Do you know these 5 keys to moving forward? (Part I)
Hi Energy Bath:
Last month, I sent you a great article about how clutter can keep us stuck in the past. As a Higher Brain Living® Facilitator, I get this question a lot: How to I move forward from the past?
Getting unstuck is an amazing – and necessary! – first step. But once you've broken free from the physical, emotional, and spiritual clutter that's keeping you stuck, how do you start moving in a positive direction and keep going? How do you identify and begin creating the life you've always longed for? Keep reading to discover the latest research – along with basic practices – that can help you break free from the past and jump start your forward journey.
To your most free and joyful life ahead,
P.S. We also heard your feedback saying that you'd like these articles to be a little shorter, so we've broken up this topic into two newsletters, and we'll work to make things more concise in the issues to come. Be sure to look for the second half next month!
Do you know these 5 keys to moving forward? (Part I)
Maybe you've been stuck for a while. Maybe you've done a ton of personal work and don't feel as trapped as you used to – but you're looking for something to launch you into the next authentic phase of your personal development. Maybe you've made awesome progress and just find yourself plateaued at the moment. If you're like most of us, maybe it's a little of all three, depending on the issue and the day.
There are consistent habits that people who are free from the past all share, and fortunately, we get to benefit from their long life experience, their research, their observations, and their wisdom. So what are some of the behavioral and life habits that we can cultivate to help drive forward momentum? Here are 5 of the biggest.
Learn to love the small steps. If you're not happy with where you are, it might be tempting to say, If I can't make big changes, then there's no point. I might as well just stay put. But research shows that small, intentional steps are the things that actually pave the way for long-term success. In fact, some people would say that the small steps, all added up, ARE the success, because they become the habit and the lens through which we see our role in sustainable change. Our brains love the feeling of accomplishing short-term goals (hello, dopamine!), and those small steps also provide us with a way to see positive possibilities in a realistic future without getting overly anchored in a way-out future fantasy. Incremental goals allow you to see your life as a series of present-moment choices that you have control over; you're not stuck in the perceived "failures" of the past, and you're not stuck in some far-off "someday."
So, you might not be able to afford a personal trainer, but you can commit with a friend to add in one healthy habit every two weeks for the next six months to start getting free from health issues of the past. You might not be able to pay off all your credit card debt today, but you can pick the smallest balance you want to pay down and set your focus there and then work up – what financial experts call the "snowball effect". You might not be able to clean your whole house, literally or metaphorically, but you can start with one room. The reality is that small victories are still victories, and they feel awesome, and they propel you onward. The willingness to do small things is an act of defiance against defeat and despair; it is a declaration of your hope. As Robert Collier simply observed, "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out."
Take responsibility and make amends for the things you've had a part in breaking. There are certainly situations where the pain of the past comes from things that have been done to us – abuse, neglect, betrayal – and it is healthy to recognize that we did not have a say in the actions of others. But if there's a situation where you caused pain or a relationship that suffered because of something you did or said, do what you can to make it right. Even if that simply means writing a letter; even if it doesn't restore the relationship to what it was; even if it is vulnerable and painful – do it, anyway. The burden of carrying it is likely paralyzing you to a life that is not nourishing for you. Dr. Judith Sills, a writer and psychologist, explains what it is to wholeheartedly express remorse:
A statement of remorse includes three essential pieces—a clear articulation of the harm you feel you did ("When we were little, I teased you so meanly"); a chance for the other person to express his or her point of view, old fury, or past pain, which will be uncomfortable to hear but requires validation from you ("I can see that I let you down... treated you terribly... was unfair. You have every right to be angry"); and an authentic expression of remorse, from the heart ( "I want you to know that I understand how I hurt you, and I'm so very sorry").
The repair steps may or may not restore the relationship. Many other factors will determine that outcome. But it is a way to put that part of the past that has been plaguing you firmly behind you (Sills, 59).
Choose forgiveness. Sometimes, there really is nothing that you did that needs to be repaired. There are situations where you might have been unjustly acted upon without your knowledge or permission. Forgiveness can be a hard one. Dr. Amed Sood, an expert on overcoming stress at Mayo Clinic, reports that in all his research over the last decade, forgiveness (of others, as well as ourselves) is the step that people struggle the most with. There is something pure and clean and satisfying about righteous anger, and forgiveness is often equated with letting a perpetrator off the hook, or with being weak, or with saying that it was okay that someone hurt you.
Let's be clear: forgiveness is about letting go of the resentment, rage, bitterness, and hostility that we feel after being wronged. It's not about saying that what happened was okay. It's not saying that you deserved what happened. It's not even restoring a broken relationship (that's reconciliation, which may or may not be the right choice, or even possible, depending on your situation). Hanging on to the anger we may feel, however justified, is like driving around with the emergency brake on all the time: we can get from place to place, but there is so much resistance, and eventually things burn out and break down. We emotionally and spiritually chain ourselves to the very moment, decision, or person we say we hate, and we carry them with us everywhere we go. Holding on to bitterness means that they are with us all the time. It's a heavy burden to bear. Culturally, we tend to think of forgiveness as something we do for the other person or because it is the "right" thing to do; in reality, it's something we do for ourselves. It allows us to let go, to be truly free, and to move forward. It's hard to do – but it works.
These are the first three behaviors that people all share who are free from their pasts—regardless of age, life situation, or what has happened to them. It's important to note that these are not things we should have to do alone. If you need help as you start to get unstuck and take steps forward, please don't hesitate to reach out to a trusted counselor or other wellness practitioner!
Be sure to check in again next month for the final two secrets to achieving and maintaining freedom from the past!
As a Higher Brain Living® Facilitator, I am committed to helping people look honestly at how things are for them, and then helping them create a life—and the forward momentum towards that life—that they long for. If you're curious about what could be possible for you as you seek to move forward with passion and courage, I would welcome your questions. You can try a session of Higher Brain Living® for yourself, with no obligation to continue, by clicking here.
NEWS + EVENTS + HAPPENINGS
Wake Up To Joy! Join us April 19th from 12PM to 1PM at the Marian Center for Non-Profits for a mind-blowing demonstration. The Higher Brain Living® system create a surge of energy into your Higher Brain, opening you to more joy, clarity, peacefulness, and purpose like no other personal development program on the planet. Register for this FREE event here.
This event is hosted by the Milwaukee Healing Spirit Expo! You must also RSVP through their website (also free): http://mke-wellness.com
On May 16th we will be having a fun and FREE movie event and presentation from 2PM – 5PM! This event will take place at the Atrium at Rolling Spirit. Visit our Eventbrite (http://higherbrainliving-thirdward.eventbrite.com/) soon for more information! Hope to see you there!