I’d love to share this story with you about an experience I had with a client who was finding it so hard to let go of his past and move forward.
He came into my office still feeling the heaviness of the past. Week after week, he was ready and excited to learn new skills to help him move forward and to help him be successful. He was incorporating the skills, but they weren’t having the effect he wished that they had in helping him to fully move forward.
He knows what he wants – the basics, to do good work and enjoy his job, to have a family, to travel, and to have meaningful experiences and relationships. Another plus, he knows that he is capable.
The only thing holding him back is that he cannot let go of the past.
Over and over again he thinks of the mistakes that he made, the things he had not accomplished and wished he had. He feels as though he is living in a hamster wheel; regurgitating the story, then distracting himself so as not to feel the burden and the pain that comes from the blame and judgment he is constantly putting on himself.
It is heavy.
As I sat there listening to him, being there with him in his story, I felt that heaviness and validated his feelings.
If he could have anything, he said, it would be to not feel this way anymore.
I offered a new perspective.
We explored his past further and he shared with me the story of a young man who never finished anything he started. (Is it true? Never? Anything?)
We explored further and the more we got into his story – the story, as he saw it, as one of complete and utter failure – I began to offer a new perspective.
What if your story is a story of a young man who simply chose to listen to and trust his parents? (His parents kept giving him advice and he trusted their advice, not realizing at the time that they were not the right choices for him.) What if this is a story of a young man who simply did not know himself well enough, at the time, to speak up about what would work better for him, and oppose his parents advice? What if those two things were your biggest ‘sin’? Can you live with that?
“Yes, I can live with that,” he responded with a smile.
As I shared this new perspective with him, I saw the ‘heaviness’ he had been feeling begin to lift. He is an adult now and he recognizes that the most productive way for him to approach his life is to let go of the past and focus on now and his future. And now, with this new (and truer) perspective, he is more ready to do that.
We can sometimes feel very stuck and hold ourselves back from living, producing, creating, doing, and moving forward because we are still very stuck in living in and rehashing our past.
I invite you to acknowledge the following:
The past is in the past and it is out of your control.
Every time you focus on the past and get stuck there, you are allowing your past experiences to have control over you.
Make the effort to view your past from a new perspective; one that will allow you to let go, and move on and live your life.
It is possible. Working on this yourself (you can re-write your story), talking it out with a trusted friend, or working with a good therapist or coach can all help you move past…your past.
If you have any questions about this, get in touch with me anytime. You can email me directly at Jenny@unleashingu.com, or contact me via my website by clicking here.
In support and admiration,