Freeing Yourself From the Past
Often we let our past get in the way of achieving our goals and dreams. I know you didn’t have a perfect childhood, but I’ll let you in on a secret: Nobody had that elusive, perfect childhood. All of our parents meant well, and they all messed-up at least once while raising you, and like it or not, you messed up (or will mess up) raising your own children. Life just doesn’t work out the way we planned, but plan anyway, because it’s the only way for you to have even a slight chance of controlling your life. Without plans or goals, you could stay stuck in the past. The past is gone, so it’s time to move on. The past doesn’t need to control your present. When you wake-up each morning, you have a choice on how you chose to think. You might groan “I have to go to that lousy job,” or you might wake up with an excited shout “I am so lucky to have my job, and it’s going to be a wonderful day!” You can spend time ruminating (that’s what cows do when they chew their cud) over abuse that happened during your childhood, use drugs or dysfunctional behaviors to help you forget the abuse, or you might tell yourself, “it’s time to get over it. I am no longer a helpless child who can’t control what happens to me.”
You are now a powerful adult and nothing or no one can control you unless you give them your permission. Are you giving negative thoughts free-rent in your head? Events in your life can’t make you angry, happy or depressed. It’s how you interpret and react to these events that result in your thoughts and moods.
Suppose you meet someone and fall in love. This is your dream partner, love of your life, your one and only, till death do we part, and you’re walking on clouds feeling that you are the happiest person who ever lived. How would you feel if your partner came to you one day and said “I found someone new, so get lost”? You’d be devastated. You might stay in bed and cry for weeks, or mope and find no pleasure in anything. Some people would go to the extreme of committing suicide. Now suppose that you have found someone better and need to tell your partner that you want out. Imagine the same scene with your partner telling you “I found someone new, so get lost.” Think about how differently you would feel, even though your partner’s behavior was exactly the same in each scenario. You would be relieved that it is over, and maybe you’d go out and celebrate that same day. In the first scene you would feel awful and the second scene, with your partner acting identically, you would feel joyful. You see, it isn’t your partner controlling your feelings, but rather it’s you who is in control.
“But isn’t it normal to feel sad when someone close to me dies?”
Of course. You aren’t a robot. I’m not telling you not to feel. I just want you to understand that you, and nobody else, is in control of your feelings. Nobody can make you sad, happy, angry, depressed or overjoyed. Your feelings originate within yourself.
“But my doctor says I have a biological disorder and need to take anti-depressants or anxiety pills.”
Now, I am not a doctor, and I’m NOT telling you to disregard your doctor and stop your medications, but imagine how you would feel if you found out that you won a hundred million dollar lottery. Imagine how you would feel if you fell in love. How would you feel if you gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby? If you are still depressed, then you probably do have a biological disorder that needs to be treated medically. If you aren’t, then the above are examples of a medical condition being cured by your thoughts …and you thought you were powerless over your thoughts! Sometimes medication is necessary to help you get through a tough time in your life, such as the death of a parent, but even then, it doesn’t need to continue for years after the crisis has resolved. Now it’s time to let your past go. Drinking, drugging, moping, or eating to excess isn’t going to cure your past hurts, but extreme behavior in any way can only make things worse in the long run.