How To Stop Recreating Your Past In 10 Easy Steps
Updated: Jan 28
“Why does this keep happening?!” I asked myself this question countless times while angry-crying in my car and cursing the Universe because I was still struggling financially, my boss was still manipulative, my partner was still unsupportive, and I was still putting my dreams on hold. I felt stuck, trapped, sad, disappointed and hopeless. So, why did this keep happening? Because I was creating these circumstances.
We can tell ourselves and others about how desperately we want a better relationship, more fulfilling work, more loyal friends, etc. But a few weeks later we will find ourselves in a situation that mimics the previous almost exactly. Why? Because we are recreating our pasts. The great news is, if we are capable of creating such colossally shitty circumstances, we are equally capable of creating incredible circumstances for ourselves. The first step is to recognize how you are recreating your past:
You’re living within your comfort zone
The scariest thing about the past is that we know it well. And because we are familiar with it, no matter how terrible it was, we are comfortable with it. The people we interact with most, the places we visit, the situations we find ourselves in, are all things we subconsciously choose based on our comfort zones.
While growing up in an abusive household, I learned that I had no options. I did not get to choose who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. Everything was forced on me. I was trapped. For a long time, I didn’t know what it felt like to be free and to choose something for myself. For this reason, I constantly put myself in situations that trapped me. Which is funny because my greatest fear was being trapped. In theory, I would do anything possible to avoid being trapped. But, deep down, being trapped was all I knew. It was my comfort zone. So, I continually gravitated towards jobs that stifled my agency, living environments that were less than ideal and relationships with people who were controlling or clingy.
You're manifesting chaos
I grew up in chaos. I never learned how to live life without being on high alert all the time. When I got older, without consciously realizing it, I manifested a lifestyle that reflected the stress I grew up with: working three jobs, making only $900 a month, relentless financial stress, believing I was stuck at jobs I hated while longing for my dreams to come true, dating dramatic and overly emotional people. Everything was a struggle because I believed that it had to be, because that’s what I grew up with.
Your past is your identity
This is a big one - creating an identity around our pasts. We attach ourselves to our pasts. We become so attached to them that we shape our identity from those experiences. In doing so, it becomes impossible for us to move on from the past because we have chosen to interweave our experiences so tightly into who we are. That’s why the same things keep happening over and over and over again. No matter how terrible the experiences are that we have created our identities from, they are still our identities. If we let go of those experiences, who are we? The thought of releasing a part of who we are without knowing what we will become is terrifying. That’s why many of us don’t do it. Instead, we spend our lives preserving the identities we have created by holding on to our pasts. Read The Top 3 Identities We Create From Our Trauma and How They Keep Us Trapped in the Past for more information about this.
So how do we turn it all around?
What “keeps happening” to you?
Start by identifying patterns in your life. What seems to constantly pop up? Maybe it's unhealthy work environments or less than ideal relationships. Maybe it's financial struggle or friends who can’t show up the way you need them to. Identify consistent occurrences in your life and write them down.
How are these patterns connected with your past?
What beliefs developed from your past that are keeping you stuck in these patterns? For me, it was the belief that I needed to be a victim to be loved. For this reason, everything in my life was a constant struggle. What are the negative beliefs that developed from your past that are manifesting in your current life?
What identity have you created?
How have you interwoven your past into your identity? I am not talking about using your experiences to better yourself and the world - that is something wonderful and entirely different. I am talking about the ways in which we force ourselves to stay trapped in our trauma by making the past a core part of our identities.
Write it down
Start by writing down your patterns. “I am constantly struggling financially.” Then write down the belief that is tied to your past and creating this pattern. “If I have money, I am no longer a victim and I won’t be loved.”
Write the truth
“I can be rich and abundant in all aspects of life and have healthy love.”
Make that shit your mantra
Write it on a piece of paper and tape it to your mirror. Write it on several post-it notes and stick them all over your apartment. Leave yourself a voicemail or text or email with your new mantra. Recite this truth over and over and over and over again until it’s so ingrained in your mind that it becomes a part of you.
Notice the results
You just did some serious self-work - YAAS, Gurl! Notice how your life starts to change.