Changing the future to be different than the past

6 Mar

“I’m not listening to the people who say I can’t because of my past failures.” 

I overheard someone say that recently and while it was not appropriate for me to comment directly, I had some things to say about it. 

First of all. Right on sister! Go for it!

And at the same time, most of us have heard a version of this quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” by George Santayana. We’ve heard it because it has many elements of truth. 

If, you think that continuing on the same path you have been on and acting in the same ways is going to get you somewhere different than where you have already been, you are sadly mistaken. 

I have been in the position, and dear reader, you may have too, where you see a loved one jaunting down the same road you’ve seen them head down before. The road that ends in all sorts of heartache and chaos. Do you warn them? How can you? It’s different this time they say. You are being silly and unsupportive. The answers aren’t easy and there isn’t one ‘rule’ that can sum it all up and apply to every situation. 

My general strategy is: I remind myself that while I can hold the highest vision for this person, they are on their own journey. Every journey has hiccups and detours, sometimes they look darned familiar. But I can’t fix it for them and I can’t make the timeline look like what I want it to be. I say, “I’m cheering you on dear one, and I hope that you can have a happy successful journey. If you fall, I will still be cheering you on, but I’m not gonna fix it, only you know how.”

But back to you, you bucker of history, ready to conquer the world and change your destiny.

Let’s say the change you are making has to do with an unhealthy relationship, (which could be a person, substance, idea, pastime…) you have been in and out of relationship with this person (substance, idea, pastime…) for a long time. You have declared your freedom, you have shouted from the rooftops and taken a victorious step in your ability to be free from that blankety blank. But then something changes, they do something nice, you cave to temptation, the people around you try to have hope that it’s different this time, because you say that it is. But eventually you realize that it’s not and you end up back at the beginning of this paragraph. 

Then you are back to those people saying your history shows you can’t make the change. Well, that’s the thing about the past. It happened. Instead of putting your energy into convincing others that it’s different, put your energy into examining what the triggers were that caused yourself to get where you are. Then do something different!

Were you participating in an activity or group that was keeping you engaged and then stopped? Were you supporting yourself though a more healthy living practice (food, exercise, sleep, laughter)? Who are you spending your time with and are they influencing your behavior towards your independence from this relationship or towards your dependence? 

These can be hard questions to ask and harder questions to honestly answer. To really be honest about the situation is a first big hurdle, and then you have to make the changes which takes a lot of courage. Doing it once isn’t enough of course, that is where so many of us have fallen down before. The tenacity to stick to it, to believe that something better is possible, and attainable, and worth it.

Because you dear one are worth having an amazing, healthy, successful life. You deserve to be in relationship with people who care about you and encourage you to have that wonderful life. You have the right to be safe. You have the power to create the life of your dreams. (which will require hard work, belief in yourself, time, and lots of help)

Like I said before, Right on sister! (or Brother) Change your future so you won’t be reminded of your past failures again.

For those of you holding the high watch, keep up the cheering!


PS Remember, history give us lots of data on what doesn’t work, inventors don’t keep trying the same thing, they use the info they have to try something better. Reinvent your life!


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