The late Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “If you know better, do better.” I think that most of us at some point in our lives encounter a situation where we “know better.” The question is, does this knowing lead us to “do better”?
Our Emotions Are a Record of the Past
Research has shown that children between 2 years to 5 or 6 years of age have the ability to absorb vital information directly into their subconscious minds because of the way that the brain develops. This is a time in our life where we are highly adaptive, and it is also a time when we put in order our cultural beliefs and societal behaviors into our nervous system. And, this is where our “life story” starts to formulate. During these years when we have experiences, we pay attention to our feelings that come from our inner world. When our feelings feel altered, we look outside of ourselves to see who or what caused this altered feeling. These events create an associative memory, and then these experiences are encoded into our memory system where they are stored in our subconscious. The moment that we get into situations that bring up similar emotions that have branded us from the past, we revert back to that six-year-old child and behave in limited ways because that is all we know. Our emotions are a record of the past, so we analyze current events within that emotion, so we are thinking in the past. Hence our story builds upon itself with a child’s set of emotions from past experiences. We make up our stories because we haven’t disciplined ourselves to remove the emotional charge from historical events.
According to Joe Dispenza, author, scientist, and researcher, to change our story, we have to get beyond known things and places in our life. We have to get beyond the association of things anchored in the past. We have to be willing to surrender the piece of our limited self to connect with our greater self. This means we have to be willing to let go of our past. This is all part of knowing better and doing better.
The Power of Changing Our Path
I am reminded of another quote, this one by Mo Willems, it goes like this, “If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave”. I like this because it is straight forward advice. This means if you don’t love yourself in your current job, leave it. Instead, find a vocation where you look forward to your days. If you are in a relationship, whether romantic or otherwise, that is toxic, unsupportive and abusive in any way, leave it. Instead, surround yourself with those who are encouraging and nurturing. If you are living in the wrong house, neighborhood, city or state, leave it. Pack your bags and go somewhere where you will thrive and feel alive. Don’t continue to stay in a prison where the doors are wide open. The first step in creating a life that you love is leaving a life that you don’t love. Do you have a story that you need to leave?
I will leave you with this powerful quote from the great poet, Rumi, “And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”