Dark Past Springboard to Bright Future

Abuse, neglect and rejection all leave emotional scars, but there is an alternative to limping into the future hampered by your past. It is possible to take charge of your life, to create the future you want and desire. You can allow your future to clarify your past rather than allowing your past to control your future.

Have you ever had a horrible experience that at the time felt like the world was falling apart, only to later (sometimes years) look back and see that something good came from that experience-you learned something about yourself or were strengthen in some way. Sometimes these experiences are referred to as blessings in disguise. It is our tragedies and struggles that build our character, not the smooth and easy times.

Regardless of what has happened in the past, you always have choices for the future. It may seem at times like your past is controlling our future, but that is only because you give it the power to do so. Whether you hang on tightly to bitter memories from the past reliving them frequently in our minds or you deny and stuff away your past, you will find yourself struggling through the present.

You can wish that your past was different, but unfortunately there is no Ctrl+Alt+Delete button for experiences. You cannot stop the hurts that have already occurred, but you can stop your past from hurting your future.

If you have simply stuffed experiences away, without acknowledging the effect they had on you, the first step is to accept that you felt hurt, violated, angry or however you felt. Know that it is okay to have felt those feelings.

As marriage counselors we often hear, “I want our marriage to work, but how do I get over the past.” This is where people often get stalled, they allow their past to determine their future. Perhaps it is not so much getting over the past as it is getting on with the present.

If you want to take charge of your future then you begin by accepting that you cannot change the past. But this is not a defeatist acceptance; it is not necessary to change what has happened in order to get over it.

An amazing way to get over the past is to change the way you are looking at it. Instead of reliving the trauma, going over and over in your mind how hurt, crushed or devastated you were; change your perspective to look at what this experience could teach you. Ask: What can I learn from this or in what ways can I benefit from it. Do not allow yourself to focus on negative self-evaluations like, this always happens to me, I am a bad person or I deserve to be treated badly.

Look for the lesson, whether it is being able to be more empathetic to others, a conviction to help others, learning to be more assertive or choosing to not accept bad treatment; there is something that you can take from every bad experience. At the very least you can learn how not to behave to prevent hurting others.

It is not our experiences themselves that continue to hurt us, it is the meaning that we attach to them and what we choose to do afterwards that decides whether we are strengthen or weakened by those experiences.

You have the ability to begin nurturing yourself-to take responsibility for creating the life you want. That means choosing what you want for your self in the present and for the future. It also means choosing to use your dark times as springboards to a brighter future.

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