31 Days of Intentional Breathing: Don't breathe life into the past
Remember the scene where Simba is wrestling with his past, and Pumba says "you have to put your behind in your past", to which Timon responds, basically, "no, no, no, you have to put your past behind you"! Or when Rafiki says "yes, the past can hurt, you can either run from it or learn from it". We could also add, "or you can keep living in it". Because sometimes that's what we do. We live in the past. We remain victims of the past.
We have to learn to stop breathing life into the past. That doesn't mean we deny the reality of what our past experiences were or how they shaped our thoughts, etc. BUT if we continue to breathe life into it, we allow it (the past) to begin to define us, to control us and to have a power over us that it was never meant to. We aren't able to truly heal and in the right sense, move on, thus being able to perhaps help others heal from the same experiences.
Is it possible to have been a victim but no longer remain a victim? Is it possible to remember the past and no longer feel anger, hurt, anxiety, bitterness? Is it possible to remember the past but also realize how far we've come and use the past as a lesson or example for others of what is possible? I'd like to think so, no matter what we have gone through. We have all heard stories that run from one extreme to the other and many in between. Some people can never seem to get over something, while others have grown and thrived. Others, still, remain somewhere in the middle. They are working on healing, but maybe struggling more, maybe just kind of stuck in limbo.
No one's experience should ever be undermined because it is their experience and even if we've gone through the same thing, we aren't them, yet, we can encourage one another, we can work on ourselves, we can stop breathing life into our past. Stop giving it power that it doesn't deserve. I believe remembering it and breathing life into it are two different things. It is a part of our story, part of our life, and remembering it leaves it there, but uses it as a tool. When we breath life into it, we do just that, we give it life again, we stir the embers, we get angry, we lash out, we get even, we continue to remain the victim and that circumstance, that person remains your captive.
For example, growing up I knew our dad loved us, but he was very critical and rather than building us up, it felt like we could never do anything good enough. There were some issues that caused us to move from northern Ohio, away from family, to the west coast, where things got better, though he could still be so negative. His parents were the same way. I grew up not being very confident, not really feeling like I was good enough, and couldn't do anything right. NOW, while I still struggle with some of these things, I've let go of that hold the past could have, I've put it past me, I love my dad and have learned how to relate to him and let comments roll off my back. Even though I struggle with those things I mentioned above, I realize it and work to speak the opposite over myself and not use the past as an excuse. The way I was treated no longer affects my emotions, or who I believe myself to be. AND it did affect how I raised my girls, to be confident young ladies, believing in themselves whole heartedly. I believe my relationship with Papa, Jesus and Holy Spirit also played a huge role in that healing, because I realized how valuable I was to them, and as a freshman in HS found safety in this relationship and with friends who built me up and were solid rocks during my HS years. Who knows where I would have ended up otherwise.
If your past is still alive and well (or not well), how about putting it to rest. If you need to seek help doing that, do so. You are so valuable and worth so much more than your past is trying to tell you. You deserve to live free and whole and healthy. You deserve to live your best life. Leave the past off of social media, leave it out of the ears of people who won't help you let it go. Surround yourself with people who only want the best for you, who will help you heal the right way, not through anger, revenge, whatever negativity is flowing. Immerse yourself in things that speak of who you are.
I know, I know, some will say, you are not a professional, so you don't know and you don't have a place to say and you have no idea. You're right, and there are probably some things that truly need a professional to step in and help. Maybe this is just for that person that hasn't been through something extreme and just needs to leave the past where it belongs....in the past.
As a side note....I didn't do that great of a job posting every day. It was more of a struggle than I thought it would be. I'll try again next year, and maybe periodically will do more posts that are nearer to my heart.
With Joy Unquenchable,