The other day I had a conversation that got me thinking about how powerful the past is to shaping your self-concept – which is the image you hold of yourself and what you feel worthy of and what you don’t.
I’ve always known that the past was powerful, yet I didn’t realize how much power I was giving it by trying to outrun and hide from it.
I can see now that outrunning and hiding from past memories brought great gifts. I learned how to be driven, motivated and ambitious.
However, I always knew, at some level, this ambition and constant drive was a mechanism I was using to not feel or acknowledge the lack I was feeling.
It made logical sense for me to leave the past in the past – and outgrow that version of me to become a better one over and over again.
Worthy pursuit indeed….at least I thought it was…
In pursuit for becoming more, I hadn’t realized that I had left behind and forgotten about “less than” versions/parts of me. Versions/parts that were/are frozen in time – and vying for my attention.
As you can imagine if I deemed these versions/parts "less than", I didn’t think much of them and wasn't aching to make a revisit. After all, they were branded long ago as being insufficient and lacking.
Why would the adult me want to revisit them when there is so much more to do, be and have now?
The Truth is – in all my running, forgetting, and avoiding - I was running from myself. I didn’t want to acknowledge that these versions/parts were/are part of me because I had been unconsciously blaming them for those feelings of lack.
But in this conversation I had with my friend, she said “…Imagine Elon Musk invented a time machine and you could go back in time and be with those memories and versions of yourself. What would you say? What would they say back?"
As I imagined going back in time, all I felt was resistance and fear. For some reason I couldn’t get through to these versions/parts.
Until, I had a realization that transformed everything:
This is where self-doubt can come in handy. You can insert some doubt into your narrative and simply ask: What if it’s not the whole story? What if I was mistaken and made that mean something about me that isn't True?
This got me thinking to the power we all have to being able to change the narrative. Not in a denial seeking way, but in a more realistic, adult view way.
Then I discovered this incredible article by Mary Halton, a journalist at Ted: What Old Story About Yourself Are You Still Believing And How To Change It. In the article, Halton references John Sharp’s work and his Ted Talk: Change Your Story, Transform Your Life.
Imagine that you’ve been basing your view of yourself and your worthiness on what a younger version of you interpreted certain circumstances and situations to mean about you? And this view and worthiness has been shaping how you feel about yourself and what you can do, be have in life up until this point?
Then, as you got older, you worked really, really hard to outgrow and evolve beyond this version (or versions) of you – only to succeed and achieve on the outside – yet on the inside it never feels like enough.
Inserting self-doubt into your narrative and questioning this narrative and past circumstances, isn’t inauthentic or being in denial, but the most authentic thing you can do.
What if there are versions of you within that are frozen in time…vying for your time and attention? All they want is for you to get into that time machine, revisit them and shed light on a distorted story that has been keeping you limited, stuck and in an outdated version of you.
They want you to evolve past your past – do you?
As always, it’s your choice.