Our Past – A burden to carry or a foundation on which to build?

“The farther back you can look, the farther forward you will see.”

Winston Churchill

We all have past experiences, some are good, some are difficult. Our past is powerful and can inform our present and also shape our future. For many past experiences are remembered with pain, memories that re-live feelings of sadness, grief or sorrow.

Our past can unfortunately if difficult be a heavy load, a burden that we carry that can in essence prevent us living the life we want. A childhood that leaves us feeling unloved, relationships that have left us feeling hurt, experiences that have changed our life or left us feeling bereft. We can carry these upon our shoulders, a weight that bears down on us, crushing our hopes and making us believe that we can not achieve anything.

This heavy load can then also become our reason for all that we feel we struggle with. It can prevent us believing that we deserve better, that we are worthy of love, friendship or recognition. It can mean we become trapped in a cycle of pain, where healing is a far off prospect and instead threads through our life like a vine that constricts and destroys.

Yet the reality is that our past does not have to define us or our life. It is what has happened to us, but not who we are. This means we have a choice, a choice how we use our past but also a choice to heal and find an inner peace. A choice that instead of our past being a burden we carry, it instead can be a foundation on which to build.

How can we do this ?

A safe place in which to work through our painful experiences is vital. This allows for us to understand how our past has informed who we are today in the present. It allows us to look at how the things we have gone through have shaped us, our relationships and our belief system, thus allowing for reflection on how this impacts us now in the present.

Take for instant a child that never experiences unconditional love from a parent. This can cause that individual to seek to please others to gain acceptance, to look for constant reassurance, to struggle to maintain committed relationships or to suffer with low worth or self belief. This can mean life is spent without healthy boundaries, with many relationships that do not work out, leading to self blame or to holding that individual back, or mean the pursuit of things to replace the loss of unconditional love. This can be like a heavy load that bares down upon us causing anxiety or feeling low.

Yet when acknowledged that this may have been our experience, when healing is supported and space is given to grieve what has hurt us, we can instead allow our sorrow to be something we can use to build a better life for ourselves and others too.

Instead of something we carry we then take our experiences and after reflection see that they offer us valuable insight. They allow us to see why we struggle, why we may have feelings of low worth and how with the right support this can change. By understanding that our past is just that, in the past, but does not have to mean who we are now or who we will be in the future.

In time our experiences can impart to us gifts in the sense that it allows us to offer to others solace, support and the hope of healing. It also means that understanding how we have been affected means that we can look at ways to heal and then not be defined by our past but learn from it and build a better future. I guess you could say we have the choice to put down our load and stand instead upon it, to shout to others that they too have a choice. choice to nurture, heal and grow!

What story do you have that you can share to make a difference in someone’s life but will also mean healing to YOU?

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