In last week’s blog, we took some steps to manage our energy level and maximize our impact in our present situation. As we look to reach our full potential in the present, there is an important chapter we should not overlook in order to be our best. The important chapter is our past.
The most effective coffee shop and kitchen table counselors along with world renown academic psychologists would all come to the same conclusion that experiences in our past have a profound impact in shaping our present point of view and subconsciously guiding our actions in the present.
As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, we need to process our past in a healthy understanding way in order to be our best for those we care about most.
All of us have some unresolved issues in the past from relationships that did not end well or experiences that range from bothersome to traumatic. No one escapes childhood/adolescence unscathed and our decisions as young adults begin to cement our past experiences into the guardrails that frame our point of view as we continue in life.
In looking to build and sustain healthy relationships in the present, we need to acknowledge the truth that we bring more to the table than the issues in the present. Here are a few practical steps to address our past in a healthy and productive way to ensure we can be the best version of ourselves in the present:
- Be Reflective: We need to take time to dig deep and thoroughly reflect on our past. This is not a one-time, five-minute moment of reflection. Chances are that we need to consistently reflect on past events in our childhood and our young adult journey to fully appreciate how those experiences are shaping our current beliefs and behaviors. Understanding the dominant emotions in our home as a child and our school/community experience will help us gain some insight on our past.
- Find Healing: For some reason, most of us prefer to bear our past burdens and struggles alone and in silence. We all need some help and deserve some support to process our past in a healthy healing way. Finding a trusted friend or family member, support group or counselor could be what is needed. Also, simply journaling about our past has been proven to be a great step in healing from some difficult situations.
- Learn and Grow: Since there is no “do-over” in life, we need to move forward no matter how heavy our backpack is from our past. The most effective way to view our past is to learn and grow from the experiences. An unhealthy way to view our past is as a constant reminder of our weaknesses and confirmation of our limitations. We should work hard to choose to learn and grow vs. finding another reason to believe we are not good enough. It is our choice on how we view our past and it is one of the most important choices we can make to reach our full potential in the present.
As we take the necessary steps to address our past in a healthy way, we build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity to be our best for those we care about most at home, work, and in the community.