Its not always a pleasant experience to dig up your past. Most people have put their past into a box and stuffed it under the bed, never to be seen again. Why re-live the past? It wasn’t fun the first around, so why go through the agony again?
Because it’s the only way for you to heal and grow into the best version of yourself.
Strong foundation for life
Imagine you are building a house. You want your house to stand on a strong solid foundation, so wind and weather can’t knock it out, right? Your house must withstand strong winds, rainfall, burglars and all sorts of challenges that the world presents us with.
You need to build a strong foundation, for your house to stand strong. Your house won’t stand strong if your foundation is wobbly. So, you need a strong thick concrete base. To build your foundation you must dig a hole in the ground, remove all the dirt and debris and then add your concrete.
The same is true for your life. If you wish to live a life with confidence and high resilience, you must grow on a sold strong thick foundation. This foundation is your childhood.
Why is it important to dig up your past?
Digging up your past is important for you to heal and grow. Your past holds all your ingrown solid belief systems about yourself and about the world. If you believe you are not good enough, you must go back to that moment when you made this about yourself. You must go back and dig out the debris, so you can fill it with strong solid concrete and re-build your foundation.
No amount of leadership training or confidence boosters will give you lasting results. You may feel good and strong for a while, until life throws something at you again. With a strong foundation, you will be able to stand up again more easily. You may not even fall at all. Imagine that???
That’s not to say that you have revisit all parts of your childhood. This task can seem daunting, especially if you are of a certain age. Sometimes it can be enough to process just a few aspects of your childhood to feel whole and complete today.
Don’t want to revisit past experiences? Here is why you should
Here are some thoughts you may have that prevents you from digging up your past:
“My childhood was OK, it could have bee so much worse, at least I had a roof over my head.”
Everyone is unique and every childhood is unique. Nobody experienced your life the way you did. You cannot compare yourself to others. Your pain is unique to you and is valid. Everybody could have had a worse life. It is not a competition about who had the worse childhood. Your pain is your pain.
“I dont want to blame my parents for anything. They did the best they could.”
It is not about blame either. You may be thinking that your parents did a good job and you dont want to blame them for anything or label your childhood as traumatic or bad. This journey is about your healing. It is not about blame. If the focus is blame, then you are thinking about it from a wrong angle. You must choose the perspective of healing yourself and your life. I believe that everybody does the best that they can. Until they know better, then they do better. I think that was something Maya Angelou once said. Nobody wants to give their children a bad childhood or deliberately wants to teach their child that they are not good enough. Often, these things are unintentional. But that doesn’t make them less real.
Another objection you may have and this one I can really relate to is:
What if digging up my past will send me down a long spiral of depression and panic attacks? I fear that I will never get out of it.
This is a legitimate fear. There are 2 points I want to make about this.
- One is that if you feel that you are becoming depressed and more anxious every time you revisit your past, then you may not be approaching it correctly. Rather than healing your past, you may be re-traumatising yourself.
Let me try to explain. Difficult past experiences come with an emotional charge. Either you are re-living them or you are remembering them. When you re-live a past memory and you are feeling all the feelings as if you are in the situation again, then you must release the emotion. You must process the past memory. Tools like tapping (EFT), EMDR or family systems therapy are really amazing tools for this. Your brain must somehow make sense of the memory and store it in the long term memory section of your brain. You must release the emotion, while keeping your body calm and safe. Depending on the intensity, it can be helpful to do this with a trained therapist.
- The other point I want to make is that digging up difficult past memories is hard and that OK! You may become sad for a while. It is impotent to remember that you are safe now and you will be happy again. You don’t have to stay in the depressed state forever. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Once all your past memories are processed and dealt with, then it is no longer a scary process to go back to a past memory. Then it becomes just that; a memory.
If you do find yourself getting lost in the past it is important to remember what you have today. What are you grateful for? What keeps you grounded in the present moment? What makes you happy today? Hold on to these things and remind yourself regularly.
What do you think?
I would love to know what your thoughts are. Do you think it is important to dig up the past? What is your relationship with your past? What is your experience when you dig up the past?