How much of what we think or experience is based on a projection of our past? How often do we think to ourselves things like; this relationship won’t work out because men can’t be trusted, based on the experience of a previous heartbreak? Or corporate jobs aren’t for me, based on an unpleasant exchange with a colleague or superior? Or my child is a troublemaker or a tyrant based on a previous situation where they weren’t quite well behaved? When perhaps they just behaved in a way appropriate to their actual age)? Or walked into a conversation fully armoured and ready to fight? Because someone had been rude or said something inappropriate in the past?Often our experiences of the past become the lens through which we view the present and end up becoming their own self-fulfilling prophecies. Click To Tweet
Lesson 8 of A Course In Miracles says:
“I see only the past.”
Let’s take a minute to think about what that actually means. How much of our day-to-day experience is coloured by past experience and knowledge. Take the mug of coffee on your desk. How do you know that the contents are hot and to be sipped slowly if not by a past experience of scalding your tongue on a cup of freshly brewed joe? How do you know what the material of the cup will feel like against your lips? How do you know that the mug will shatter if dropped? How do you know to keep far from your computer on your desk if not from a previous experience where you knocked and it spilled? Or perhaps you observed someone else spill theirs?
These past experiences can be ones where we played an active role or were merely an observer. Both are equally potent in defining how we see the present.
Our experiences are constantly colouring and shaping our expression of the present moment. This extends beyond the material objects in our day-to-day lives and into our relationships.
We enter into relationships, conversations, and situations with expectations and a “knowing” (even though that knowing is fictitious) of how it will play out and who people are. This expectation leaves very little room for growth or change. When we walk into a conversation thinking, “oh, I know how you are” and expect the worse or very little of people, then that prophecy becomes self-fulfilling and our current reality. Leaving no room or desire for change.
But, when we walk into a conversation or situation, expecting the best of people and expecting them to be fabulous, even if they weren’t fabulous yesterday, that shift in energy can be felt. When we show up for people with the expectation and belief that they will be fabulous, we create space for change. But more importantly, we give them room to truly shine.
Think about yourself, would you rather show up for someone who expects very little of you and assumes you’re mediocre at best? Or would you rather show up for someone who thinks you’re amazing regardless of whether or not you were having a shitty day yesterday?
The Ego and cynic in us will tell us to hold back for fear of being disappointed. The bigger disappointment is expecting so little of people and life and having that prophecy fulfill itself and become our present and future. Unfortunately, we often don’t realize the trap we’ve fallen into until it’s too late and the situation, job, or relationship has run its course. We realize we never truly showed up with an expectation of something great. Instead, we walked in assuming this would be exactly like the past, and in the end, it was because we didn’t leave room for anything else.We rely so heavily on our past for knowledge that we walk into the present and gaze at the future expecting too little. Click To Tweet
Take a moment to close your eyes, repeating this mantra to yourself, “I see only the past.”
Now ask yourself:
- What conversations am I walking into armoured because of a past experience?
- What assumptions do I have about people based on a past encounter or exchange? Perhaps it’s a specific person…
- What areas of my life have been a repeat of my past experiences?
The past can provide important knowledge in erecting boundaries, but that knowledge isn’t an absolute predictor of the present moment and future. Both remain malleable.
Just because yesterday was crappy doesn’t mean today can’t be amazing. If you expect it to be amazing it most likely will be as you’ll look upon your experiences with a different set of lenses.
“I See Only The Past” first appeared as a newsletter to email subscribers. Subscribe to my newsletter below to never miss a post.