Do you often find yourself feeling negatively triggered by a partner’s words or actions? Or maybe you notice that you react irrationally or feel strong emotions (fear, anger or sadness) in response to situations in your relationship. If so, you may be responding from a past perspective, rather than being in the present and seeing the situation for what it really is.
Why do we tend to live out the past again and again?
These reactions are often linked to our personal perspective and focus. We tend to ‘get’ more of what we focus on! To illustrate this, have you noticed that if you decide you’re going to invest in a new car, you see the make and model you’re hoping to buy everywhere! Look around you right now and notice how many red items/things you see around you. Now without looking around again, ask yourself how many green things you noticed when looking for the red? Normally this will be considerably less, if you noticed any green at all. This is because the mind tends to see what we’re looking for. Unconsciously our minds cause us to make decisions about partners and situations, which may be biased due to our past experience and beliefs.
Imagine this filtered view in the context of a relationship. For a fictional example: Mathew grew up in a household where mother is very critical and controlling of father. On a subconscious level he creates a belief that women always are this way. Later in life when he is with a partner, he may ‘see’ suggestions or comments as criticism and feel agitated or triggered. He may be seeing the comment from his own ‘lens’, which comes from his past and a limiting belief that relationships are always a certain way.
So how do we let go of the past and any limiting beliefs to do with relationships?
Here are three steps:
- Awareness; this is the first step to letting go of the past. Think about the messages you picked up earlier in life and how they could have affected your beliefs regarding relationships. If you’ve noticed any negative patterns in your relationships, ask yourself what the underlying belief is that may be keeping you stuck.
- Neutralize; challenge the belief that may be causing your reactions or negative patterns. In the example of Mathew’s situation he could look at lots of examples of relationships where the female is NOT controlling and critical. Consciously seeking out more positive examples of relationship dynamics will neutralize his belief that all relationships are one way.
- Acknowledgement; once you have awareness of what may be behind some of your reactions and feelings you have a choice. You can choose to take a step back from a situation, take a breath, count to ten. You can remove yourself from the situation rather than reacting negatively on the spot. You could also choose to trust your partner and tell them why you may be overreacting to things and how you are attempting to change this now.