Podcast: Heal So Your Past Doesn’t Run Your Future

Date

I need you to be aware of the unhealed parts of you that are running the show.

Asha B. Wilkerson

Episode Summary

In this conversation, Asha Wilkerson discusses the importance of becoming aware of the unhealed parts of ourselves that are influencing our decisions and behaviors. She explains how our past experiences are stored in our bodies and can trigger automatic responses in the present. Asha also explores the role of the lizard brain in shaping our behaviors and decision-making. She shares personal examples of repeating patterns and how she broke free from them through self-reflection and healing. Asha emphasizes the need to recognize and acknowledge our unhealed parts in order to create the future we desire.

Takeaways

  • Awareness of Unhealed Parts: Become aware of the unhealed parts within you that may be influencing your actions and decisions. Taking a non-judgmental and curious approach to understanding these aspects is essential for personal growth.
  • Understanding Neuroplasticity and Patterns: Our repeated experiences create neural pathways that shape our behavior. We tend to stick to familiar patterns, even if they aren’t serving us well. Recognizing this is a big step towards positive change.
  • Breaking My Own Patterns: I’ve been there – dating the same type repeatedly. It took self-awareness and non-judgmental observation to break those patterns. You can do the same in various aspects of your life by recognizing and understanding your behaviors.
  • Embarking on a Personal Healing Journey: Join me on a healing journey where we understand our past experiences, acknowledge our feelings without judgment, and actively work on emotional and somatic healing. It’s a powerful step towards positive change.
  • Empowerment Through Transformation: Remember, healing is transformative. It empowers us to let go of expectations that no longer serve us. This journey positively impacts our relationships, career choices, and overall life satisfaction. I’ve experienced it, and you can too.

Timestamped Summary of This Episode

  • 00:00Becoming Aware of Unhealed Parts
  • 02:29The Role of the Lizard Brain
  • 05:17Repeating Patterns
  • 06:34Breaking Free from the Lizard Brain
  • 09:01Healing and Self-Reflection
  • 11:52Preventing Unhealed Parts from Running the Show
  • 13:19Transformation and Creating the Future You Want
 

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Asha:

Hey, I need you to be aware of the unhealed parts of you that are running the show. I’ll say it again in case you didn’t catch it the first time. I need you to be aware of the unhealed parts of you that are running the show. Now,

Now, before you get defensive, take a deep breath in and let it out and sit there for a moment. And I want you to ask yourself what unhealed parts of me are actually leading the way.

Now don’t judge yourself. Get curious and hold space for the truth to surface. You don’t have to tell me, you don’t have to tell anybody else for that matter, but be honest with yourself about where you’re letting your past experiences take charge.

Becoming Aware of Unhealed Parts

Let me break it down for you. You are human, I’m human, and as humans, we remember experiences in our bodies, even if we can’t recall them in our minds. I don’t like using the words positive or negative, but we remember positive experiences and also negative experiences in our physical and emotional bodies.

Think about listening to a song that transports you back in time to a summer filled with delight, or on the other side smelling alcohol that immediately makes you feel sick because you remember the night you’ve indulged way too much and spent the miserable eight hours on the bathroom floor promising the gods of the universe that you would never ever drink again. The song and the alcohol sparked a memory that was stored in your body and took you back to the same mental space you were in when you first had the experience. You don’t have to do it now.

The same thing happens when our past comes forward to run the future. Something takes us back to that moment in time that we were in before. And we make present decisions based on that memory.

Now, you don’t have to do it now. But later this week, when you think about the triggers that you have with friends or family that transport you back into time so fast that you can’t catch yourself, just make note of them.

The Role of Our Lizard Brain

A few years back when I was earning my neuro coaching certification under the psychologist, Dr. Shannon Irvin, we talked about our bodies incredibly intelligent and incredibly stupid way of keeping us safe.

As much as we’ve evolved as humans and created spectacular inventions, there’s a part of our brain affectionately called the lizard brain that is extremely simple. That part of our brain, which includes the brain stem and limbic region is responsible for vital functions like eating, mating and self-protection and it strongly influences our behaviors.

So now bear with me as I get a little bit more nerdy and explain neuroplasticity. When we learn something new or have repeated experiences an information superhighway is created in our brain called a neural pathway.  These connections, the development of which is also referred to as neuroplasticity have a substantial impact on shaping our behavior and our decision-making.

The really smart part of our brain trusts and relies upon these neural pathways and automates our behaviors so we don’t have to think about what we’re doing. It saves us time and energy. It’s really smart. But this automation that has served to keep us safe and alive for thousands of years, and it reminds us.

This automation has served to keep us safe and alive over thousands of years. It reminds us to eat the food we love, to listen to the music that lifts our mood and eat when we need it.

But it also reminds us not to drink the alcohol that made us sick, to be defensive around the person who hurt us and to prepare for a fight when we feel threatened. The fear or danger reminders. The fear or danger reminders come through even stronger than the joy and pleasure reminders because our brain is hardwired to keep us safe and alive and staying away from danger is more important than experiencing pleasure.

One more bit of information for you. Anything that is new or unfamiliar gets categorized in our brains as unsafe and dangerous. It doesn’t align with our previously created neural pathways, which makes it unfamiliar and unfamiliar is dangerous according to our lizard brain. Because again, the body’s main concern is to be free from harm, is to stay alive.

If you’ve heard the saying, people would rather experience a familiar hell than an unknown heaven, you now understand why that’s true.

Our brains are hardwired to continue with what is familiar because familiar, even if it’s not ideal, is safer than the unknown.

Now that you understand that certain events trigger memories and responses and that your brain will form a response to these memories designed to keep you safe, let me give you some real life examples of how this works.

If you’ve ever tried to change your eating habits or start a new exercise program and experience resistance, it’s because your brain is fighting to keep you in familiar territory. If you’ve ever found yourself dating the same person over and over again, that’s because your brain recognizes the familiar pattern, even if you’re saying you never want to date anybody like them ever again.

Or how about those uncomfortable dynamics that keep repeating themselves over and over with your parents? You know how your mom is, yet you find yourself walking into the same guilt trap over and over again. It’s because for your brain, continuing this familiar pattern is much safer and much easier and takes a lot less energy than learning something new.

Breaking Free From the Lizard Brain

So how do you break free from your lizard brain? I got to tell you, it’s with lots of practice and also lots of patience.

When I first started dating, I was so focused on not dating anybody like my dad that I ended up dating men exactly like him. I mean, I dated the same man four times, y’all. I kid you not before I actually thought to take a look at myself and to ask what I was doing.

Don’t get me wrong, each man was an improvement, a little bit better than the one before, but they were all emotionally unavailable, deeply insecure and couldn’t love me in the way that I was looking to be loved.

Healing and Self-Reflection

I started reading relationship and self-help books and ended up going to therapy and I learned that we repeat the same patterns over and over again because they’re familiar…that lizard brain.

There’s also a dynamic that happens in romantic relationships in particular, where we unconsciously try to heal broken relationships with our parents through our partners. And it tends to never work because we’re subconsciously repeating the same unhealthy patterns that we learned, hoping for a different result. Why? Because they’re familiar.

So how did I break this pattern of relating? First, I started to notice my behavior without judgment or criticism. And that was really, really hard to do.

I knew that if I wanted to make a change, I had to begin to recognize the pattern and the way in which I was engaging with people. As easy as it would have been to blame everybody else, all the people that I had dated, one thing was irrefutable. I was the common denominator. Once I recognized my patterns, I asked myself why I was doing what I was doing. Why was I choosing the people I was choosing? And I had to get really honest about my feelings.

And I recognized that I just wanted to be loved and that I was allowing people to stay around me with the hope of experiencing love. I also recognize that I would allow them to stay around longer than I really wanted to, or that I really thought was best because I was afraid that if I cut off the relationship, I’d never find what I was looking for, even though I didn’t have it in the present relationship. Again, I had to get honest about what I was feeling and I had to learn not to judge myself.

It’s so easy to look back at these thoughts and to shame myself. It was also really hard to admit these things to myself initially because a part of me knew I deserved better, but a larger part of me didn’t think I was able to get better. I didn’t think better was available for me.

Ultimately, I was letting the unhealed part of my childhood run the show. The unhealed little girl who just wanted to be chosen and loved was leading the way in my dating life.

Lastly I had to get to work on healing myself and after recognizing the feelings that were coming up, I knew right where to begin.

Preventing the Unhealed Parts from Running the Show

For me, it was important to understand on the intellectual level what I had experienced in childhood and how it was showing up for me.

So I read many books on psychology, trauma and healing. But then I actually had to do the inner work, the somatic work, the emotional healing work.

Transformation and Creating the Future You Want

And then that’s when things started to really shift. When I started talking to the little girl inside of me who needed to be acknowledged and loved and tended to, things started to shift. I asked her what.

I told her that her needs weren’t too much. I acknowledged the many times her needs weren’t met and informed her that it wasn’t her fault. I reminded her that her parents are people too and that they had their own feelings and healing to do. I told her it was okay to be sad, it was okay to want, and it was okay to be hurt. I also told her to look how far we had come together and that it was okay for her to let go of some of the hurt and pain she had experienced in order to live fully in this present moment.

I worked with a coach who used timeline techniques and Reiki and read my Akashic records. I went to yoga, started meditating, although not consistently, and surrounded myself with people who were interested in healing.

I got intentional about dating and I learned to listen to how I was feeling. I still have moments where I get swept up in the past, but now I recognize it much faster. I can tell when the unhealed little girl in me is taking charge and I quickly acknowledge her and give her the space she needs to be seen so that she can ultimately step back.

So to recap, to prevent the unhealed part of me from running the show and dating, I observed my actions, I identified my feelings, and then I got to work on healing. I surrounded myself with the support system I needed to break through the neural pathways that had been formed years ago because I wanted something different.

It wasn’t enough to want, I had to work with my brain to make it happen. For you, maybe your unhealed self isn’t running the show and dating, but maybe she’s showing up in your conversations about money, or does she step forward when you have to deal with your difficult parents? Is she showing up in your workplace, making it difficult for you to trust or work with your colleagues? Or does she show up when you’re running your business or when you think about switching careers?

Where are you letting the unhealed parts of yourself run the show? Where are you letting your childhood money wounds make adult financial decisions? Where are you letting your unhealed parent-child dynamics send you into a tailspin when your parents do the same thing they’ve always done for the past 20 years? You know how they are.

Where are you letting your fear of being hurt keep you from fully engaging in relationships.

Where are you letting your fear of being seen keep you playing small?

Your lizard brain is in the way, but the good news is I understand how to work with your lizard brain to create the change you want to see in your life. So many of my one-on-one clients have come to me for these exact situations and in six weeks we’ve been able to transform their relationship dynamics and communication styles.

This same transformation is available to you too.

All you have to do is to go to ashawilkerson.com/coaching and book a coaching inquiry call.

We’ll start from there and then make a plan to make the future you want a reality.

And remember, it’s because I’ve healed that I’ve been able to repair old relationships and start new ones from a different perspective. It’s because I’ve healed that I’ve been able to leave expectations behind that no longer serve me. It’s because I’ve healed that I’m currently living my dream life out loud with no regrets.

 

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