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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai

Has Your Past Become Your Destination?

“Do not lose your present to your past.”

Your past shapes your present as you identify who you are and your direction. It is natural to use your past experiences as a point of reference for your current situation. Unfortunately, often a negative traumatic experience can be very difficult to shake. It can be something small like a first impression, saying something you wish you had not, or something big like having lost a client, business, job, or relationship. Your choices are influenced by past regrets, mistakes, and pain that brands what you want or do not want in your life. Your pain is keeping you scared and stuck making it difficult to get rid of the pain. How do you see your past? Has your past become a destination or a reflection that moves you forward?

Existing research suggests past-negative experiences are often associated with increased incidences of anxiety, depression, impulsive behavior, low self-esteem, and poor choices. If, for example, you suffered betrayal in a relationship, you re-live the traumatic experience as it replays in your mind. The experiences can be triggered by certain smells, foods, places or songs as you try to push away invasive thoughts and feelings. This can lead to other symptoms like social isolation, distrust in others, self sabotaging behavior and an inability to move ahead in your life because you are too tied to your past. You know you are living in your past when:

• Replay negative experiences in your mind.

• Your self-sabotage keeps you from getting what you want.

• Emotional triggers cause you to think about people or situations from the past.

• Relationships are used to fill a void or to prevent being alone with your thoughts.

• You expect something bad.

• You feel anxious or act impulsively with regret.

• You have no or too much tolerance with new people and experiences or avoid them altogether.

You deserve better! You do not have to live with a pattern of self-sabotaging behavior because of your past trauma. For example, a history of personal or professional rejection can play out when you avoid going after that client, job, relationship or choosing to be invisible in meetings. You decide it is better to self-reject to avoid rejection from others. Your healing does not happen overnight. It is a process that will teach patience, dedication, and commitment to change. It is natural for you to want to feel good and minimize feeling bad. With a painful event such as betrayal, you redirect to self-preservation unconsciously and constantly anticipate that more pain will come into your life triggering wrong action. Living in the present is the key to moving forward and your success. Success is possible when you:

• Establish boundaries moving at your own pace with consistency.

• Accept that the past has already left you and you need to leave the past.

• Be mindful by staying in the present and calming your emotional triggers.

• Reset as needed when you backslide.

• Disconnect and give yourself the attention you need.

• Learn from the past focused on facts but do not dwell there.

• Express yourself.

• Do not blame others.

• Check your environment and inner circles.

• Forgive those who wronged you -- including yourself.

• Make new memories.

“Whatever worked in the past, build on it. Whatever did not work in the past, break the chain that binds you to it.” Marianne Williamson

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