Our past takes root in the present, interfering with our functioning. However we can resolve our past issues, leading us to greater happiness. Dr. Harold Bloomfield, author of Making Peace with your Past: The Six Essential Steps to Enjoying a Great Future, states that, “Part of making peace with the past is learning new habits of self-care.” (2000, p.41). Here are five actions developed by Dr. Harold Bloomfield to help you make friends with your past.
1. Reframing Your Past
Bloomfield states that, “An essential part of the peacemaking process is learning to see your life story in a new light, to expand your vision of who you are so you can think truly original thoughts and reshape your destiny” (2000, p.10). It takes courage to find the wisdom gained from painful experiences in your life. Seeing your past through the eyes of “glass half full” helps one to put challenging experiences in perspective.
When I was a child, I had a parent with a chronic illness. As challenging as this experience was, it helped me to develop qualities such as patience, sensitivity and determination.
Reflection: In what ways have your painful experiences been catalyst for growth?
2. Accepting What Is and What Isn’t
Bloomfield reflects that, “There is great peace in accepting what is for what it is and what was for what it was. In and of itself, acceptance defuses the past and loosens its grip on your life. What was done can’t be undone or wished away” (2000, p. 43). Our past is something we can’t change. The act of acceptance lifts the burden of the past. Knowing that you can’t change it frees up mental energy that was wasted on regret and self-pity. [Read more…] about Five Ways to Make Peace with Your Past