Have you ever heard someone say “like mother, like daughter” or “like father, like son”?
Generational chains are the behaviours and beliefs we carry from what our parents, our grandparents, our great grandparents, etc, etc. Many of these beliefs and behaviours are subconscious so chances are you don’t even know that you’re carrying them around. And since your family believes and does the same thing you consider it to be normal. But is it really….
One way I like to describe a generational chain is with “The Look”, you know the one, its the one that your mum gives you when you are about to get into really big trouble or it’s the look you know that when you receive it you must stop or risk certain death. Now the look doesn’t appear in any parenting manual, but we all know it well. So where did it come from, well I personally don’t know and I am not sure it is something that history considered to catalogue but I like the perspective that one woman developed it, other women saw how effective it was and adopted it and now hundreds of years later ‘The Look’ is now given by every mother on every continent of the world. This simple behaviour controlling strategy has withstood the trials of time, has crossed continents and differing beliefs and values. Now tell me what else has had the power and potential to create such change in the behaviour of children everywhere.
So where did we learn the look, well from our Mum of course and where did she learn it, well her Mum. It gave a consistent result based on what as a Mother we wanted to generate, a child stopping a particular behaviour in their tracks. But not all generational chains are so worldly accepted. Most commonly recognised generational chains are noticed when it accompanies a socially frowned upon behaviour, such as alcoholism, physical or mental abuse, potentially even smoking, these traits are generally considered to be undesirable.
Being referred to as like our Mother or Father, generally speaking is usually something we strongly deny as we like to consider ourselves individual, separate from our parents. But in truth we are just the behavioural and belief makeup of our parents unless we take conscious action to change it.
Breaking the generational chain is also sometimes referred to as breaking free of the Tribe. It is the basic human desire to belong, we don’t want to be alone. Back in the dark ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth, being alone pretty much meant death, so the safety of the tribe was not only important but life depended on it. Now our major threats to life come from more trivial sources, but the desire to fit in a box still remains. Ironically, it seems when it comes to our parents, when we rebel in our teenage years the desire to be as different as we can from our parents seem to be the call of the day, whilst our friends become our new tribe to fit into. Further still, we will most likely find ourselves in a group of friends that share similar values and beliefs and guess where we obtained those from, yep, our parents.
The dinosaurs died a long time ago but our brain processes have remained the same.
It’s not intentional that we replicate our parents and their beliefs and behaviours, but they’re like our default factory settings. From when we are very young we know these behaviour patterns have brought us acceptance so therefore we know they are safe and when challenged if we are unaware consciously of the change taking place, you will always traverse back to what is safe and familiar.
As previously mentioned generation chains such as abuse are more easily identifiable and people are more inclined to change them. Some others have been changed due to society, consider how smacking children has changed in recent times. The chains which can really effect the way in which we live our lives are the ones that we can’t see quite so clearly. Some of these include beliefs in relation to money (do you believe you have to work hard for money?), how to treat friends and people in general, what sport we play, etc. They are hidden in our day to day activities and actions so if you are not in the habit of asking yourself why you do what you do or are in a period of ‘midlife crisis’ where you are questioning everything, then they are likely to remain hidden.
So I guess the questions remains, how do we break generational chains. Well the process is pretty simple, it requires us to start asking ourselves why and potentially seeking new information to see if someone else has the results we want but having had accrued them in a different way. If you believe you need to work hard for money, and working hard means staying in a job you don’t enjoy, then there are many, many examples of people making great money doing what they love to do that you can observe, therefore you begin to notice that your belief may not be true. Breaking the chains requires you to seek examples or proof that who you truly are and what you’re wanting in your life can be achieved in a way you may never had considered to be possible before. Its about deciding to want something different and chasing after that with all your heart.
Apart from this, you will also be required to let go of everything you thought you were and allow space for new possibility to shine, new options to show up ready for you to embrace. At times this means changing the people we hang around with for a period of time until we then learn the lessons in relation to accepting everyone where they are without judgement. We are all unique and perfectly placed on our journeys and if you are wanting to experience something different chase it and you may inspire others to do the same.
Before you start thinking that all generational chains are bad, some like ‘The Look’ do still serve us and as a parent I have a feeling that ‘The Look’ will be around for the foreseeable future, ready for all the Mums and Dads to cast at their children. Based on where you are in your life you will mostly likely have other chains which are serving you at the moment. The key here is to be aware of them to the point where if at any time in the future they are holding you back from getting the results you seek in life, you know that they can be changed.
Nothing in life is permanent. Like nature we are ever changing, whether it’s a new wrinkle or grey hair, nothing ever stays the same, we must allow ourselves the opportunity to grow. To hold ourselves back only creates adversity, it is through resisting change when life is trying to drag us forward that things become more difficult. Its much easier to hold a child’s hand if your not dragging them. Likewise don’t drag yourself along through life it’s easier to walk with the flow of life.
Unlocking your generational chains is something that is easily done through Life Coaching. Coaches are like human belief hunters, we understand the importance that beliefs play in creating the life you want or identifying what is holding you back. Reach out to a coach you resonate with to break the chains which are currently holding you stuck in a less than desireable life.
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