Dealing With The Past

“Your past will continue to be your future if you drag it along with you.” David Bach Life is a series of events tied with a common thread, us. In my experience as a counselor, most of our issues stem from past events and issues that we dealt with. Mom and Dad didn’t give me enough…love, freedom, respect or whatever. I was cheated on, dumped, disrespected, abandoned and so it goes, there are as many issues as people. These are explanations, justifications, reasons for our present behavior, the truth is these are just excuses.

As adults we have the power, ability, capability to choose what we want in our life. The truth about the past, our past, is that it is exactly that the past. A good friend once told me “we need to give up the dream of a better past.” Our past is a fact of life; it just is, neither good nor bad, unless we say it is. My belief is that we can’t go back into the past and fix whatever is the problem it is not possible. The chance to fix that particular problem is past.

What we need to do is figure out how that problem is affecting us now, in the present. How is it influencing our lives today? What can we do about it? In the today we have a choice, an opportunity to do something about what it is that is keeping us stuck in the past. We can choose to let the past be done, just let it go. This is ok only as long as we truly are letting it go. We can’t be holding onto grudges, pains, slights, resentments and anger, we need to really be able to say that is ok. If not, then the issue is still influencing our present and future.

We must realize that we are in control of ourselves, in control of our lives. When we take control of our life we can ask the question what do I need to be happy, to be healed, to let go of this? For some it is just that easy, we say I am in control of me not my past. Others have a harder time with letting it go.

They need to look at their lives and what has happened since the issue. Is it all bad? I would guess not. There must have been some good times. Are these good times in spite of or because of the issue? The experiences in our lives make us who we are today so the things that struggle with in our past are part of all parts of today the good and the bad.

Acceptance of this allows us to be more understanding and accepting of our lives. Some individuals may need some more extensive work perhaps some inner child interventions. This is where you as an adult need to go back and talk to your younger self. What is it that he or she needs from you now? How can you nurture and support that little you? Are there things he or she needs to here, to know, to understand and that you as the adult can help them with? Sometimes all it takes is to say, “it’s ok, you are safe, I am here for you.”

The past is the past, beyond our capability to change. The future is the future, influenced by our present. The present is the golden time for here we have a chance. It is only in the present, in the moment that we have a choice, a moment to decide how we want our life to go from here. We can choose to be or do whatever we please.

How To Make A Deliberate Change?

Posted by Dallas Munkholm

"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." William James In today’s world nothing is more certain then change. We are always changing. Some changes we choose, others are thrust upon us with little choice, others we think we don’t have any power in the decision to change but we do. In fact, we always have a choice, just at times it seems that the one choice is totally unacceptable and so we feel we have no choice.

For example, either you take this different position or you don’t work here anymore. Or you need to change or your spouse/friend will leave. These really don’t feel like choices do they? Yet, the decision is ours. How bad do we need that job? Will we stick to our position or take the new one, our choice. Are we willing to stand our ground with our spouse or do we feel more value in changing, again, our choice.

So how to make a deliberate change? To change something in our life we need four basic things: an awareness of something to be changed, a desire to change, information regarding the change, and action. So most of are aware when things need to be different, the question then becomes do we want to do something about it, a desire. The next thing is information, very specific information.

Our brain does not deal to well with abstract generalities, if I say I need to lose weight and step on the scale and I’ve lost a pound, I’m done, I’ve lost weight. We need to know what do we want to change, a specific behavior or belief, we need to know why, what is wrong with us the way we are. Then what do we want instead, again, specifics, why, how when and what. What have we tried, what worked or didn’t and why. Once we have gathered this information we need a plan of action.

Most of us have no problem figuring out the first two, some of us get to parts of the information gathering but most of us fall down in the action part. If we want something different in our lives we have to do something different. This allows us to take control of our lives and that makes us less anxious.

Why don’t most of us do something when we have gathered the information? Well, Joe Vitale, says the reason most of us don’t do something is fear. Fear of something different happening, we don’t know what is coming at us, fear of trying and failing, fear of trying and succeeding. Sometimes we fear the reactions of others in our life, spouses, partners, family, parents, friends, bosses and co-workers, the list is as long as we want to make it.

It is this fear that leads to a final point about change. For most of us changing things in our lives is relatively simple until we come up against our personal lives, our beliefs, our hopes and fears and those things we hold close and dear. Then our decision to make a change is harder, we feel threatened or afraid and decision-making skills suffer.

Change will never happen in your life until the pain of staying the same outweighs the fear of change, fear of the unknown. We need pain as a motivator for some reason. We often struggle with making our own choices stick, pain will change that. When we are in enough pain and distress that fear no longer stops us; that is when we will make a change.