WHO'S DRIVING YOUR BUS?
TRANSCRIBED FROM ORIGINAL WRITING FOR EP 10 OF THE CORPORATE DROPOUT PODCAST.
I think our pasts haunt us more than they would have a generation or two ago because of the times we live in. For one, we freely share our lives on social media, and the internet has a very long memory. And two, we live in a cancel culture - where things people have said or done in the past make them unforgivable, unwatchable, unloveable. If their past actions or words are counter to what the popular opinion of the time is, they simply must be cancelled. And sure, some actions or words may actually be unforgivable and warrant the cancellation, but generally… I think not. Why? Because the foundation of this logic (or lack thereof) is that we are the same person now that we were whenever we committed the past sin.
What a fallacy that is.
We are all constantly evolving - for better or worse - and we all have past versions of ourselves - both good and bad. Speaking to my own past, I can assure you that I am a very different version of Alessia today as a mom, wife and professional than the version who liked to party in college, or the version in Chicago during my early to mid twenties.
I want to be measured by my growth and contributions to the world and those around me - not by the past versions that may make me want to hide away. Worth noting that those past versions also helped SHAPED me into today’s latest and greatest version, so I try to find gratitude for my past and to give myself grace and forgiveness when those cringey versions pop up to say hello.
That being said, it can be really easy to cower to the pieces of us that we want to hide, and in doing so, hide the best parts of us too.
Past versions being exposed and brought to light can be terrifying and stop us from moving forward. Funny story: I wanted to be in Congress or the Senate when I was in high school but I’ve joked that I’d never be able to make a run for office because there are too many photos of me in college floating around somewhere on Facebook where I’m doing keg stands. Now whether or not that’s true is another story, but nevertheless it’s a story I’ve told myself and bought into.
Past versions can also create imposter syndrome. For example, the goal of this podcast (and what I know my calling is) is to empower women and remind them of the badass they have living inside. And honestly, one of the biggest things that made me hesitate in starting this podcast and stepping into my calling was an old version of me who gossiped and talked shit on other women. My imposter syndrome would say, who are you to be a coach and women’s empowerment champion when you used to talk badly about other women?!
I look back on the version of me who said those things and my first inclination is to cringe. To feel guilt and shame. To tell myself there is no way I can do what I know I’m meant to do because of this skeleton in my mental closet.
But my next inclination is to be compassionate. When I was in that place, I was full of self loathing. I was hurting inside. And hurt people, hurt people. The things I’d say were PROJECTIONS of my own issues onto others who didn’t deserve it. I’m not saying that makes it okay, but it’s definitely helped me to be more compassionate now to others who have parts of their pasts that they too aren’t proud of and are being held back by.
If we let these old versions of us hold us back out of fear, then we cannot and will not embrace our future, nor our calling. And that’s not fair to the person we are becoming, nor to those who benefit from our gifts when we live in the light and do it all out.
Leveling with you, I really didn’t want to record this episode. As the host of a show that’s geared towards uplifting other women, it’s extremely uncomfortable and hard to admit publicly that there have been times when I was quite frankly, a catty bitch.
But this morning I got the sign that I needed to speak this into the world. I received a text from a dear friend. Pause this now if you’re listening with kids…. But just last night I was telling her that I am so excited to see her step into a place of giving zero fucks. And lo and behold, this morning she sends me a screenshot of a text thread that she woke up. Here’s what happened. She’s in a group text and two people in it forgot that she was in it, too. And they started talking shit on her! So she made her presence known and called it out. She sent me their one off replies. One owned up that she is in a bad place and you could tell the apology was genuine and that this was a lesson or light bulb moment that was needed. The other one, wasn’t there yet. She was just sorry she got caught. Again… hurt people hurt people.
So, here is the point. We ALL have said or done things we regret. That we aren’t proud of or that we are maybe even ashamed of. But if you’ve evolved out of that behavior? You need to be kind to that past version of yourself.
There is a concept I think is very helpful here so I’m going to put my coaching hat on for a moment.
I recently completed a coaching certification with Cayla Craft of Mommy Millionaire and Dr. Jenn Chrisman. There were so many impactful learnings but one that really resonated with me was this concept of the passengers on the bus. This metaphor helps to explain how the past versions of us or past states of being can influence us today.
Let me give you an example. I’ve told you about my strict Italian dad on past episodes. We have a great relationship today, but I grew up feeling controlled and rather powerless... because at home, I was. If I’m not aware of that version of me - Little Alessia - guess what happens when I feel invalidated, controlled or powerless now? the inner child who is longing for control, power or validation will take the wheel.
When she drives the bus, she might cause me to fall into people pleasing behavior, to get angry, to be disobedient or even spiteful. Becoming aware of this pattern allows me to give her what she needs. If I ignore her, she gets louder. If I stop the bus to fight with her (which looks a lot like getting frustrated or mad at myself), I also stop moving towards my desired destination.But when I give her what she needs, she gets quiet and I keep driving to the destination I’ve chosen.
So how do you embrace your old versions and give them what they need? Think about who you’ve been throughout your life so far. Visualize these past versions of you. Gently and non-judgmentally check-in with them - what needs weren’t met that made them act the way they did? Go into your mind, visualize your highest self spending time with those past versions of you and meet their needs now. What that looks like for me is as I heal some of my issues from childhood, is I’ll picture my favorite childhood memories. I envision highest self doing those things and playing with 4 year old me. Cuddling with her, reading to her, validating her. This may all sound woo-woo and I realize that different things work for different people, but it’s been a game changer for me personally.
So remember, the past versions of you are passengers on your bus and they always will be. Have compassion for yourself and those versions of you. Become aware of them. Acknowledge them. Spend time with them.
And as a side note, be warned that the versions you don’t particularly like will usually pop up when you’re getting ready to LEVEL UP. If you’re unaware of them, they’ll start driving the bus. They’ll take you on a detour and find a way to sabotage you.
Bottom line: we all have baggage and wounds, and we’d all be a lot better off if we stopped judging ourselves and each other for our past and our present.
As the Bible says, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
We all have our shit. And no one talks about it. Which is why I am! And trust me, I am still working through lots of things and I’m far from perfect, but I’m done pretending I am, and I want you to be done with it too.
So in closing, don’t let your past hold you back anymore. Embrace your past, and embrace your future.