3 Steps to Overcome the Past That’s Holding You Back
Your past does not have to dictate your future.
If it did I’d still be an overweight, insecure, needy guy who couldn’t maintain a healthy relationship. But instead I celebrated my 3-year anniversary yesterday with an amazing woman, in the greatest shape of my life, and happier than I’ve ever been.
However, it deeply saddens me to encounter so many people who can’t break free of the chains of yesterday. Their actions, choices, and beliefs about themselves are governed by experiences that occurred 5, 10, or even 20 years ago. And it prevents them from growing into the best version of themselves.
These negative experiences have poisoned their core. Many guys have shared with me their stories and the resulting limiting beliefs:
“I’ve been friend zoned or rejected by every girl I’ve ever liked. I’m an unattractive, inexperienced loser that no one will ever want.”
“My dad was a womanizer who constantly cheated on my mom. I’m afraid that I’ll become the same kind of guy and hurt the women I care about.”
“The only girl I loved left me for who I thought was my best friend. I can’t trust any women anymore, they’re all selfish sluts.”
“I was the fat kid (weird kid, skinny kid, etc) everyone made fun of growing up. Deep down I can never change that.”
I know you’ve had a difficult past. You’ve had some negative experiences that impacted your life greatly. You’re scarred from people who mistreated you or broke your trust. Your previous failures have made you afraid to try again. But holding onto your demons forever is not a solution. Instead:
Analyze and challenge your limiting beliefs
I want you think about a negative belief you have about yourself. Let’s use the “I’m unattractive and no one will ever want me” example.
Drop your ego and honestly confront yourself with the following questions:
- Why do I believe this to be true? Have I looked at it from an outside perspective? Could I be overlooking other factors?
- Why am I still holding onto it?
- Is it hurting or hindering my life?
Many guys would say “Yes, it’s true Nick. I’ve never been with or had a girl sexually attracted to me. How can you see it any other way?”
So then you start to break it down…
“Well, I never actually showed my intentions with those girls. I was too afraid. I never flirted or touched them. I hung around pretending to be a friend rather than being forward or meeting other girls. I didn’t dress well or look my best. I also don’t approach girls regularly so my sample size is tiny.”
Why you’re holding onto it…
“I can’t let go because it’s embarrassing to admit I blew my chances. It hurts my pride to acknowledge that they just might not have been into me. I’m afraid of moving on because that would force me to invest more in myself and be vulnerable with someone new again.”
And how it’s hindering your life…
“I’m not romantically connecting with great women which leaves me frustrated and resentful. Because of that, I’m unmotivated, apathetic, and unhappy.”
Once you start deconstructing your limiting beliefs you’ll see how useless and destructive they are. Only then will you be ready to accept why it’s so important to overcome them.
Make peace with your past
What happened was terrible and I’m sorry you had to go through that. But there comes a point when you have to say “It happened and at the time it made me feel X, Y, and Z. I don’t have the power to change the past but I will learn from it and change my future.”
If a lack of closure is preventing you from making peace: go get your closure. This may mean facing someone or something in uncomfortable situations.
Unfortunately, you may not get that closure or it may not even be possible. Accept the reality that there won’t be a neat little box and it’s your job to resolve your own feelings. It takes immense courage but you’ll be a stronger person for it.
Disprove and replace with fresh, healthy beliefs
No one else, including me, can ever convince you that your limiting beliefs are temporary. You have to do it yourself. That’ll only happen when you see those beliefs shattered through real-world experiences that, in turn, create new, positive beliefs.
Start with the one belief you analyzed. Write down a list of ways you are going to constructively challenge it in practice:
- I’m going to introduce myself to a new woman every week.
- I will read up on fashion, start dressing well, and look my best for social situations.
- I’m going to start showing my interest to girls I want to be with.
- I will not wait around for someone who is not returning interest in me.
If you want this to succeed, you need to put in the time and effort to apply these consistently. But be patient with your progress — you’re trying to break beliefs that you’ve internalized for a long time.
Soon enough, the cracks in that belief will be revealed. You’ll meet a new girl and get her number. You’ll have your first kiss. You’ll start noticing girls flirt with you. With each new piece of evidence you will further destroy the validity of that belief.
Finally, you’ll realize that it was all in your mind the whole time. It was your acceptance of those beliefs that made them true.
Let go of who you were or who you think you are and embrace who you’re supposed to become.