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Monday, April 22, 2013

Exorcising Ghosts From Your Past

 Whether you recently broke up with someone who constantly belittled you or you didn't get along with a sibling or parent, your past can affect you in ways you don't even realize. As you're trying to move forward on a project, create a new relationship or live a better life, you may find yourself feeling anxious, depressed or lonely and not even know why.  If you've been challenged by fear, pain or anger as you try to achieve a new goal, you may be dealing with a "ghost" from your past.  

As a life coach, I encourage people to stay in the present rather than rehashing their past over and over. Sometimes, though, the challenge of staying focused seems impossible. You may be dealing with a ghost if you experience obstacles such as:
  • Anxiety about a current relationship or project that doesn't seem realistic. For example, you might be constantly worried that your new girlfriend is secretly angry at you or that you're about to lose your job. If these fears aren't based in reality but keep reoccurring, it might be based on a past relationship or situation.
  • Negative emotions that become more intense as you become more successful. You may be anxious about success because it conflicts with a life script that says you must not succeed.
  • Conflicts that occur based on what you think is happening instead of on what's really happening. If you get into arguments or otherwise create problems because you expect someone to treat you badly, you definitely are dealing with a ghost.

What to Do

It can be difficult to overcome this challenge; however, if the past still has a hold on you, it's because you haven't resolved something. You may need to understand and forgive the other person from your past -- and yourself -- in order to move forward.

Here's a couple of things to try next time you encounter a ghost:
  • Make a game out of finding compassion for the person from your past. Set a timer for two minutes and write down as many reasons you can think of for why they did what they did. 
  • Ask yourself, "If <new person or situation> isn't <old person or situation>, how might I see things differently?" Continually remind yourself that this is not your past and that it doesn't have to work the same way.
  • Write a letter to yourself acknowledging your pain over the past and explaining why this time is different. Read it over when you feel down.
If these ideas don't completely exorcise the ghosts of your past, you may be dealing with a life script that is blocking your ability to move forward. Register for Rewrite Your Life Script in order to work one-on-one on overcoming limiting beliefs about yourself and free yourself from the past.