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rewrite your past as an empowering story

“Well, that’s the last three years of my life wasted.” I remember saying these words to one of my best friends after leaving my marriage. The last chapter of my marriage was tainted by gaslighting, manipulation, emotional and verbal abuse and betrayal. I didn’t value myself enough to step away sooner. This sentiment would echo in my thoughts for a long time afterward. I was thankful to myself for finally being courageous enough to leave.

But this was overshadowed by stronger emotions of shame, fear, self-blame, disappointment, regret and low self esteem (my shadow self). For the last two years, I knew, deep down, that the marriage wasn’t good for me. Naively, I hoped it would turn around. I blamed myself for being weak. The experience was chalked up as another example of me not having any boundaries, giving away my power and so busy doing, achieving, and striving that I lost my practice of self-love and purpose. How I now choose to interpret this experience is characteristic of how we are all conditioned to view past actions, decisions and relationships through the typical lens of judgement and self-criticism.

When we choose to explore the past, we unconsciously open ourselves up to the inner critic that is the narrator, judge and mean girl. The flurry of emotions and words that come forth as you attach meaning to past events are rarely helpful. We call ourselves cowards and pushovers; we feel foolish, guilty, insecure, naïve, shameful, unlovable and weak. In these moments, when we talk to ourselves, there’s no compassion, kindness or desire to understand past behaviours. We bully ourselves and this does nothing more than reinforce negative self-beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world around us.

It’s perfectly normal to reflect on the past, but how and for what purpose we choose to engage with it is hugely important. We tend to think that we consciously learn and grow by critically analysing our past. However, when we start from a place of negativity, the potential for constructive learning greatly diminishes.

I learnt a great deal more when I stopped judging my past self and instead started reflecting to accept, forgive, learn and eventually, let go. Exploring your past should be an exercise in compassionate review that leads to a deeper understanding and ultimately strengthens your relationship with yourself. Begin with the awareness that we always look upon the past from a place of distance, as a different version of ourselves, and from here, it’s easier to see things we could’ve done differently.

My hindsight was fuelled by my ego’s powerful tools of blame, guilt and other negative emotions and self-talk. With self-love and compassion, I reminded myself that what I chose to do was the only thing I could do at that time with what I knew and felt, who I was and the circumstances in which I found myself. The most positive action we can take about the past is to change our perception of it.

You have the power to change your perspective and reframe your past self’s narrative into a story that empowers you. Reframing your story doesn’t mean glossing over mistakes or pretending a situation was great when it may not have been. Instead, it’s about discovering what we can learn if we choose to ask the right questions with a compassionate heart and then letting go to make space for growth and transformation.

Rather than feeling as if you have lost precious time to bad situations, feel grateful for each setback, heartbreak or trauma. Your past experiences are lessons for your future self. Be grateful for each relationship and what you learned about yourself by giving away your heart and taking it back to rebuild from scratch. Be grateful for every friendship and what you learned about yourself through embracing and letting go of different people. Be grateful for your career choices and what they continue to teach you about yourself through working in and out of alignment with your purpose.

The woman you are learning to love more each day wouldn’t be here without her past. You are right now a more authentic version of yourself because the learning experience of the past is your fuel to break old patterns and challenge limiting beliefs. Allow your history to shape you, but don’t limit your present and future self by allowing the past to define you forever.

Three years have passed since and, in that time, I was given space to reattune myself back on my spiritual journey transforming into the best self-loving version of me with healthy boundaries in all of my relationships and a feeling of internal wholeness. This time has been deeply powerful and transformational. Working with your shadow self is an essential aspect of inner growth.

I am constantly reframing the narrative of my past through a lens of compassion, gratitude and growth. Looking back, behind every ‘poor’ choice, there was low self-esteem, low self-worth, negative limiting beliefs, and people-pleasing. I was stuck in a cycle of seeking external validation that perpetuated the betrayal of my authentic self. My marriage breakdown was a whisper from the universe to pay attention, act and empower my true self. I was deaf to this whisper for a long time until it became a scream. Finally, I listened. I can now forgive and accept the past without thinking if only…

I now mindfully purge and process my negative emotions and know with every cell of me I am not the person I once was. Yet, I am grateful for the past gut blow betrayals, disappointments, challenges and heartbreaks as they have shaped and strengthened me into who I am as I walk the path back to my authentic self.

We all have pasts and we’ve all made choices that maybe weren’t the best for us. But remember, your past is now just a story. You get to tell it again, this time, as an empowering story that has taught you valuable lessons. The past pushes you forward to become a more authentic you. I am grateful for this space for my expansion and awakening self-love. No matter how I have received in the past, in the present, or in the future, I am committed to receiving myself with love and acceptance, to attract the same from others.

Your life experience is your strength, so don’t wish it different or deny it. Love it, embrace it. Today and everyday, I am on a journey from where I am to where I am destined to be.

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