“I have no need for the past, I thought, like a child. I did not consider that the past might have a need for me.”~ from the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
For some of us, our past is the last place we want to visit. So instead, we run from it. We run into relationships, jobs, food, excessive exercise, gambling, drinking, promiscuity, excessive dieting, excessive overachieving. You name it, we try it. We try everything and anything to avoid the feelings, experiences, and hurts of our past.
How do I know this? I was a marathon runner when it came to dealing with my past. I was lost, lonely, confused, hurt, and scared when I was a kid. I hated myself to the point of self mutilation and bulimia. I just didn’t know how to exist in this life. And I used to blame everyone else for my pain.
My parents truly did the best they could with what they were given through life. I can now see them as also being hurt and scared as adults navigating the world of marriage and parenthood while carrying the heaviness of their unresolved and hurtful past. I love my parents, and am grateful for them and the lessons they have taught me, as well as the sacrifices they have made. This article is not about blaming our past or those in our past who have hurt us either unintentionally or intentionally. This is about understanding our past and how it impacts us currently.
Foer states it best in the quote above. Our past truly needs us. We return to our past with awareness and intention, or it will come to us when we least expect it and hit us with a left hook that knocks us out.
You know that super intense feeling that comes up when we get into a heated discussion with our significant other? That’s our past. Or that shame that creeps in when we believe we have done something less than perfect or made a mistake? That’s our past. Or when finally decide to speak up at the board table to offer new ideas that go against the status quo and we are filled with fear? That’s our past. Or when we allow ourself to actually take the steps to leave an unfulfilling career and begin our own business and we are filled with doubt and all the financial scarcity in the world? That’s our past. You know that fear when we are about to have a really honest and difficult conversation with a loved one/significant other/friend? That’s our past. I think you get my point.
If we do not attend to healing our past, it will prevent us from moving forward in so many ways and areas in our life. Think about it. What would you do differently if you weren’t so attached to fear of judgement, fear of vulnerability, fear of your own personal power, fear of not being enough, fear of someone truly seeing you for all you are-beauty and blemishes. What if we could release these fears? Yes…there is a solution. You may resist it, because it takes work. Lots of internal work. And it takes responsibility. You taking responsibility for how your current life is and releasing blame, which is a very tall order.
So, you may be wondering where in the world to begin with this seemingly arduous task. Let me show you the ways:
1. Heal past hurts. Inner child work/healing is the way to go with this one. Inner child work, also referred to as inner child healing, is a way to address our needs that haven’t been met as children and heal the attachment wounds we’ve developed. We all have a younger part of ourselves that was never quite loved the right way or the way they needed as a child. There are several techniques and exercises we engage in throughout the Next Level Life Purpose Mastermind Program that allow us to heal our inner child. By healing our past, we are able to embrace our present and align with our expansion into the future.
2. Lessons Learned. Once we begin the healing of our past, we are better able to recognize the lessons from these experiences. We are able to rewrite our story into one of empowerment rather than victim. When we give ourself this gift, we are able to release shame, hurt, and resentment, which includes resentment towards self. By rewriting our story of our past, we are able to take our power back from those people and experiences that hurt us. Rewriting our story takes digging into the past experiences to identify the beliefs we hold onto from this past hurt. We can then explore and challenge the hurtful beliefs and replace them with more accurate and empowering beliefs.
3. Cultivate Compassion. By embracing self compassion, we are able to heal past wounds, self criticism, and shame. When we engage in self compassion, we are able to release resentments and shame, which leads to more moments and higher levels of joy, light, and love in our life. How much weight do you think you carry around by feeling guilty, shameful, and living in the “shoulds”? Seriously…if you could weight it, what number would you give it? Now thinking about releasing all that weight. Talk about freedom and expansion! Yes please and please may I have more?! If you are looking for the guru of self compassion, check out Kristen Neff. She has amazing meditations and TedTalks on self compassion. During the Next Level Life Purpose Program, we take deep dives into self compassion-what gets in our way of experiencing it, and how to release those self limiting beliefs so we can live our most loving and purpose filled life.
In my work as a Licensed therapist, as well as Mindset and Confidence Coach for Professional Women, I have come across a LOT of people who question why we need to revisit their past. My hope through this article is that you have gained more insight into the purpose of revisiting your past so you can live in your most expansive and purpose filled life.
This article was used in permission by Essentially Zenful. For more information, please reach out to Leanne at https://www.ezliving.space.