For some people, overcoming the past can be extremely difficult. Negative experiences have a way of imprinting themselves on us and affecting our lives in the present and into the future. In a sense, we become what happened to us, and that’s tragic. It’s tragic because it doesn’t have to be that way. There are things that we can do to overcome the past and break free from its grip.
Think of this – Every time you think about and imagine your past, you re-infect yourself with it. You re-link to the patterns of thought, behaviors and emotions attached to those past experiences. The more you turn things over in your mind, the more intense the experience becomes. And the probability of it happening again increases, because you get into the habit of generating and re-creating the same bad emotions.
It is the emotions attached to areas of your life that make life difficult.
Let’s say you’re sitting on the couch one evening. You see something on television that reminds you of a negative event from the past. Instantly, you see a mental image of that event in your head. This mental image generates the negative emotions associated with that event. Anger, sorrow, fear, rage, vengefulness, despair, it could be anything or a mix of several emotions. Almost right away, your breathing gets shallower and your body creates stress hormones and dumps them into your bloodstream. What is the result of these physiological changes? More negative thoughts – you get more and more stuck to images of your past. It becomes a vicious circle.
Where do you put your focus and intent?
Your mind and body will follow your intent. Intent is not just positive thinking. Positive thinking alone doesn’t work. You have to bring your body with you.
One way is to interrupt the patterns with deep breathing or vigorous exercise. Another way is to interject other thoughts into the images. There is a simple exercise on one way to do this described in another post of mine that you can read here. You can also dive into your emotions more deeply to help let them go, as I describe in my post on people with sensitive personalities.
Another great thing to do is to make a flowchart of your patterns. There is a sample of one on the post I just mentioned. Get a piece of paper and write things down using boxes and arrows. What is it that sets off the cascade of negative thoughts and emotions that ruins your mood and your life? Find a way, any way, to break the pattern and do it consistently. Consistency is very important.
When struggling with the past, the hardest thing is to change momentum. Like a heavy stone rolling on the sidewalk in the wrong direction. First you have to apply effort to slow it down before you get it moving in the direction you want. That’s basically how it works with emotions and attachment to the past. That’s what I observed in myself, anyways.
As you create a stronger intent, your mind and body will start to follow the new direction.
To create a strong intent, you have to make changes in every aspect of your life. What you eat, how you exercise, how you relate to other people, how you deal with what comes up, and, most importantly, HOW YOU THINK.
If you don’t change your thinking and all you do is read self-help books and go through the motions of making a few lame-ass changes, it won’t be enough. It never was for me, when I tried it.
IN ORDER TO OVERCOME THE PAST AND MOVE INTO THE FUTURE WITH FREEDOM, YOU HAVE TO MAKE REAL PERSONAL CHANGE.
Why is this so? Because by constantly reliving the past, what you’ve done is created a state called learned helplessness. You feel helpless, but you’re not. You only think you’re helpless because of the bad habits and ideas you’ve been drilling into yourself for so long on a daily basis.
Many people like to say “think positive,” and think they’re “therapists.” After gaining a lot of personal experiene and trying things out, I say change your thinking and change yourself. Take a look at some of my other articles for extra help, if you need it. I’m aiming to provide as much good information on positive personal change as I can.
Self-transformation is the only way to overcome the past. In fact, it’s the only true way to overcome any negative aspect of our lives. Bad relationships, inability to attract people, fear of public speaking, social anxiety, and so on…
The choice is yours, really. What are you going to do about it NOW?
I say that because if you don’t make a decision NOW, you probably never will. So why not go for it and see what happens?