Have you met the first gentleman who made his way around the world by foot, horse and boat? Unlikely. But what an adventure he had. During his time, not many were afforded the gift of seeing the world in one lifetime. But this gentleman was. It took him ages by today’s standards. But heck, he achieved what he set out to achieve!
Today, we can pop onto Google, plan a few flights and if we really wanted to, we could travel around the world in as little as a month. Humanities’ exploration of technology has afforded us new and better options to get what we want. And so we take them.
But many of us are still stuck with old ways of doing things in our lives. Old ways which were perfectly appropriate, and served us greatly in the past. Though as the years pass, these old solutions can become frustrating set-backs to new experiences we want. Think back to the example of traveling the world. If you signed a contract that said you could only ever travel the world by foot and boat forever–you might find yourself struggling today.
They Are Perfect Solutions that Have Expired
We must respect that they were. That they held a intended positive outcome (IPO) for what we were experiencing at the time. In particular, they helped us survive relatively traumatic or heart-breaking experiences. And in many cases, the really-felt illusion of annihilation.
I’ll explain with an example …
Picture a 4 year old girl who is being gravely heart-broken by the fact that she reached out to her mother, but her mother did not reach back for her. For her to manage that severe heart-break, or to prevent the experience of heart-break from continuing, she might disconnect from her heart, and decide to stay in her head.
“I shall stay in my mind because feeling in my heart is way too painful.”
Now imagine that girl at 30 years of age, wanting to have sustained intimacy and love with her spouse. She will struggle. Because after some time, a part of her brain will fire up a set of neurons that says, “Not safe … you’re doomed for heartbreak.” She will have to get out of there.
Because every time the opportunity to experience intimacy from another arises, she shuts down and does something relationally disastrous (unconsciously) to protect herself from severe heart-break. Sadly, this type of “patterning” often leads to dissatisfying relationships, or relationships that simply don’t last.
She is running a perfect solution that has expired.
The severe heart-break was a survived state at an early age. So she will code that “continued survival depends on heart-break.” Or as my instructor Carl Buchheit says, “The conditions we initially survive, become the conditions which continued survival depend on.”
Remember, the reptilian parts of our brain, promote what is considered safe, same, and survivable. So if we survived a traumatic experience (AKA–we continued breathing), it will code it as a safe experience, and an experience which continued safety relies upon. The reptilian parts do not care about quality of life. They are an impulse function that simply checks whether you are dead or alive.
“Alive? Yes. Great, let’s keep that going … yes.”
Can you imagine what life would be like for that lady if she continued without ever re-visiting this memory? Without ever re-coding what was once a perfect solution that has now expired?
So imagine a change you are wanting, but struggle to be having. It makes you wonder, what is the perfect expired solution that you might be running? And it makes you wonder what positive intention it has for you?
Because it does.
Whether that solution includes feeling hopeless, depressed or terrified … it is likely better than something else that might have sustained.
We must respect that and speak to it with words of gratitude for what it has done for us at an early age, before we had access to the wisdom of an adult. To sit and appreciate that it served great function.
To re-solve (attributed to my teacher Carla Camou, founder of NLP Seattle) it, we now have the means to communicate with aspects of ourselves in ways that allow them to understand that their solution no longer positively serves the more recent experiences we want in life. But more importantly, there is a better solution to fulfil on the positive intention it has for us.
The solution is in the communication with Self, other-Selves and Life itself.
To complete this part of the conversation, let’s pause and sense all the aspects of your early self who did the best he/she could with the information at the time. And in the way you can, and are willing, find space to say thank you for all you have done. This is a huge step to ending the war within.
If you’re ready to move forward, join me in the next post of this series; The Art of Personal Change III; Doing the Best You Can … Always