There is no going back. No way to erase our past, make different choices, take different action. The past is, well, the past, it is what it is. Before stepping on this path I used the stories from my past to back up the narrative that I wanted to tell, that I was a victim. I would use it to try to manipulate people to get what I want, to get them to feel sorry for me, or show them how I had been wronged. In reality, most of that past, those stories, I played a big part in, but I couldn’t see that when I was living in the dark, I wasn’t willing to. I used my past as an excuse to act out, to act badly, or to not act at all. If someone called me out on my behavior I would cite a time from my past that I thought justified what I had done in the present, and by doing that I was letting my past have power over me, I was also letting it affect my present by continuing those behaviors and mimicking those situations over and over. It wasn’t until I made the commitment to get better, to live my life in the light, to be honest, to everyone, especially myself, that I realized that how my past affected me could be changed.
Instead of walking around with shame, anger, or frustration about my past, I learned to take responsibility for my part, and in most cases I did have a part. As soon as I was old enough to have a choice my part was all over the negative places in my past. I had chosen to engage with certain people, I had chosen not to follow through on what I promised, I had chosen to lie or manipulate someone or a situation, I had chosen to steal, I had chosen to…well, the list went on. It was hard to look at that list at first, because I had crafted my whole identity around being a victim, and even when I could see my part, I would justify it because I was a victim. Getting better for me meant stopping the blame, pointing the finger back at me and asking what I could have done better, and where I had no choice, looking at what I could learn from that person or situation that I could use going forward. If there wasn’t anything, I had to learn to accept it and I had to learn to forgive, the other person, and, myself. Tall order right? It seems so when you think about how much life you’ve lived, and how much damage has been done, but when you break it down, and write it down, and really look at it, look for the patterns, what that gives you is some very useful information about yourself. It shows you where you tend to fall, where you tend to back down, where the action does not serve you, and were you’re not honest. It shows you all of that, but the good part of that is if you make a choice to not continue that behavior, you now know what to look out for, so when you’re about to fall back on those old behaviors, a warning should pop up, it should seem familiar, and it’s at that moment that you should think about your next move and what the next right action is. Now, when I first started doing this, sometimes I didn’t know, so I had to pause to think about it, or in some cases, reach out to someone else and ask for help. As I always say, life is not a game show, there is no prize for the fastest response, so if you’re unsure of what to do or say, pause, and if you’re still unsure you can certainly say that you don’t have an answer at the moment and will get back to the person, or need to step away. As simple as that. Change takes time, and you have to give yourself the gift of time to get into the habit of being honest, and looking for the right thing to do or say instead of falling back into old habits.
When we practice taking the right actions, for us, and also considering the other person, our past tends to be less of a collection of bad memories and experiences. We take responsibility for actions and when we are wrong, we admit it and make it right if we can, or, at the very least, apologize or make an amends. Our past cannot be changed, but when we change our present it no longer affects us the it had because we are no longer that person, we are striving to be better, and more honest about who we are, those mistakes from our past no longer hold power over us because we admit to our mistakes, and, we have let them go. Move forward SLAYER, learn about yourself from those experiences, and in doing so let go, and how you think about your past. You do have control over what your past means to you, and how it affects you today. Take what you can from it, and discard the rest, what’s important is the decisions you’re making today, and how you move forward from this point on. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: When you think about your past is it mainly negative? Why is that? Write down three big moments from your past you think affects you the most. Did you have a choice in being in that situation? If yes, why did you choose to be there? Why did you make the choices you did within that situation? Where you being honest and true to yourself in those choices? What can you do differently today to make better choices for yourself? If you did not have a choice, how can you find forgiveness, in yourself, or perhaps the other person(s) involved? Or, how can you move on from something in your past that holds you back? Sometimes it helps to have someone help you, for me that came in the form of a counselor, as well as some trusted friends, and people who shared their experiences with me, so look for ways and people who may be able to help you through this process, there is no shame in asking for help, I certainly needed to, but it’s worth the work and effort, to set yourself free of a past that you have let shackle you to a time that no longer exists. Break free and let yourself go.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you