Don't Let Your Past Pigeonhole Your Future

Danny Arguetty
Don't Let Your Past Pigeonhole Your Future

One of my favorite aspects of yoga is that it provides me with a way to step back, contemplate, and track whether the choices I am making off the mat are life-enhancing or life-detracting.

One of the most impactful awareness on the mat has been how I sometimes use outdated stories or beliefs about my body to influence my practice, and how much can shift when I engage my postures from a place of present moment intention. The same is also true in my interactions with others.

How Your Beliefs Influence Your Interactions

Last summer, while driving with my family to lunch in Malibu, California, we noticed the heavy traffic on the other side of the road. Comments were made on how we'll take how a different route on the way back to avoid the standstill. After a delicious meal at a farm-to-table restaurant at the tip of the Malibu pier, we went for a stunning 45-minute hike full of sun, sand, and a cool ocean breeze.

Back in the car about three hours later, we were heading back. I pulled up Google Maps to checkout the traffic situation. The road we had taken going there was now flowing and completely clear. I informed the driver and was surprised that even with this new data, she chose to alter our route in case there was traffic.

I knew that the new way would take us substantially longer—and it did—but I decided not to insist.

The Pigeonhole

What the situation made me think of is the idea of the pigeonhole; how we often use past experience and old data to confine ourselves and others in the present.

Even if someone who has acted one way in the past is trying to show up in a different way, we don't receive it. We stay so stuck dwelling on old outdated information and miss an opportunity to reignite a more nourishing connection.

In various relationships—family, friends, dating—I find myself thinking, "You always" do this or "you never" do that, when in reality it's not true.

The way they acted one or two times became inflated and inflamed in a successful attempt to pigeonhole how the person reacts to certain situations.

While it is important to not negate the past completely, it can also become extremely toxic when we continually blame ourselves or others for something that is no longer an issue, or something that has been forgiven and healed.

Where in your life and relationships have you confined someone because they acted in a certain way a few times? Were you so caught up in the story bolstering your case with old data that you are actually closing the door on something magical, refreshing, or new?

Think back, evaluate, and reflect on your answers. Be wary of the pigeonhole. It can be found on and off the mat!

Image Credit: Jeviniya