We all have those things in our past, those moments that go some way towards defining who we are and where we believe we fit in the world. They can be high points or low ones. Momentous occasions where the world felt like our oyster, or times when it felt like we would never be able to raise our head from the ground again.
Often, just when we think we’ve left those more difficult and challenging moments behind, they rear up before us. And in that moment we can feel like we’re right back where we started, struggling, a little lost and fearful of repeating that pattern from the past.
At times like these we can spiral, down into the depths of that place from where we came. Those attachments to the story of our past can be hard to break.
I have experienced this myself and it’s no fun. But in these moments, once I take a breath or two and bring myself back to the present, I remind myself of the following.
1. The past happened but it’s done. And I am different and stronger because it happened and I lived through it.
2. I will only repeat the patterns of the past if I don’t learn the lessons from the past. So I need to be honest with myself about why and how things happened and what my role was in that process. I am after all, not a victim of circumstance. I am not a passive participant in my own life.
3. Wallowing is fine. Sometimes it is even necessary to fully experience and ‘sit in’ the memory or situation and learn from it. But sooner or later I will need to get up, wash myself off and keep going. That part is definitely up to me. There is no ‘rescue’ from myself.
4. Sometimes the past stalks you just to let you know how far you’ve come. It’s a reminder of what you’ve learned and a sign the pattern no longer exists. It is simply a remnant from an older time. It is in those moments, when I finally realise the pattern is done, that I step into the light letting my past stalk by and disappear into the shadows behind me.