My friend, Mary Fox, and her husband just spent four days with us at our summer cabin near Lake Tahoe. Besides being one of my besties, Mary is a licensed counselor and certified coach with a sense of humor that rivals any other person I know. Having her around is always an experience full of rich conversations and side-splitting belly laughs… a perfect combo in my book!
During one of those conversations, she said something that I thought was worth passing along. She mentioned that in counseling, when people are ready for a real change in their life, there are two important tenets to keep in mind:
- You cannot change the past. You can only accept it and learn from it.
- Focus on moving forward and on creating a future in which you can thrive.
It struck me that there are opportunities all around us every day to apply these two important principles. Being stuck in the past, whether through blame, guilt, shame, anger, hurt, or regret ultimately cripples us from living fully in the present moment and certainly from creating a future where we can ultimately thrive. Professionally, personally, politically, and spiritually, the idea of accepting and learning from our past and then moving on by using those lessons as a catalyst for launching a better future is a true lesson worth remembering.
When we keep the limiting stories of the past alive and active in our conversations and thoughts, we keep ourselves stuck in a continually limited space. If we want to thrive, we must develop the muscle of squeezing out the lesson, accepting, and even blessing the experience or person that taught it to us, and then we must move on toward a more informed and positive future.
This week, notice the limiting stories of the past that you keep alive, either in actual words to others or inside your own head. Ask yourself, “What’s the lesson for me?” Then, work on accepting it as a part of your life story and turn your attention to applying the lesson toward a future where you can thrive.
And, as my funny friend reminded me when I called to clarify her words for this blog (because, after all, it was originally discussed over Happy Hour), “Dang, sometimes I say the most brilliant things … and then I try to get out of the car with my seatbelt on.”
Did I mention she was smart, funny, and humble?
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”