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Are Circumstances Obstacles Or Steppingstones? - Grasshopper

The Grasshopper popped in with this the other day: “Live your life more freely by leaving your circumstances in the past.”

We won’t easily forget “trying” circumstances but we can use them as a starting point to walk into a “past-less” future.

 

“In the past” is a great reference phrase I learned over 30 years ago. It has helped me countless times to outgrow circumstances.

 

Perhaps a story would be helpful . . .

 

Many years ago at a mini-family reunion I ran into a long-lost cousin. We got to exchanging stories since we had last seen each other and also swapped some of our outlooks on life. Somewhere in there he said, I don’t start fights but if someone else does, I finish them.” His words struck me like a body slam. They were offensive to me. I wondered why I had such an adverse reaction to those words and then it hit me. I have used that exact same phrase and never felt its impact until someone else said it.

 

I immediately started to employ “in the past.” When I caught myself about to say or be in the middle of saying the offending phrase, I would interrupt myself and say something like, “In the past, I would be in the habit of finishing fights but realized that fights are rarely finished, only postponed until we gather the energy to fight again.”

 

Referencing something as “in the past” is leaving those circumstances behind. “In the past, I used to bite my nails” is a great interruptive phrase when you want to outgrow chewing on your fingers. The phrase has to be applied each time you catch yourself doing what you want to outgrow. In your mind, you are referencing leaving the habit behind.

 

The building blocks are the words you currently use to lock your circumstance in place. By definitively saying, “I’m a nail biter,” you set your habit in wet cement. By adding “in the past” to those words, you water down the binding mixture and before too long, you have the nails you long for.

 

Circumstances are solid interpretations of reality. In order to make these seemingly solid things more porous, we have to water them down. An effective way to do that is to have your mind reference them as “long gone.” And it won’t be too long before your obstacles turn into steppingstones  – ones that lead you out of bad memory lane.

 

All the best,

John



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