The past always fades

Over the weekend I was reminded how far I have come from the person I once was. It seems to me that my past, i.e. my bad memories seem to constantly fade and disappear into thin air, just like the contrails from a plane.

Two thoughts I had (which almost passed me by) seem almost insignificant now, but still resonate within me for they represent a small step in me evolving and learning. These two events and the thoughts that ensued, aroused my curiosity to self-reflect over how far I come the last few years.

If I try to think back to who I used to be, I was someone who was very insecure, felt a failure and generally saw life as a struggle. I experienced feelings of jealousy because everyone around me, or so it seemed, appeared to be generally happier than me. Drinking always seemed a good option because my life seemed considerably easier and happier after a few drinks.

Today as I write this I haven’t had a drink for a few years. I experience a greater sense of calmness in my head, I don’t argue so much with my family, although my daughter might have a different view on this. My day to day thinking is much brighter and when I do get gloomy days in my mind, I am learning to let the storm pass without my interference. I feel a strong sense of direction and purpose that I want to take my life in, which resonates from deep within me.

ripple water

I’m not going to say I’m more positive as I’m not chasing those positive thoughts anymore, I am just becoming comfortable, or sometimes uncomfortable, experiencing my own array of thoughts and emotions; doing my best to not get involved in believing what my thinking wants me to believe.

These days I try to not take myself so seriously, laugh at my mistakes, apologize when I mess up and accept the fact that I’m probably going to mess up again in the future. I am starting to have a very different relationship with myself. It’s safe to say I am a different person to who I used to be.

Why am I saying all of this?

Certainly not to shout out about how well I have done, but more to convey that the change which has happened inside of me, has come about by putting into practice what I talk about with clients.

For me being an effective coach means firstly applying the same principles that I have learnt and integrate them into my own life, then see what happens. This leads to learning and progresses into sharing. These are the same principles that I talk about in a session with a client. How can I speak about change, choice, acceptance, letting go if I haven’t experienced it myself?

Be the change you want to see in the world.

What we individually experience in life is going to be different for everyone but there is one universal law,

People or circumstances can’t control how you feel or react, you always have a choice.

 So, getting back to my inspiring thoughts. The first thought was instant, the second thought took some time for me to realise.

My wife and son were watching a movie, I had to stop watching it half way through. Afterwards I said to my wife “I didn’t like it, that movie made me feel agitated!” This was a simple statement that rolled very quickly out of my mouth, almost immediately what I said just didn’t feel right.

Then I remembered, it wasn’t the movie making me feel a certain way, although it really did look and feel convincing. No, the movie wasn’t the cause of my frustration and it had no way of making me feel agitated! It was my own thinking and interpretation of the movie that caused me to feel agitation.

I know you could say big deal, what’s the problem and I can guess that you probably already know this already, but I do think it is important. The more I am reminded of my emotions / feelings coming from me rather than you or it, or that, or them; I have a better chance to navigate myself to being calmer and seeing whatever maybe bothering me from a different perspective.

This is a big deal for me because if there is a chance of experiencing a situation from a calmer state of mind rather than being stressed out and getting caught up in all that stressful, unhelpful thinking, then I am going to have far less on my mind. When I have less on my mind, I can then think clearer and generally feel better in myself.

The second thought {and after massive amount of thinking} was about the guttering on the side of the house. I noticed it was starting to leak at a certain point. Now this might not even begin to bother anybody else but for me it started a cascade of anxious thoughts such as:

How am I going to fix that?

Its going to be really expensive!

Im a man, I should be able to handle this.

The house is starting to fall apart!

Im going to have to sort this out.

Nobody is going to be interested in fixing it.

Well have to get scaffolding for such a small issue

Its going to be so expensive!!

This anxious thinking went on for about an hour, the more I tried to put it out of my head the more the problem became bigger and bigger. Then as I looked at the steady stream of water cascading down from the guttering, it occurred to me that this leak didn’t have the power to make me have all this thinking. In fact, all the noise inside my head was coming from me, or more to the point, the thought that I’m going to have to ask for help: i.e. get someone to fix it.

Asking for help as always been difficult for me as an old belief pattern of thought still appears sometimes, and it goes something like this:

Asking for help means that you have to depend on someone and they can and will always let you down.

 This old thought pattern became rooted in my belief system when I was young. I now realize that this belief is totally not true, but for many years I believed it to be true; and it shaped my whole internal world and formed part of my identity.

After realising that my thinking had just run away with itself, and also really pleased with myself that I had become aware of an old belief pattern, which now I can change, the simplest solution appeared in a thought,

“just call someone and get it sorted”. Almost instantly the anxious noise in my head dropped away and I landed back into a calmer happier state of mind.

So, the way I see it is I have two options of reacting when something either good or bad happens:

  1. Blame the external event / person for making me feel the way I do,
  2. Or realise it’s only my interpretation of the event playing out in my mind.

Sitting here writing this, I know I have a choice about how to react, although sometimes I just can’t see it in the moment when it happens, when my mind is busy. It’s still a work in progress and I have to practice this new awareness on a daily basis.

The more moments I am reminded of this, the greater sense of feeling empowered and free I feel, this helps me to feel more grounded in my life and gives me a sense of curiosity, love, wonder and excitement about being human.

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