Power over our painful past

Mar 27, 2020

The past can be truly painful. There were mistakes, negative circumstances, failures and challenges, and then there was the death of our spouse. As much as we might desperately wish we could change the past, it is never possible. We can expend tremendous energy rethinking and overanalyzing, trying to find a way to change it in our minds; grappling with what is, wrestling with reality. It’s exhausting.  

I like the notion that there is no old pain from the past. It’s our current thinking about the past that inflicts pain. Our thoughts create our feelings, so it’s important to learn to eavesdrop on our own thinking. What are our brains telling us about the past, is it true and does it serve the person we are today? If not, perhaps there is a new belief about the past that would be more useful.  

For example, “He shouldn’t have ended his life,” might be a thought that causes extreme pain for many years. That thought could become, “He was in tremendous pain and must have believed there was no other option.” Any replacement thoughts must feel 100% true to you. It’s not about creating unicorns-and-rainbows-type thinking, but instead taking control of your brain and choosing thoughts that are still true for you, yet less hurtful.  

Widowed or not, it can be easy to define ourselves and our future abilities based on our past. But that would be a big mistake. What if at age 16 you were limited to only your past abilities? That wouldn’t make sense, since there would be so much growth still ahead of you. It is tragic that we decide at some random point in our lives that we can no longer grow.  

If we choose to see everything about our past as simply lessons and preparation, it can be a launchpad to becoming the next version of ourselves. It is not what we had planned or hoped for, certainly. But it is what we have. Our hearts are still beating, and we are living this one life we’ve been given.  

We’ve been through the unimaginable already and it has, in its own dark and messy way, prepared us for what’s next. Let’s not be limited by the past, or carry around unnecessary pain from the past. Might now be the time to become who we are meant to be now – not in spite of the past – but because of it? 

If you can't find your way away from the pain of the past, my coaching program called Life Reconstructed can help. It is exclusively for the widowed journey and is the perfect mix of private and group coaching and the most life changing tools. Simply click below and we'll see if it's a fit. 

Learn more about Life Reconstructed.

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