Do You Anticipate The Old?

Do You Anticipate The Old?

One of my favorite jobs in college was a barista at the coffee shop on campus.  I loved the job because a) everyone is excited to see you…they need their caffeine! B) As a broke college student I always got free pastries and coffee and c) Everyone was so chatty and happy once you gave them their double shot 3 pump latte that you just felt the love.

It’s been about 15 years since I had that job, but every time I have a certain coffee drink prepared just a certain way, I can literally almost taste the memory of that job before my first sip.  I start to anticipate the old even a decade and a half later and even before the coffee touches my lips, I’m flooded with memories from that time of my life.

I anticipate the old.  And in this case, it’s a good thing.  I remember a time of being carefree, fewer responsibilities and many, many late nights.

But what happens if the memory isn’t good? What happens if anticipating the old actually brings sadness, anger or hurt right into our present life?

This is unfortunately something I see in my Sacramento Therapy offices more often than not.  I see couples that are so injured from past hurts in their relationship, that present communication doesn’t have a chance to survive.  They’ve already clouded the present interaction before it’s even began.

You see, hurt and injuries happen in relationships.  And it’s devastating.  But it’s even more destructive when present communication fails because we’re so busy anticipating the old, that we fail to respond to the dialogue in front of us.

When we anticipate the old, we rush to judge. We rush to assume.  And we rush to react.  We’re so flooded by what’s happened before, that we fail to hear and see what is happening right in front of us. 

And nothing kills communication quicker than that.

So what do you do?  How do you stop anticipating the old?

Well, first you need to address the old injury that keeps getting dug up.  You’ve got to address what is bringing up the pain of the past in order to move forward from it.

Second, you need to slow down as you enter new dialogue.  Rushing to respond or react is typically a recipe for disaster.  In order to stop anticipating the old, you need to be able to hear what’s actually being said in the present.  Slowing down the pace is a huge step to success.

Last you need to get curious.  Why does this situation seem the same? How is it different?  What can be changed to make the outcome of this dialogue different than in the past?  Being curious allows us to make more sense of why we may keep anticipating the old and how this new interaction is likely different.

Please reach out if you’re struggling with this in your relationship.  I promise you, anticipating the old in new communication is an absolutely essential hurdle that has to be overcome in order to be successful in love.

As always, I want to know what your journey in love and connection is like.   That’s why I do this work.  Send me an email, or give me a call, 916.955.3200.