How to stop living in the past…
You may not be consciously living in the past, but less conscious parts of you certainly are.
This isn’t about whether you have an inner child. Rather, certain beliefs that you presently hold originated in the past and you still respond to the world through those filters.
For example, when you were young, you may have learned some painful lessons. Perhaps you got in front of your third-grade class to present your book report. There you were, fumbling through the presentation.
And then the worst…
Your classmates started to snicker, then burst into outright laughter when you accidentally knocked over the teacher’s glass of water.
At that moment, the sheer humiliation was overwhelming. You wished the earth would open up and swallow you whole. Since that day, you have avoided public speaking like the plague.
The mere thought of getting in front of people raised beads of perspiration on your forehead. They couldn’t pay you enough to make you endure the torture. You are convinced to the core that you’re going to make a fool of yourself again and can’t stop that stream of consciousness.
This is living in the past.
You’re seeing the world through beliefs that were formed in childhood. You may not even remember their origin but are keenly aware of the results!
How to stop living in the past
You need to update your beliefs.
The only way to do this on purpose is to discover them. Most people are so avoidant of these painful, belief-forming experiences, however, that they remain forever stuck in them.
Let’s make that connection again. You are stuck living in the past because you avoid thinking about the painful experiences that formed the beliefs that force you to see the world the way you learned to see it once upon a time.
Does this mean we should all wallow in our painful experiences?
No. Reliving the past isn’t necessary. Reviewing it may very well be necessary. This is where a concept from neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) may prove helpful.
We call it dissociation, not to be confused with the clinical, mental health term. In NLP, dissociation refers to the process of reviewing memories from a distance, as if you were a neutral observer. This is a big-picture perspective.
The view from over there
Viewing problems from a distance is a scientifically proven concept when it comes to resolving problems.
When you view old memories, even painful ones, from a distance you take a neutral and adult perspective. From this perspective, you can reevaluate the scene and come away with a new interpretation of events.
When this happens with the help of a trained life coach, the process is even more effective.
Can you really learn how to stop living in the past? Yes, but you must also stop avoiding it.