Where are you going?

Written by Heidi Cornelisson
I am part of a coffee and connection group that meets once a week. Being a regular commitment I have a set route to and from the venue. But one day this was challenged when I left with a friend heading in the same direction as me. He was in front of me and I saw him drive straight at a roundabout where I usually turned right.”Where’s he going?” I wondered, “Is there another way to the freeway?”But I turned right as usual, staying with the familiar. As I stopped at the red traffic light leading onto the freeway I saw my friend whizz past from another side onto the onramp.”His route is obviously quicker,” I thought again and never caught up with him on the freeway. He’d made significant headway.The following week I still turned right at the same roundabout not willing to go straight and potentially getting lost. Sure enough, this time, despite having left after me, I saw my friend whizzing onto the freeway again.”Damn! I should’ve tried the new route,” I muttered.I have since eventually taken the alternate route and it’s not only quicker, but simpler. My route was a huge detour, catching more roundabouts and traffic lights. Although familiar I’d settled for a difficult route.I’m using that roundabout as a metaphoric decision-making point for your life.

  • How many potential decision points do you have in your life?
  • Do you keep turning right because that’s familiar or are you willing to try something different?
  • Which decisions do you continually make that are merely habitual?

Familiar and safe options may have served you well in the past. But, as you know, if you keep doing the same things, in the same way, thinking the same thoughts … you’ll keep getting the same results. I see so many people who feel stuck in their lives because of old habits.

Some people who have started exploring personal development realise the impact of their past on who they are and how they live.

They then get stuck all over again, but now, consciously, in the past.
“It’s because I never had a father that I can’t keep a relationship now.”
“It’s because my mother was too concerned with my weight and appearance that I have low self-esteem now.”
“It’s because my teacher told me I’d never amount to anything that I have a fear of success.”

Whatever the case may be, what you’re saying is probably true and the thoughts you have about yourself are as a result of that particular experience. But remaining in this excuse-place keeps you beholden to the past repeating same behaviours. Is that what you really want?

Once you’re aware of old beliefs and you hang on to them for too long, they’ve become excuses. These excuses are then like carrying around a ball and chain with you, preventing you from moving forward. This would’ve been like my car automatically turning right each week and me feeling powerless to change its direction. I had to consciously fully engage the vehicle and take a different route. I then found myself, within seconds whizzing onto the freeway as well.

As with driving a car, you have the power to change the direction of your life as well. For example:
“Although I have picked up a low self-esteem, a fear of success and an inability to have a meaningful relationship from my past, I can now choose to let these go. This is not who I am as I now choose differently. I am willing to change, believing my life can get better and I’ll ask for help if necessary.”

  • What is it time for you to change in your life?
  • What from your past have you been holding onto
  • Where are you stuck in a repetitive rut?

Stop using the past as an excuse for where you feel stuck. It may be the reason, but let go of attaching to the excuse. Kick off those shackles, choose differently and take a self-empowered step forward in a different direction with new thoughts and beliefs. You may even move through life with ease and learn that the more you trust yourself, the more your self-esteem, your fears and relationship skills will evolve naturally

Time moves in one direction, memory in another.
William Gibson

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