It doesn’t take a trained psychologist to realize that past experiences often dictate how we handle situations in our present—but they don’t have to define how we handle them in our future. My father was an adulterer for many years, which not-at-all-surprisingly has caused feelings of anxiety and distrust in my current relationships.
Sound a little familiar?
We all have an unpleasant story to tell. Literally rewriting some of these stories can help us to avoid negative warning signs we too often face. We know that journaling can help lead to self-confidence and stress relief. But instead of writing about the past, try these four methods to help you completely rewrite your past into one that can help you have a healthier present and future.
Try to remember a pivotal story from your past—ugly details and all—that might currently be affecting your present. Try to express gratitude for the lesson (or lessons) you learned and the fact that you made it through that tough time.
Stop Playing the Blame Game
Do you often find yourself blaming past boyfriends or girlfriends for why things aren’t working out in your present relationships? You tell yourself you’re not worthy of love or find some self-loathing reason to sabotage your current relationships. Start to change this pattern by retelling a story from your past to yourself as a role other than as the victim. If you retell it without placing blame on someone else for your behavior, this can change your attitude towards the situation and how it affected you.
Find a New Perspective
Try rewriting your story altogether from a different perspective—perhaps from that of an ex or a family member. We all choose to remember things differently, so why not create a new perspective that empowers you to believe you can make changes moving forward?
Write with Prompts
Maybe you’re stuck and don’t know what story to start rewriting. If so, try using a prompt such as “The most important thing that has shaped me to date is…” or “I will never forget the lesson I learned when…” or simply “I am grateful for…” All three of these statements could lead to some pretty mind-opening truths that you maybe haven’t thought about in a long time.