Does a person’s past lead them to perform to a certain standard, behave a certain way, choose well – or not?
Should the past continue to influence decisions and behaviour?
And how much of our history can we blame when we’re in a Rut?
Some people hold the belief that they make (in their view) poor choices as a result of the life they have lived and therefore, everything they do – whether it serves them well or not – could be considered the best that they are able to do at that time.
For a long time, that was a theory I held dear. It helped with empathy when listening to others. And it gave me a good reason for not achieving some of the things I told myself I would.
But now I take that theory with a massive pinch of salt.
Of course, the life we have led will have had real impact.
Of course, what we have seen, heard, felt, has had influence over how we are moulded.
But let’s take a view on this picture….
Are we sometimes only guilty of drifting because we are not sure how else to be?
Do we sometimes simply continue with what we know isn’t working because we are fear of change?
What percentage, therefore, of continuing unhelpful behaviour can be apportioned to history? What percentage is something else?
One day I realised that I had metaphorically glued myself to the sofa and fixed my attention to the TV with little interest in what was on. I knew I should be doing something else. Something worthwhile. So, had past relationships led me to watch a programme I had no interest in? No. Could I put my reluctance to raise my bottom off the sofa down to a historic experience? No. I didn’t feel tired in the least. Nor sad, thoughtful or anything else that could write my laziness off with a decent excuse. I had no need or desire to rest. I wasn’t spending time with my family. I wasn’t trying out different paint colours in my mind. I was just wasting time. And I knew it. I was aware that it was a poor choice. There’s no drama to this story, but I knew it was decision time. Was I going to remain there for longer or did I want to prise myself off the feather-filled comfort and get on with some work?
That simple moment caused me to challenge my thinking. And the way I operate. And therefore, also, to challenge differently in life coaching. People are human. They don’t always do their best.
That may seem a little controversial to some, but it was one of those break-through moments for me.
If we are always going to tell ourselves that we are doing the best we can, are we simply using this theory as an excuse for in-achievement?
I’m not saying that people should continually push themselves. This isn’t about just doing more. I’m not saying we shouldn’t watch TV, rest, take time to enjoy the peace of doing nothing. If you put the effort in, you do also need and deserve some time off.
What I’m saying is that we should be honest with ourselves about the choices we make. Some days we put a little less in. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as we accept that it’s our choice. As long as we are truthful with ourselves. Don’t blame something else/someone else for not achieving what we say we wanted to. We are responsible for ourselves.
(I state the obvious, here, when I say that of course, if you are unwell, you have no real choice, you simply have to get well and if rest is what’s required then that is, absolutely, what you should be doing – and that would be the responsible choice, wouldn’t it?)
In coaching around commitment to following a healthier diet, for example, whilst I recognise the pull that a piece of chocolate cake can have, it’s important to understand that the individual is in control, not the cake! It’s no good standing with shoulders hunched forward, saying in a disappointed tone, “I just couldn’t help myself”. The question is “Do you want the cake more than you want to lose weight?” If the answer in that moment is “yes” then you will find yourself eating the cake. Being clear on what you truly want, on what matters most, helps you make your decisions with a new level of responsibility. That applies to whether you accept the job in New York, whether you decide you are ever going to speak to That Person again or whether you eat That Cake!
It’s the clarity, the connection with what matters most, that makes the difference.
There will be a question raised in some minds about what I’m saying here. What about addictions? Weaknesses? Reacting to someone else’s action? …. I understand that…. But change only happens when you want it to. You may need support. But only you can make the decision to do something differently. Only you can decide that you want to behave differently. Only you know when you want to get out of your Rut.
Change begins with taking responsibility.
Being truthful with ourselves.
Understanding what really matters and connecting with what matters most. And when you are connected, you start to make sure that the life you lead is the one you want.
In a moment of choice….
If we take a breath and change our frown of concern to a smile of confidence, would we do something else?
If we check that we are listening with full attention, instead of having half our mind on what we want to do next, would we hear something different?
If you are aligned with what matters most, would your choice be the same?
Being this aware, being aligned, having this new level of responsibility will make the difference to your choice in that moment.
You will have a sense of whether the job in New York is just something exciting to talk about or whether it will truly support what matters most to you.
Saying “I’m so sorry, I didn’t think about how you might feel” instead of becoming swept into a defensive rage could be enough to begin healing a relationship.
And you will know that you just took step to be proud of by choosing an apple.
Have a great week.
I wish you Oneness.
.. Annie ..
If you’re stuck in a Rut and you know it’s time to change, let’s talk about how Life Coaching can help.