When a friend said to me a few days ago ‘I maybe all messed up but I am not broken’ it got me thinking.
I wonder how true that is for a lot of us? How do we handle stuff in our past that messes us up? Most of us have a bit of a history! Do we ignore it? Go for therapy? Or somehow muddle through?
The best options may vary from person to person, but one thing is sure and that is we can’t change our past but we can do something about our future.
The latest research in neuroplasticity suggests our brains have the ability to reorganise themselves forming new neural connections throughout our lives.
We know that our nerve cells, in the brain, can compensate for injury and disease often building new pathways with remarkable results. But is this not also true of our mental states? Can our minds develop new pathways to adjust from a past that haunts us or holds us back? I think it can.
Many people I work with have got stuck somewhere along the way. The language they use is negative and their anxious cycles seem eternal. It is like they are adrift in a fog and have lost their way. But once they see a glimmer of light and follow it, they find new ways to communicate and explore other pathways ahead.
It would seem that burying our troubles is not the best or most useful method for success. In my experience, pain can get locked in and then surface when you least expect it! Some faiths/philosophies encourage us to sit with our fears, staying with the feelings rather than pushing them aside. They tell us to notice where the pain, sadness or other emotions dwell. It may be in our chest, our head, our stomach or anywhere, but they say watch it with curiosity. I find this works for me. Memories and emotions are just that, they are not something that exists in the flesh, yet we treat them as if they are coming to get us! Being aware and noticing them and then being curious is one very useful technique that works for many people.
Sometimes we expect to clear things in an instant, we become impatient and want miracles. For some that may work but for most of us, taking steps and working in stages allows us to embed the changes slowly and securely.
If you were to make one small change for yourself today what would it be?
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” J.R.R Tolkien The Hobbit