Harmed by Your Past? Here are Five Things You Can Do About It.
As a therapist, my job is to help people get unstuck from their problems and overcome the obstacles in their lives, and contrary to the prevailing belief, I do not enjoy talking about my client’s mothers. But I do have a passion for people experiencing freedom and joy in their lives so this is what I tell my clients:
When our past gets into our future we need to deal with it.
The truth is, our past always gets into our future. Some of us were blessed with parents, teachers, and mentors that spoke into us beautiful life affirming truths that empower us to live full and prosperous lives. This is a positive example of having our past affect our future.
However, some of us did not get that kind of input when we were young. We were fed on a diet of lies and treated in a way that hindered our development. This is when we need to talk about mothers, as well as other influential people and experiences from our past.
But how do we know if our past is hanging us up? It’s not as if our parents are going to come to us and say; “you know that thing I said about you when you were five, I was wrong!” No, they are probably just as unconscious about how they injured you as you are about how you were injured. These kinds of wounds rarely reveal themselves plainly so they can be understood and dealt with. Rather, they stealthily sabotage our relationships, careers and emotional well-being. Sometimes we need to look backward to go forward.
So how do you know when you need to look backward to go forward? Here are some clues.
- You have a recurring argument with your spouse that never resolves
- You have an over reaction to something someone said or did.
- You are anxious, depressed or fearful for no good reason
- You can’t find the motivation to do the things you want to do
These are some symptoms of having a harmful past. If so, here are five things you can do about it.
- Become aware: Don’t dismiss unexplained emotions or irrational feelings just because they are uncomfortable.
- Challenge the status quo: Our childhood experiences and programming often becomes our “dysfunctional normal”. Challenge what is not working in your life.
- Ask yourself this question: What belief is at the core of this feeling or circumstance?
- Seek help: We often can’t see what we can’t see, a third party perspective can break us out this.
- Don’t give up: Replacing past harmful programming is often a long, slow process. Most of us have been living with these lies for years — they aren’t going to give up their stranglehold on us easily. Be persistent. What your mind learned it can also unlearn.
There is freedom if you choose to be courageous in seeking it. You’ve only got one life. Don’t let someone or something from your past keep you from living it to the fullest.
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