Jul 112010

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We have all been told not to dwell on the past. The actual act of repetitively looking back invariably traps us in a brutal cycle that only reminds us – over and over again, of our pain and fear. However, there is an unmistakable difference between living in the past and looking back in an effort to deal with issues that might otherwise compromise the possibility of a balanced future.

What’s so significant about the past? It’s a time that is finished forever. The act of reading this sentence will be finished in moments – it will be in the past, but for some reason we’re not quite sure of, it’s usually only the distant past that haunts our memory.

The main reason that we don’t constantly relive old events is the lack of clarity that this process brings. For example, the process is quite a bit like reviewing an original document, and then making a copy of it in second rate copy machine. At this point, we take that copy and put it through the machine yet again, and then repeat this process numerous times. Pretty soon you have an unrecognizable image that looks nothing at all like the original.

It’s the same with our painful memories and fears. Every time we re-examine them, something changes, continually adding to the frustration of the event. There isn’t anything about that event which will ever change, but it always seems to appear worse – to feel worse, with each following recollection.

Unfortunately, our lives are shaped by those events, and if we never talk about them, they will continue to affect our future. The effects will be noticeable at first – kind of like a glaring neon sign saying, “I was picked on by bullies as a kid”. However over time, this process progresses like the small bits of sand that stay between our toes once we leave the beach. They continue to rub every now and again until all traces are removed.

If there seems to be a reoccurring theme in your life and your career opportunities – lack of commitment in relationships, self-doubt, or an inability to finish things you start, the answer may lie between the confusing pages of past memories. It’s certainly no fun to reopen old wounds, but if you do look deep within yourself, you may find that your wounds didn’t heal; they were merely covered up so no one would notice.

One way you can begin to move beyond those things in your past is to start a journal. We’ve all had to do some journal writing in school. It’s an effective tool for getting our emotions out of our heads and out into the open. Write every day to begin with, and then as often as you need to. Include everything, even the seemingly insignificant details – both positive and negative. If old memories pop into your head – take control, and let them flow freely onto the page. Make peace with your past by writing down what frightened or angered you the most about those painful events.

Always try to talk to someone about any events that can’t be resolved. Sometimes we need a trusted friend or family member – or even a stranger, to help us get over that final hurdle which frees us, so we can finally experience the life we were always meant to live.

Alan Gillies is the Managing Director of the Learning 2 Live Enterprise, an online Lifestyles resource which explores various aspects of business and pleasure, comprising an array of Lifestyle topics which cover Relationships, Health, Wellbeing, Career, Travel & Coaching, and more. Alan has a great deal of hands on experience throughout a wide variety of business disciplines including Coaching and Mentoring, Change Management and NLP training techniques.

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 Posted by at 11:18 am