DEALING WITH YOUR PAST.
Often, you’ll have un-resolved issues from your past that will affect your everyday life, and ability to think positively about the future. I’ve developed a simple exercise you can perform in 10 minutes, and that will help you moving forwards.
OK, grab a sheet of paper and a pen. I’m serious. Stand up and go get some paper.
Now, write your first name in the middle.
Around the outside, draw three stars. Next to each star, you should write a negative experience from your life thus far. They can literally be anything. A bully you ran into at school, the death of a relative, a memory of emotionally hurting somebody in a relationship, the time you were a bad friend; anything. Just make sure they’re things you’re not proud of, or things that you had a hard time dealing with.
Now sit back and admire your simplistic masterpiece of bad experience. Beautiful, isn’t it?
Next, you need to go through the 3 negative experiences, and do an honest appraisal of them. This includes your behavior during those times, how those experiences made you feel at the time, what you learnt from them, and how you’d deal with the same experiences if they happened tomorrow. Thinking about these things may take a few minutes if you’ve never done anything like this before, but bear with it – trust me.
Finished? Good. Now, in the third person, write a short paragraph and include all three experiences. Your paragraph might go something like this…
In the past, James has sometimes over-reacted in times when he’s felt disrespected by another person. He has learnt that it’s important to be assertive & confident, but that it’s important to always be in control and think before he acts. James once had a relationship where he wasn’t entirely faithful & ended up hurting a really nice person. He learned a lot about the importance of honesty, especially where the feelings of others are concerned. In the future, he is going to be honest about his feelings with everyone in his life; especially the important people
… and so on.
You can repeat this exercise as many times as you want, as and when you feel like it’s important. I like to do it every month or so, just to really honestly look at what I’ve done in that month, and the decisions I’ve made, and what I’ve learned from the good and the bad experiences I’ve had. It’s important to be able to deal with past issues, so that you can look to the future from the best vantage point possible.
You should remember that everyone has regrets, and that it’s OK to forgive yourself for them, so long as you learn from them moving forwards. It’s okay if you want to keep it private, but if you’re brave enough, put your paragraph in the comments section below… you never know, you might learn something from the others.