You Are Not Your Past June 18, 2015 – Posted in: Personal Development, Relationships – Tags: advice, change, coaching, compassion, confidence, failure, fear, growth, past, Positive psychology, purpose
You are not your past. Do you know that? You’re not your past.
Your past is an influencing factor in your present – we all have memories locked away that can trigger learnt (automatic) responses today – but you are not your past unless you choose to live there.
What do I mean by this? I mean that some people have chosen to become identified by their history and use it as a reason and an excuse for the problems they experience today. I did this for years and it did me no favours.
As a culture we blame our childhoods for our adulthoods thereby excusing ourselves from taking adult responsibility for our lives today. I’m all for therapy – we need to get painful memories out – but once the pain is out we need to claim our freedom by making choices to think and act in healthy, self-loving, responsible ways.
I have a client who was dumped horribly by an ex-girlfriend in his mid-twenties. The pain of this memory (over ten years ago) is stopping him from trusting and committing to his current girlfriend for fear of being hurt again. This is a classic example of allowing the past to poison the present. So, how could he do this differently?
He could choose to forgive his ex-girlfriend, which, in turn, will release him from his resentment and pain.
He could choose to tell his current girlfriend of his fears – honestly and truthfully telling her that his fear is holding him back but he’s working on it because he values his relationship with her. He could choose to have a day where he’s not scared – try on a fear-free frame for 24 hours – and see how it feels.
He could choose a present (one day at a time) that is free of the past.
We only have today, after all. The past is gone and the future is unknown. The most peaceful, wonderful, happy lives are lived in the present.