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As we move through our lives there are occasions when we recall the good times we had, remember the people who were influential in the creation of beautiful memories, the funny things we did as kids, sleepovers with the cousins, camping trips, grandparents and the very special memories of the times spent with them. Throughout all of our lives right up until now we all have stories to tell.
On the flip side there will also be for many people very different memories that bring up a different range of emotions and memories. Feelings of guilt, shame, remorse or regret will come bubbling to the surface and the story of what they did or didn’t do will be replayed over and over in their minds.
I don’t believe I have ever met anyone who hasn’t at some time wished that they had made better choices and decisions about some circumstances or events in their lives. From mistakes made as teenagers, marrying the wrong guy, cheating on a romantic partner, stealing from an employer, investing all of their savings in a dodgy get rich scheme, failing to take better care of their health, allowing a heated discussion with a family member to completely fracture the relationship and decisions that perhaps even caused great damage to our reputation and pain to people we love.
For the people who have spent years carrying the burden of past mistakes it can impact on their health, their jobs, and their relationships, dictate where they live in constant fear of being found out. It seems to be a less than ideal way to live so all I can assume is that they see this as being easier than facing the unknown consequences of their actions.
For those people who carry past hurts from betrayal it’s not that much different. The story they tell about what someone ‘did’ to them, how much they hurt them and declare that they will never ever forgive them are also chained to the past. These people have allowed themselves to become ‘victims’ and people who stay stuck in the past there is usually a payoff, using the story about what happened to relive injustices or past hurts and they get to play the blame game. Essentially they are victims of their circumstances and have handed over the control of their lives to someone or something else.
If you have a particular view of the world you are able to see that in every situation that is challenging there is always a silver lining even if it takes several years to see it. It doesn’t take away what happened or the roles we played in what happened but we can spend some time and look back at who we were then and recognise that we are no longer that person. When we can see in hindsight how if given that time all over again the different choices we would have made and thinking about it no longer stirs up unpleasant memories it becomes more about the information than the emotions or meanings we may have attached to the circumstance.
Some ‘well meaning’ friends (usually the ones who love a bit of drama) love to tell their divorced friend what their ex-husband is up to, and what the new girlfriend is like. This can be quite painful if there hasn’t been sufficient time for someone to put distance between themselves and their ex and it is something than many women find themselves conflicted with want to know more about it all and wanting not to talk about it at the same time. If you find yourself in this type of situation you have to stand your ground and tell people what you will and will not accept and ask that they respect your right to move on with your life.
The brain also has it’s own way of keeping us trapped by means of associations that we have made to certain events. Although we may not be consciously aware of what is happening these associations use our senses, sight, sound, feelings, taste and smell to become triggers that fire emotions attached to circumstances from the past.
Not all of these are necessarily problematic! One of my favourite triggers for example, is when I smell freshly mown grass I always think about my dad who pasted away many years ago. If I ask you to remember a particular song from your teenage years, when you recall the song there is every chance you will also remember the people who you were with, what you were doing and perhaps even what you were wearing. This song is a trigger for you to pop back to a different time in your life.
Not all triggers are particularly pleasant. If your father was an angry man and always used a particular tone of voice when he was angry with you and you became very frightened all it will take is for you to hear someone else using that same tone of voice and you will also get those same feelings of fear in your body and wondering what the hell just happened.
If you find that there are aspects of your past stopping you moving forward with your life and you really want to turn this around seek out the services of professionals who are skilled healers, coaches and change facilitators – there is help available for you.
To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
With love and gratitude
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