Lately, many of our conversations have been attuned to seeking a higher alignment. And to do this, we’ve established that we must have a positive relationship with our past selves. Although who we are in our past does not need to define who we are now or who we will be; it does have a great influence on our identity. And if we’re trying to move forward without healing the identity of the past, we’re going to run on a constant loop of progression followed by regression. This isn’t a conscious effort we make to stay stuck in the past, holding onto past beliefs or behaviors. It’s actually a subconscious safety mechanism that kicks in out fear. This is why it’s so important to look back at stories from our past with only compassion. We were simply doing the best they could with what they had.
As we evolve, so does the concept of “what we have.” I don’t mean in a literal sense of our belongings. This expression refers to knowledge, wisdom, and experience: the moments of our lives that shape our values and beliefs. As we grow older and experience more of the world, our file folders of knowledge grow, and our beliefs expand. Therefore, the choices you once made regarding a job, college, or anything else, may not (and likely would not be) the choice you’d make today. This is how the stories from our past communicate with us. They’re not there to feel embarrassed about or shameful, simply another piece of knowledge that shapes the decisions you make today.
Having Gratitude for Your Past Self
So often, when I’m going through a coaching session and a client refers back to a memory, the tone of voice always shifts. If it’s a happy memory, the tone is usually more nostalgic and joyful. If the memory is one they’re embarrassed to share or makes them uncomfortable, it’s usually a tone of disdain. There is less eye contact and reversion into self. But why do we do this? Why do we feel embarrassed or shameful about past actions that we cannot go back and change? Other than the obvious answer of being human with human emotions, we practice shame from a fear-based belief that others will judge us as hard (if not harder) than we judge ourselves. But instead of fearing judgment or retribution, we must first acknowledge the action. If we’re aware of past actions, we can learn from them and heal.
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Acknowledging the Past
It’s not enough to just acknowledge the actions that have shaped our past but to take away the lessons with humility. Having a negative emotion about your past usually implies remorse about the actions that have you feeling embarrassed or shameful. The stories from our past–as they are only in the past, should communicate growth and only growth. Existing in a place of shame (as we’ve established in previous conversations) is an incredibly low vibration to communicate from. Which is why we should only look back at our past from a place of gratitude. This week, on the Do the Damn Thing Podcast, I’m sharing more intimate details of my past that I wasn’t always proud of. But as I’ve come to not only practice healing but teach it, I’ve seen just how grateful I should be to that girl who made all of those “mistakes.”
Without our pasts, who would we be?
Did you know that at any moment in time, you have the power to change your thoughts, therefore, your life? This is also known as Quantum Leaping. Quantum Leaping is a more extreme action to change your life/ reality. But harnessing the power of your mind is something you can do at any moment. When communicating with our past selves, letting them know they are loved, appreciated, and safe, we have the power to change our life in the present. But, if you’re someone existing in a playing field of loving who you are now but holding resentment for who you once were, you exist in a very grey space in which it can be difficult to make progress. So if those are the two options, why are we choosing to communicate shame to a past version of ourselves that was doing the best they could?
So What Do These Stories Communicate?
Our past is both a guide and jumping-off point for our future. We can either let it inspire us to do better, know better, and be better, or we can resent it. EFT has taught us that we can heal a memory by reprogramming our neural pathways. And when you choose to heal it, only sending gratitude back to that person, you’re choosing to heal the emotional charge around memories that still influence your future. You’re not necessarily changing the memory itself, but whatever emotions resonate with it. And when you heal shame, you replace it with gratitude. When we have gratitude for these memories, the stories no longer communicate negative memories or trigger negative emotions. Instead, you feel gratitude for them because they have played a major role in how you got here at this very moment.
Our past communicates growth. It’s a storyboard of things we’ve learned, how we formed beliefs, and how our experiences and reality can change those beliefs. And sometimes, it takes perceived negative experiences to make the same impact. But, we are still learning. And when we take those lessons with the mindset of growth rather than shame, we are simultaneously sending gratitude back to our past selves while impacting our future decisions.
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Want to know more about this week’s topic?
Head over to the Do the Damn Thing Podcast on Apple or Spotify and listen to the conversation! The podcast is an open forum conversation where we dive even deeper into all that is intentional living.