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If we become aware that we've fallen into an ego trap, we simply use our awareness to escape trap. We need only remember that every belief, no matter how limiting, served us well at one time. Many beliefs were created to help us survive difficult and painful situations in our past. However, we're no longer in those situations. Our circumstances have changed, and we have more experience and new skills that can serve us better now. We've simply outgrown need for old beliefs. We can release them because we have more elegant options available to us now.
CHOICE The third and final step is choice. Once we are aware of our beliefs and own them, we have absolute control over them. We can now choose to alter our beliefs, and change our reality. We have power to change our lives completely in an instant--we simply need to choose to do so now. I'm sure you've heard similar motivational statements from any number of sources. While it is essentially true that we can change our lives with a simple choice, it's also important to read fine print: We have to continue to make that same choice over and over and over and over and over again. The now when we chose to change our lives is already in past. We have to keep choosing until our new choices, expectations, and beliefs have become habit. We have to continue to choose until our new choices become second nature to us.
Our past experiences certainly influence us. They shape our beliefs, and our expectations. As long as we continue to let ourselves be guided by past, we will create similar experiences in future. The past does not equal future--unless we choose to carry past with us. The cliché, "there's no time like present" is not entirely correct. The truth is that there's no time except present. The only time that matters is now. The past is irrelevant; future does not exist yet. The only place where we can act, where we can create, where we can choose is now.
While past does not need to influence or shape future, many of choices and thoughts and expectations that we held in past are old habits--and as saying goes, old habits are hard to break. This is one arena where progress of technology has almost eliminated a perfectly good metaphor. Remember vinyl records? Those big things that came before CDs? The groove of a record represents our old patterns. Records could get scratched--that's one of reasons that CDs are so popular, actually--and a scratch represents a change or a break in old pattern. The only way to truly change old pattern is to interrupt it enough times that a new pattern starts to form. Our patterns are exactly like grooves in records. The older pattern, deeper groove, and more interruptions it will take before we make any permanent changes in pattern. Each time we notice that we have reverted back to our old, negative behaviors, we choose to take a different path.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in our old patterns that it seems like we can't stop ourselves. It's essential that we do not beat ourselves up for not being able to change old habits and behaviors on first try (or even second or third try)! We may not have completely eliminated pattern, but we did change it: The fact that we were aware that we were acting out an old pattern is, in itself, a change in that pattern. Each time we encounter pattern, we will become aware of it sooner. Eventually, we will also be able to interrupt pattern. And when we can interrupt our old patterns, we have power to choose different, more elegant and supportive responses.
Kevin B. Burk is the author of The Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life. Visit http://www.everyrelationship.com for a FREE report on creating AMAZING Relationships.