1 You constantly talk about the past and about how things used to be
This is a sign that your mind is in the past, and so long as it’s there it can be very difficult to enjoy the present, let alone create a happy future.
Affirmations are very good ways to focus your intentions. Try the following affirmation: “I now leave the past behind and fully embrace the joys of the present.” Repeat it 10 times in the morning and evening.
2 You’re afraid of change
A fear of change is often a learned fear. It can be sign that you’ve learned to be comfortable with how things are. But the result of that learning is that the fear holds you back from embracing a positive future.
Fears about change don’t reflect a real situation. Instead, they are worries about a ‘potential’ situation. So when your fears arise, simply acknowledge this fact. Acknowledging that a fear of change is ‘only a fear’ and not something real actually makes change a little easier to embrace.
3 You find yourself in the same kind of work or relationship pattern you’ve been in before
This can be a sign that you’re recreating a past set of circumstances, either positive or negative. Often, when a person hasn’t dealt with an issue and then moves to a new job, relationship, environment, they find themselves facing the same kinds of challenges as before.
When patterns repeat themselves in life, there is almost always an opportunity to grow into a new, higher version of yourself. Therefore, see your present circumstance as an opportunity to grow and decide in which direction you could grow from it. Then act on that decision. For instance, if a boss at work was bullying you, you might decide that standing up for yourself is the direction you’d like to grow in.
4 You’re inflexible
Inflexibility is sometimes a product of, ‘This is the way I’ve always done things’. In the past, you got results by sticking to your plan or your way.
Practice being more flexible. Take a walk in nature and take inspiration from the fact that trees are solid and they stand up straight, yet at the same time they are flexible and bend with the winds of change. Just this simple observation is a very powerful tool for fostering flexibility and, at the same time, releasing yourself from the past.
5 You’re afraid of stretching out of your comfort zone
Being afraid to stretch out of your comfort zone is often a habit born out of not having had to take many risks in the past. But it can hold you back in the present because the greatest rewards often lie just at the edge of our comfort zones.
First, think of 1 thing that is just a little out of your comfort zone and take action on it. Second, try something new… think of something you’ve never done or wouldn’t usually do and go do it. This is about starting to build a new habit. Start small and, in time, practice taking more steps out of your comfort zone.
6 You’re always secretly comparing your current partner to an ex
People who are secretly comparing their current partner (looks, behaviour, personality, etc) to an ex are caught in the past, and so long as they keep doing that it becomes very difficult for a current relationship to develop into its full potential.
Make a determined effort to focus on the present. Focus on the aspects of your current relationship that you enjoy, but expand your efforts into a daily gratitude practice. For the next 3 weeks, make a list each evening, before you go to bed, of 5-10 things that you’re grateful for from that day. This will help you to enjoy the present and also to develop your relationships.
7 Your thinking and behaviour is tainted by a past hurt
Being hurt in the past quite often affects behaviour from then on. It can cause us to trust less, be less positive about the future, or even become cynical. It also often seeds the erroneous belief that things will always be the same, that men (or women) are really all the same.
Make a list of people who are, in your opinion, good, kind, thoughtful and loyal people. Create a little project for yourself to double or triple the size of your list over the next few weeks. The point of this is that the practice will cause you to actively look for these traits in people you come into contact with and therefore break your pattern of thinking and behaviour that is based on a past experience.
About the author
Dr David R Hamilton is an author and motivational speaker actively flying the flag for kindness and self love. Check out his fabulous book, I Heart ME: The Science of Self-Love, for more great advice.