How Do I Put The Past Behind Me?
Few things get to me like they used to (Thank God.) But recently someone asked, “exactly how do you put your past behind you?”
Damn good question, and some of the responses that followed, while, well intended, didn’t (to me) seem like anything that made the questioner have anything to walk away with…
And since everyone in the discussion group went on and on? I didn’t have a chance to put my 2cents in. I wish I did… In fact, that question has haunted me since I heard it asked…
(If You have a special way to address this, I seriously think others would love to know also.. So, please add your comment below)
You see, I had just come up with 20 years clean that night, and feeling like I had the answer, I was more than happy to share it… But my higher power had other plans. Yes… I’m in the recovery movement
So, my ability to share was not there, and my ability to listen, was tainted with the noise in my brain.
Kind of a shame, if you think of it, cuz I could have caught something I needed to hear.
Having gone through what I considered an emotionally messy divorce with a 7y/o in the middle, I had been battling with that issue now for a year. And it only recently has come to a head. Where I can wake up each day a little brighter than the last 9 months.
Hell, to be honest, it’s really more like the last 8 years.
So how do I put the past behind me?
It got to a point where I was tired of hearing myself. I needed to start looking deep into exactly what I was doing. Was I looking at the past and reliving it? Or was I sitting right here, right now, and understanding that (what) I was allowing into my head, was not reality, but a memory. A memory I was still reacting to as if it were happening in real time. But it was no longer a reality it was history. Past history & sometimes, recent history.
So why do I have to react to history?
Sometimes this happens when I think about the outbursts of my father… I can see him going into tirades about things of the past that others have a conflicting opinion about contrary to his…
It’s quite embarrassing sometimes…
I watched him rip into my know-it-all brother-in-law.
And while part of me was elated, most of me wanted him to just shut the fuck up.
But I watched, and I observed in silence, as I tried to understand (that part) of me that (is) just like this raving lunatic. “I have this trait”, I said to myself… I don’t like it, no sir, not one bit. Definitely not one of my shining attributes for sure.
But there it was, my father was out of his gourd, reliving his own memory and defending it like it was a child that had been manhandled by a stranger. If you ever defended your child or witnessed a parent doing so, (you get the picture.) There’s nothing stopping you from standing your ground and letting the other know that, under no uncertain terms are they beyond your wrath.
Usually they are wrongs done to me. Or scenarios, which have caused me great self-loathing, or just painful moments that I wish, had never occurred.
For instance, I have had a few times in my youth, where I felt unprotected and open to abuse from outside of the family with no means of defense or retribution.
In fact when I went to my family and gave account of the deeds done to me, I was denied it ever happened and that I must be imagining things…
When these thoughts return, they hit me like a car accident. Out of nowhere, unprovoked and devastating. Before I know it, all manner of emotions run through me like a whirlwind and none of them good ones. I’m left re-victimized. I’m angry, sad and scared. My heart is racing and I can’t tell what’s happening to me or recognize reality of the here and now. I’m no longer present.
I think this is termed best as (post traumatic stress). But I could be wrong, I would love to tell you that I’ve been able to rid myself of these. But like so many people, I also have much work to do.
This is the past, but it’s alive in the here in now through my own thoughts.
I heard someone say, “Anger is sadness unbound”.
Most profound statement, the account mentioned that there is no anger per se. Its origin is that of sadness. Personally I think you could throw in a good dose of doubt and fear into the mix. But that’s just for me..
Depending on the situation and the frame of mind of the individual.
But getting back to (putting the past behind you), this only comes with time, with forgiveness, acceptance and with surrender to the past.
Today I can stop most of my offending thoughts, best that I can by asking myself…
“WAIT, where the heck am I?
How am I?
What is around me?
What day is it?
What time is it?”
As I force myself into answering these questions, I am no longer in the loop of thought I was just in… I’ve shifted my focus. I’ve evoked my Free Will.
There’s a phrase “it only gets better with time”, and nowhere is it more pertinent than it is to this particular situation. Putting the past behind you is a practice. Once you’ve done it a few times, you are able to do it quite regularly and move a little further towards functioning in the here and now, despite whatever event slams you sideways…
The faster you (do) put things behind you, the faster you can get on with what really matters to you. I think anything after that is like beating a dead horse. Either you do it, or you suffer unnecessarily for as long as you continue this behavior.
Maintaining a reactive state to your past history. I don’t know about you, but I would like to think, I have better things to do than continually looking back and live there as if it were happening right now, like a spliced movie in an endless loop going over and over and over again.
It’s not like I’m cured of this, but today I can honestly say I do it a hell of a lot less than I have over the last eight years…
(Now really, I do think others would love to know how you deal with the past.. So, please add your comment below)
Until the next post.
Dan Lopez -TheUnguru
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