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  • Writer's pictureHeather Lee Angland

Talking 'bout our generations!

Some of what makes you who you are has been passed down from generation to generation, whether you want it or not!

blonde girl smiling and holding up hands
My family - I think around 2008 maybe?

I don't know about you, but family photos make me both smile and cringe! I mean I love seeing a photo of us together, but also, we don't usually look that awkward ;-)

So let's talk about generational patterns - the stuff you have been gifted with (like it or not), from your family, outside of your DNA.

Your identity.

Your beliefs, and the habits that support those beliefs, are your identity - like your own personal Instagram filter.

Your identity literally determines how you see the world outside of you and your experience of it.

So where does your identity actually come from? Well, you gather things up over the years of your life and experiences that create your beliefs, your personality traits, those little quirks we all have.... and a lot of this also comes from your family. Generational patterns.

Generational patterns.

What the heck is a generational pattern? Well it can be a belief, perspective, behaviour, lifestyle, action, attitude, or tradition, that is passed down from generation to generation. Learned behaviour that has made it's way from generations before, and all the way to you.

Now there are lots of obvious generational patterns, particularly when it comes to your specific culture and traditions. However, there are some that are not so obvious, until you zoom out and think about what are the norms in your family that maybe you don't see in your friends, colleagues, neighbours?

Don't forget - these patterns can be positive, negative, or neutral (of little significance).

Why do generational patterns matter?

“We know what we are, but not what we may be.” - William Shakespeare

Put simply, they matter because they make up part of your identity, but they aren't something you have chosen. They are engrained in you and worth identifying to check that it is something you want to keep as a part of you.

You have absorbed these patterns without even being aware of it. And some of them are awesome and what makes you fabulous. However, chances are, you have also inherited some that you might prefer not to have.

How to identify the patterns.

This bit is actually a lot of fun. Take some time to explore what parts of you are patterns that have been passed through generations in your family. Sit back and think about all of the things you can recognise in yourself and other family members (particularly parents and grandparents), that are the norm in your family.

Write down everything you can think of. Just make a list and don't think about it all too much at this point.

You might enjoy having a chat with another family member or even bringing it up at a family dinner, if that is something you all enjoy together. Get everyone involved and it could end up bringing up some interesting stories from generations past.

Your next step is to identify which patterns you love and which you are not a huge fan of. Simply mark each item on your list with a heart or an X.

Breaking the patterns.

Depending on the pattern you want to break, this part can be difficult. Reason being, this is a part of you, and your family, so it can feel scary and uncomfortable to make changes. To step outside of what is considered the norm in your family and create a new pattern for you, and for future generations.

You might also not know how to do things differently.

The best thing you can do first is to remember how much power there is in your choice to change. How much power there is in not passing this pattern down to the next generation. The power of ending the cycle with you.

Like any change in habit we want to make, start small. What is one small thing you can start doing differently today to move towards the change you want to create in your life?

You can do anything you decide to do. Make the decision and the rest will follow.

If you would like some help to make healthy changes in your life, book me in here for a free mini coaching session.

If you would like to hear about some of the generational patterns I have discovered (and changed) in my life, have a listen to our most recent Glow Get It podcast episode here.

Above all else, remember there is only one you, and you get to decide who you are.

I'd love to hear what patterns you have identified in your family - comment below.

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