We all have skeletons in the closet. It’s a simple fact of life; few of us have lived a perfect existence. There is always something waiting to pounce on us from the past.But there are ways to free yourself from the chains of your past, and walk in freedom and personal success.
It doesn’t matter where we are in the present if we feel our past is still with us. It is almost like being haunted; something that we acknowledge but try to push to the back of our minds. The matter is made all the more complicated if there is something from our past that we really don’t want in our future.
What kind of event or experience this it varies from person to person, but the fact remains the same. If you have gone through a rough time – cheating on a partner, a stay in a place for alcohol rehab, being fired from a job – then you want it to stay in the past. You may even have a new life and you don’t want to drag your embarrassing old issues into it.
Is this a reasonable way to be, though? Continually feeling like you have to hide something? Making new friends, perhaps even beginning new relationships – but keeping something shuttered away?
The saying goes that no man (or woman) is an island. We need the people around us to understand us, and often something unpleasant in our history influences who we are today. There are also important psychological aspects to be considered. It’s well known that it’s unhealthy to keep things bottled up; and your new life is about being as healthy as possible. Life is full of twists and turns, so even if you have a particularly sharp bend in your history – it’s time to find a way to move on.
It sounds so simple, like it’s a switch you can push and then you have forgiven yourself. Often with a prior bad experience, we are well aware that we were at fault, but finding forgivness can be a challenge. We can often spend time going through the things we did, despairing over our past actions – and as a result, denying ourselves the present. Do it often enough, and you will begin to deny yourself a future, too.
The only way you are going to be able to tell others about what you have been through is to be able to acknowledge them yourself. No more should you wince at your personal history, but instead see it as part of the clay that has made you who you are.
Depending on the issue at hand, there are a few ways to tackle this. You may need to seek help from a therapist, who can guide you through in more detail. If the matter is more minor, then you have two courses of action.
Make reparations. If there is something you can do (even just donating to charity) to make reparations, then do so. If there is someone that you need to apologize to or behavior you have to apologize for, then do it. It doesn’t have to be in person either; a letter will suffice, and make everything far easier to manage.
Go through affirmations. These should be daily and focus around the idea that the past is the past and there is nothing you can do to change it. It may take some time to shake the feelings of shame, disappointment and anything else that is mixed up there – but you will manage it.
2. Prevent The Same Mistakes Happening In Future
If you have managed to forgive yourself, the idea of confiding in others is going to seem much easier. But don’t bust out the true confessions just yet.
If you have done something bad in the past, then the new people in your life are probably going to handle it well. They will take you as you are and the person that they know you to be, rather than relying on some story from your history.
There is nothing wrong with helping them along that road, however.
Look at the issue and see if there are things you can put in place to show you have made an effort to change. And not just to change; but to prevent them from happening again.
For example, if you had addiction issues, then show you attend meetings and receive support. Tell them if you have had any counseling. You can even provide a list of “warning signs” they should watch out for; behaviors you might engage in if you’re going to lose control again. By giving your new friends the power, they will feel more likely to trust you.
Speaking of the warning signs list; this is something you have to be aware of as well. Get as much input as possible, speaking to people who knew the “old” you for the things they identified as being problems. When you know your potential triggers for self-destruction, you can teach yourself to act differently.
This sounds so simple, but it isn’t.
We naturally want people to like us. That means we tend to dress things up or down, depending on how we want to appear in the story. What you are attempting to do is stressful enough as it is, and the temptation to portray things in a more flattering light is going to be huge.
Don’t fall into the trap. The whole reason for doing this is so you can break free and continue on your life. A half-truth is still half a lie. So don’t embellish or explain where there is no explanation. Confront the history, lay it before them and ask them to do the same.
4. Build and Keep Your Faith
It’s true that all things are possible with God. Now you have to believe it. God really can intervene in your life, if you seek Him with all your heart and soul. God won’t interfere with your free will, so you have to ask God to come into your heart and your life to turn things around for the better. It’s really true that all things work together for good for those who love God. Faith isn’t just about beleiving in God, it’s about trusting God. Trusting Him to help you, to guide you, to provide for you, and to be with you always. Cling to your faith, it is your only life line during ths lifetime especially when things get tough. Life is just so much sweeter knowing God is on your side.
With the situation handled, you are in a new, beautiful situation. You have a clean slate in some regards, but a vital tie to the past to keep you grounded. By getting to this point you have been so brave, so congratulate yourself for that, and move on into the new future you have built. Given all you have done and the steps you have taken to overcome them, it’s a rich future that you deserve.