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Let's Go

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If you were the first person I ever met I would have no one to compare you to. I would have no experiences on which to base my expectations of you. I would create a world of you made only of what I see of you.

Yet of course, none of us can even remember what it felt like to meet someone for the first time. Not someone, a particular person, for the first time, that is often very memorable. But what it was like to meet another person for the first time. To be aware, for the first time, we were with another human being…

I imagine it was a delightful experience. Another human being! I imagine so much love, so much curiosity, so much wonder, joy, connection. And we see it in babies eyes, that wonder and joy of meeting, connecting and being with another human being.

Then life happens, and we build expectations and understandings based on our experiences. Not only do we begin to stereotype people, we expect them to behave in certain ways based on how life seems to have been for us previously. This plays out most obviously in our intimate relationships, where previous painful experiences tell us that most men or woman always behave in a certain way.

I might think I am looking at my partner when really I am looking at my past. I might think I’m listening to you when really I’m listening to a commentary of a story about my past.

Like watching a movie you’ve seen a thousand times before, you know what happens next and you can recite every line.

I get ‘triggered’ because, in previous relationships, when my partner said x it meant y, and then z happened. When you say x I don’t even wait for your ‘y’
I respond immediately as if ‘z’ is about to happen. I might even interrupt you when I think I’ve heard ‘x’ so that you don’t even get an opportunity to show me that you’re not saying that at all.

And, of course, you might say the same thing yet it mean something completely different. Unless I’m open to that possibility I can only experience my past meaning.

Then, of course, if I’m the one who feels I’m only seen as your past I’ll probably be putting a lot of energy into defending not being your past. As soon as I sense you’re not seeing me but your past I’ll be all over it, hurt, unseen, unheard, unappreciated.

If that all sounds messy it’s because it is. Bringing our past into our current relationships, any kind of relationships, makes for messy. This plays out in personally and professionally. It plays out in everything, because all our thinking is based on past experience.

I once asked a client, who was having some difficulties in her team in her corporate job, ‘What would love do?’

She became silent, connecting with love for her team, and through tears said ‘Ohh! I would listen to them. I realise I haven’t really been listening to them.’

We can never hear through expectations, because we’re only listening for confirmation. We only hear others when we allow our expectations to fall, dissolve, and allow ourselves to be immersed in the experience of being with the person in front of us, in the present moment. Without our past. And without their past.

Every moment is new, tainted only by our perception of it. All perception is laced with previous experience.

I see so clearly how this has all played out in my own life. I see how I have contaminated relationships with my past experiences, and how I have desperately wanted to prove I am not my partners past either. Often so desperately that I’ve reinforced their view that I am.

And when I slow down, and ask ‘What would love do?’ I see amazing potential, for love, curiosity, wonder, joy and connection. Instead of mistrust, based on past experiences telling me that x means y which creates z, if I am willing to trust in love I can see anew. I can see truth, not tales.

I saw a meme a while ago, a mature gentleman talking to his wife, with the caption “If what I’ve said can be taken two ways, and one of the ways upsets you, I mean the other way.”

Those who love us never want to hurt or upset us. If we interpret what they’ve said as hurtful we’ve likely misunderstood.

Byron Katie says, if you don’t feel love you are confused.

If I trust in love first, before my experience of my past, I allow more love into my present.

For us to really be present in our relationships, to move forward in them we must let go of our past. MUST! Because not only is every relationship new, every moment is too.

I need not change the past, I cannot do that. I don’t even need to change my story of it. I only need see that it IS the past, it is a story, and the present can be different if I allow it. If the present feels like the past I can use it as an invitation to slow down, get present, be open and ask of love.

The present can always be about love. Let go and go with love.