We all have a collection of past experiences, it’s the nature of this beast.
What might be referred to as “rear view mirror” life references are often more important than we realise. There can be an absolute advantage to being brave enough to look back and embrace the things in our past that might have angered or wounded us, the fights we have had and the scrapes we have come through – they mould us, and shape how we perceive our experiences in life moving forward.
We remember things, instances, occasions and peoples’ actions and reactions towards us – some in a matter of fact manner, which often is the way we remember it being, and some in the way we interpreted them at the time, not always positively. These interpretations can have an often undetected but very serious impact on our confidence, ability to progress with vivacity and feeling of being worth enough to achieve what, somewhere deep down, we know we are worth but somehow subconsciously something tells us that we are not worth it anymore. Too often as humans, we “pack” these experiences away or “shut the door” on them because of the amount of either pain or discomfort around addressing and acknowledging them. Often shame plays a part, justifiably or not, in the feelings we associate in recollection to these memories.
Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst and founder of what is known as analytical psychology referred to these as Shadows – quite simply put, parts of ourselves that we hide, repress and deny. Not always, if ever, a comfortable place for us to go to try and look, that’s why so many people never do. However, the process of being willing to go within ourselves, where most fear to, can provide more reward and freedom to living a full life than can be imagined.
Conversely, (and the good news) to our Shadows, we all also have vast amounts of what is referred to as Gold, which we all have in abundance. In a similar to Yin & Yang theory in Chinese philosophy, seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent and might give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.
Our Gold is the good things about us, the positive parts of our personalities, the things we dream of and know we are capable of and our abilities to leave everyone we have an interaction with feeling like a million bucks. The gifts that we all see in each other is our Gold and it shines as brightly as a Shadow can be dark. We can’t have one without the other and we wouldn’t know what good was unless we knew what bad was. As human beings though, we often have a tendency to allow the feelings associated with Shadow to drown out the Light and Gold.
Having the odd look in the rearview mirror is good to do and beneficial no doubt, but let’s not forget about future focus, otherwise known as “Solution” or “Destination focus” – forward movement looking ahead through the windscreen as well as back through the rearview mirror.
It’s beneficial for us to focus on healing parts of ourselves that may have been wounded in the past, not spending too much time there, however. It could be useful in clearing up, understanding and embracing the wreckage of our past that we will not regret but learn from.
If you feel like you might be struggling and not knowing why, feeling like you know you could be doing more or being better and not quite sure what’s holding you back, subconsciously, it could be the “I wasn’t myself”, “I never act like that” moments that we hope never to have to tell anyone about that are holding us back without realising it.
You may know how to do what I’m about to suggest or you may not, sometimes the things we know we forget, so give this a try either way. Take a moment, silence and center yourself as much as you can and are willing, imagine an ideal world for you, think big, no limitations, no obstructions, nothing stopping you and holding you back, no fear, no anxiety, no dwelling on the past, be kind to yourself, love yourself and imagine this world – what in this world, knowing that you could do and achieve anything you wanted to, what would that be?
There are things behind us that we might rather forget. It is good though to embrace what is our good and what’s perceived as bad, acknowledge these and make them part of the whole that is you instead of the enemy that you fight daily in the back your minds. Leave the Shadow in the background, integrate the dark and light to make up the whole that is you, wear your wounds with pride and face forward with determination.