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Here at the Coaching Blog- one of the world’s leading blogs on the subject of Leadership and Coaching we quite often post articles by leading authors and authorities- today we are delighted to post an article from Suzie Doscher.
Everybody has a past. Without it you would not be alive or be who you are. Living in the past, however, robs you of the present, the present moment, the “Now”. Carrying the past with you also prevents feeling and knowing what the present is offering you. In my coaching practice, exploring some of the “baggage” filled with the past is necessary to find out what exactly you are still hanging on to. Pain that remains should be healed and beliefs that sabotage you with constricting behaviour patterns replaced by healthier ones. Any “I have to’s” or “I should’s” need to be shed. New, exciting, energizing people and things can appear in the space created by leaving behind all that no longer serves your present day life. Sometimes they appear as out of nowhere!
If you are allowing part of your life to be lived in the past, you are compromising what you could have in your life now. Enjoy the memories, allow them to energize you and offer you creativity, but do not hang on to anything no longer of value.
Issues related to unhealed wounds carrying a lot of pain with them are topics that should be addressed with one of the traditional therapies, for example psychoanalysis or hypnotherapy. I have respect for Cognitive Analytical Therapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Hypnotherapy, when carried out by qualified practitioners.
Letting go of the past and living in the present while looking towards the future is rejuvenating.
The best place to start with this topic is by understanding what you can gain from letting go of the past. We tend to focus on what might be lost and frequently overlook what the benefits of taking this step are. Try to imagine a life already free of images and thoughts from the past inhibiting you in the present. Imagine how it would feel if you maintained positive memories, ones that energized you rather than ones that drained you. Carrying negative aspects of the past with you prevents you from feeling and knowing what the present has to offer. Sometimes you may be so entangled in old problems that you cannot see the changes that are necessary to make your life better. For this you will need to “clear out the deadwood” and make space for the new, that is: your life now.
You know that the past is the past; nevertheless you are still caught up in it through strong emotions. Intellectually you understand what is going on but somehow your emotions do not.
Some thoughts to motivate you to move on:
• Consider carefully what it is that you are dwelling on. Be very specific with your answer.
• You might need to write this out and make a list of the beliefs, feelings, and thoughts from which you wish to free yourself.
• Ask yourself how these actually affect your present-day life. Do they really deserve so much of your energy?
• Imagine what it will be like when all this no longer affects you.
• How much space will be set free in your life and in your heart?
• Consider what specifically you are losing by hanging on to these emotions.
• What might you gain by letting go? For example, you might gain space for new things to come into your life, more positive, energizing, empowering people and things.
Consider this exercise: The emotions can be anything from pain, frustration, anger, confusion, and disappointment, even ones that have “no name”!
1. Cry it out. According to Dr. William Frey II, crying away your negative feelings gets rid of harmful chemicals that build up in your body due to stress. Let go by allowing them to wash over you. It might feel horrible, but you will be relieved and peaceful afterwards. Let go by really feeling your way into the emotion. Stifling your feelings may result in their being expressed in a different way, and affecting everyone around you. The point is that you have to feel an emotion fully in order to free yourself of it.
2. Express your feelings through a creative outlet. A favourite of mine is to write the feelings down on paper. Once you have finished, scrunch it up, rip it to shreds, or cut it into pieces. Then take the paper (or in my case the little pieces left!) outside and burn them in a safe place. (Burning is a good idea as long as this process is not a fire hazard. Use a fireplace or a barbecue.) Otherwise, ripping up or cutting is as effective. As it goes up in smoke watch this disappear into nothing. Imagine your negative feelings flowing away with the smoke or, in the case of ripping/cutting, reducing the size of the emotion. It feels wonderful!
3. Metaphorically throw them away. For example, I have thrown rocks into the lake, each one representing something I was letting go of. Picture a house in your mind where you place the emotions, then blow it up with imaginary dynamite. (Needless to say this one works best if you are angry!) The feelings can be placed on a cloud and you can watch them drift away. Choose the action or visualization that works best for you.
4. Remind yourself physically. When your mind takes over by flooding you with negative thoughts, wear a rubber band on your wrist and gently flick it. This trains your mind to associate that type of persistent negativity with something unpleasant.
Once you have managed to heal some old wounds and move forward with less baggage from the past you will feel energized and more motivated by the present.
Suzie Doscher (PSC) a Professional Senior Coach (IIC&M) Coach focusing on Personal Development. These articles are designed to give you support to master your steps towards behavioral, emotional and intellectual change. They offer thoughts/ideas to help you cope with all the stress associated with today’s lifestyle and work demands. May even just one line inspire you.
Check out Suzie’s books full of SELF COACHING Exercises – ‘Balance by Suzie Doscher‘ available in any Amazon store worldwide.
Please also visit: www.suziedoscher.com for more info about coaching.
*This article is an excerpt from, BALANCE – A Practical Handbook for Life’s Difficult Moments by Suzie Doscher.
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