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10 ways to put the past behind you

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Empowerment
10 ways to put the past behind you

In this edition of LIFEadvice, coaches Kim Giles and Nicole Cunningham give great tips for forgiving your past and moving on.

Question:

My life has been hard and I’ve made mistakes, I have a hard time forgiving myself and not feeling defined by my past. How do you not? How do I feel good about myself and as you say see my value as good enough?

Answer:

Everything you feel comes from the way you are looking at the situation. Your perspective determines the story you tell yourself and how you feel about everything. The way you currently see your past and the feelings you have about it could completely change if you chose a different perspective.

Here are some ways you might change your perspective and look at your past differently. See if they help.

1. Choose to see life as a journey.

Imagine your life as a road trip. On this road trip there are high points and low points. Some of the experiences are fun, some are scary and others are miserable. Each of these experiences could be seen as a location on your journey through life. These experiences do not define who you are nor do they affect your value as a person. They are just places you’ve been. Just because you spent time traveling through Texas doesn’t make you a Texan. Texas was a location on your journey; it is not who you are forever.

2. See life as a classroom.

The thing you must understand about your past is that each experience — each location you have been through — has brought you to where you are today.

Each experience taught you things. Some experiences taught you about who you don’t want to be. Some showed you options in human behavior and the consequences of those options. Each experience served a purpose in your life to help you become stronger or smarter. At least, you have the option of seeing them this way if you want to. You could choose to embrace what each experience taught you and remember that you are not there anymore.

You are a different person now. The person you are today wouldn’t make the choices you made then (though that is partly because of what you learned from making those choices before). You cannot change the past, nor should you want to. Your journey taught you important lessons. But you can refuse to let your past define you now.

3. Choose to see your value as infinite and unchangeable.

You have the option of believing every human being has the same intrinsic value and that value cannot change. This would mean that no matter what mistakes you have made, they don’t affect your value and you still have the same value as everyone else. You can see human value this way, by simply deciding to.

4. Let go of shame.

We define shame with the acronym: Should Have Already Mastered Everything. You are always a student in the classroom of life, so you can’t expect to have known everything, all along. That would make no sense. Shame is a waste of your energy. Instead, focus all that energy toward being who you want to be today.

5. Live in this moment, all the time.

There will never be a moment when it is not “this moment” and this is the only moment you have the power to make any choices. In this moment you can always choose to see yourself as good enough and let your past be experiences that taught you things and nothing else. Don’t waste time that could be filled with joy today, feeling pain over the past.

6. Focus your energy on what’s in your control.

Look at your current situation and write down what’s in your control and what’s not. Focus your time and energy only on what is.

7. Do something to metaphorically let the past go.

Write down the experiences you are having trouble letting go of emotionally. Then burn the paper, bury it, or tie it to a balloon and let it go, or rip it up and throw it in the trash.

8. Choose to trust life and the universe.

Another option you have is to trust that your journey was the perfect one for you and that everything happens for a reason. Trust that you are on track and right where you are supposed and always have been. If you choose this perspective, it will change how you feel about yourself and your past.

9. Don’t worry.

Worry, guilt and stress do you no good. They will not prevent bad things from happening, and they just make you miserable. Choose to trust that good things will happen to you. Optimism may actually draw good things your way in the future because people will be more drawn to you.

10. Set aside a time each day to experience regret and guilt.

If you just can’t let the past go, choose a 15-minute block of time today to wallow in self-pity and shame. Dive in and immerse yourself in it during that time, but the rest of the day don’t think about it.

The key to a successful, happy life today lies in looking at the past, understanding it and learning from it, then, leaving it in the past and moving forward. Put the lessons you’ve learned to work by making better choices today. Choose to see the past as a location on your journey that taught you things and nothing else; do not let it define your value or who you are. If you see experiences accurately, you will be grateful for the lessons and even be empowered to be a better you.

You can do this.

8 ways to cope when life is impossibly hard

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Empowerment
8 ways to cope when life is impossibly hard

Question: I have a very serious illness that no one has ever heard of and I find it extremely devastating and lonely. What can someone like me, in my position do?  I’ve struggled with this for over 30 years and this is impossibly frustrating and miserable. You have no idea. Do you have any advice for dealing with this?

Answer: Many of life’s challenges are impossibly hard and painful. Many of these problems have no answers, solutions or remedies. They are painful and they are going to stay painful for a long time. In this situation, with no escape available, your options are limited. You have control over very little.  For the most part, all you can do, is work on choosing your attitude and mindset inside the challenge. Vivian Greene said it best, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Here are 8 suggestions to help you dance in the rain (and find joy and peace) despite an impossibly hard challenge:

  1. Buddha said, “It is your resistance to “what is” that causes your suffering.” It is your wishing and wanting things to be different than they are, that is the real cause of your pain. You have created (and attached your happiness to) expectations about how your life should look or feel. The problem is life rarely meets our expectations, and most often takes you in a direction you never saw coming. So, now that you are here, how much time and energy are you going to waste wishing you were somewhere else?  All this time and energy is wasted and painful. You will suffer less if you stop resisting and choose to accept this path as the right one for you.
  2. Trust there is order in the universe and purpose and meaning in all things. Choose to see the universe as a wise teacher, who knows what it’s doing, and whose ultimate objective is always to serve you and your growth. This would mean every experience you have is here to facilitate learning and make you smarter, stronger, wiser or more loving. This means things don’t happen to you – they happen for you.I know, during times of intense suffering, it is difficult to believe your misery is here for a positive purpose. (And I cannot prove to you this idea is truth – though you can’t prove it’s not truth either.) But I do know from personal experience, that choosing to trust there is a positive reason, a painful experience is here, does make me suffer less.

    I first learned this from reading about Viktor Frankl, who during intense suffering in the concentration camps of World War II, found if he chose to believe there was meaning in his suffering (that it was here for a reason) he not only suffered less, but also felt motivated to rise and get through the suffering in the best possible way. He said “Suffering ceases to be suffering [at the same level] the moment it finds meaning.”

    If you choose to see the universe as on your side and working for you, instead of against you, and if you choose to believe every experience is therefore the perfect classroom journey for you – you will find more peace in spite of the difficulty.

 

  1. Focus on this present moment only. If you try to process the weight of the coming years of loneliness or pain you might have coming it will crush you. It is too much, too scary and too discouraging. So set that weight down. Focus only on this present moment or hour. Get through this hour choosing to be a positive and happy as possible, What can you do at this moment for yourself to relieve pain, create joy or just distract yourself. You have great power in this moment to choose your mindset (it is actually the only time you have any power of choice). Use that power to chose loving feelings towards yourself and others. Use this moment to experience gratitude and count your blessings (no matter how bad things get there are still things to be grateful for.) Create a life of happiness, kindness, service, joy and fun, one moment at a time.

 

  1. Find a passion project. During times of trail or suffering we can often find ourselves unproductive, stuck and feeling useless. It helps a great deal if you can find a passion projects of some kind that makes you feel fulfilled, productive or accomplished. Even if it is just a journal or blog, a puzzle or a scrapbook. What could you do with your time instead of wallowing.

 

  1. Allow yourself limited pity party time. It is natural during times of suffering and challenge to feel self-pity, sadness and grief. You should feel and experience these emotions and not try to suppress them all the time. It is actually important you give yourself time to feel these feelings and have a good pity party or cry, just don’t live there. If you feel these emotions coming up today give yourself a limited amount of time (like an hour or 20 minutes) to deep dive into the negative emotions and cry if you need to. Giving yourself this time is an important part of the lesson this experience is here to teach you. You will also find you actually feel better after a good cry. I believe it gets some of the pain out so you always feel better after.

 

  1. Lower your expectations around what you can do. When you are going through an impossibly hard experience at least half your brain power and energy are being used to process the trauma of the situation. This doesn’t leave you with enough band width for all the other tasks or interests you usually do. Go easy on yourself and expect less. Give yourself permission to have a messier house or get less done. Be realistic with the energy you have and say no to things you know will wipe you out later.

 

  1. Give up envy and wishing you had someone else’s life journey. It is really easy to find yourself in a place of envy when your life is hard. It does seem unfair that other people get lives that seem easier than yours, but dwelling on this does you no good and in fact, will make you feel even worse. Remember, their journey isn’t over and all of us will face some challenges sooner or later. Remember this journey (though painful) is the right one for your soul, or you wouldn’t be here. Trust the universe knows what it’s doing and that growth is its purpose. There are amazing lessons, knowledge and strength to be gained from your journey, and though you would rather not go through this to gain them, there will be a benefit down the road.

 

  1. Use this experience and the unique knowledge (on the human condition and suffering) it is giving you, to bless the world in some way. Your misery can often become your message. If you suffer with chronic illness you can show others how to cope in a positive way. If you are a single mother, you could help newly divorced women handle their new realities with more joy. If you lose a loved one, you can be a resource to others who are suffering grief. There is always a way to use what has happened to you to make a difference in the world.At some level that is why I write this column every week. My journey has not been an easy one at all. I apparently signed up for many hard classes in the classroom of life, and have experienced suffering on almost every level. I tell you this only because trying to use my challenges to help others, helps me. Most of these articles are full of practical ideas, I have actually used, to get me through hard times. When you can make your suffering useful to someone else, it helps.

     

There is nothing I could write that would take away the pain of your suffering, but I do believe you can lessen it, at least to some degree, by using these 8 ideas.  Every day is another chance to practice choosing joy, peace, happiness and laughter in your life, and you don’t have to do it perfectly, just keep making progress.

You can do this.

Uplift Parenting Conference By Nicole Cunningham and Kim Giles

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Empowerment
Uplift Parenting Conference By Nicole Cunningham and Kim Giles

Kim Giles is a featured speaker at this year’s Uplift Parenting Conference in Utah. Kim will be sharing the importance of parenting without fear and how to step into greater levels of trust and love with our children. Kim is a mother of 7 and has been a family and executive life coach for 15 years. Kim is an author, speaker and has over 9000 articles published on the topic of living fearlessly. She is president of upskillrelationships.com and co host of Relationship Radio on Voice America.

More Here!

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