Yoga was key in helping me connect all of this together. Every person can find what speaks to them – could be running, could be meditation, could be a therapist, could be people you trust, and on and on. Its up to you to find that strength to break free, so the people around you can as well. Having that kind of strength takes everything in you, but the payoff benefits everyone around you and your legacy on future generations.
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