Finding Ways to Let the Past Stay in the Past
This started as a quick reminder on my Facebook page. “It is fun and feels natural and normal to talk about what happened and why. But by bringing the past into the present you lose the opportunity to create a new future. You lose the present.”
Seems I needed to say more, especially on the ‘how to’.
As with most things I comment on, it starts with something I notice about myself and how I interact in the world and even worse, create my own suffering. Yes, I am trying to own my life, as scary and difficult as that is some days.
I noticed this on the way home listening to the voice in my head repeat a rather annoying conversation. I noticed how I got more and more angry with each repetition. Naturally I was the aggrieved party and should be apologised to immediately and how unfair it all was. Then I remembered I had made a commitment to myself not to let someone else choose my mood and destroy my balance. The trick is getting out of the thought loop.
STEP 1 : Become Aware
This is probably the hardest part, because if you don’t realise you are stuck in an endless past thought loop, you can’t do anything about it. I do two things to help me with awareness. The first is practice watching my thoughts as an observer and then labelling them thoughts. That way I stay outside and don’t get sucked in. I also like commenting on my own thoughts using the phrase, “Interesting point of view”. It gets me outside and watching rather than living it all again.
Step 2 : Hijack the Hijack
If you are in a loop it is because you have practiced that loop every day of your life and the loop now owns your brains and hijacks your choice. Thoughts create emotions through chemicals. The reason why you response so quickly is that you have trained your thoughts to go along certain neural pathways and generate a set of chemicals. This is why it is so hard to stop thoughts once they get going, the chemicals create more of the same. So you need to hijack the hijack by doing something TOTALLY different. Some people find exercise works, I find I just have more time to brood and obsess, what does work for me is music and loud singing. What you are looking for is a distraction. I have even resorted to putting thoughts in coloured balloons and letting them go that way (not literally, figuratively…although…) This requires some experimentation. You may find a mantra or prayer helps you cut through the practiced old thoughts and brings you back to your centre and your peace. Step 3 : Give yourself Permission to Let Go It also helps if you give yourself permission to let go. Often we repeat thoughts not because they are habit, but because we think we have to. I found that happened when my mother died. It was hard to not think about it and her all the time because it felt like I was deserting her by giving up the thoughts that kept me connected.
Sometimes the thing you have to do to let go is to accept what is.
Sometimes it is to forgive or gift other people with their lives and choices and give them permission to live their lives and learn their lessons (so let go of being responsible all the time). The trick here is to own this because when you do, you stop waiting for a miracle and step into power as you now get to find a solution.
It takes time to break a lifetime of habits – I have been doing this for ten years and still find myself hijacked, but now I don’t take it so seriously and I allow myself to be distracted and to go back to an emotional state of my choosing.
It can be done! It doesn’t need anything special. It doesn’t need a course! All it needs is you!
Live with Dare! Choose the life you want to live! If you don’t who will ?