Ghosts From Your Past
A lot of us spend a significant amount of our time rehashing painful past experiences, seeing these images in our heads and feeling the same fear and hurt that we did during the actual events. In mindfulness terminology we always say that your only true home is the present, and that’s because you spend every moment of your life in the present tense, but it sure doesn’t feel that way sometimes.
One of the best philosophical ways to move forward in order to no longer let a negative past influence your present is to think in terms of power and helplessness. The helplessness component is a huge psychological reason why people continue to turn a past experience over and over in their minds; it’s really hard to get over precisely because it’s such an affront, such a violation to your being when you are subjected to emotional pain where you have no say in the matter.
What you’ve got to realize is that you really are safe now. Those experiences can’t hurt you anymore unless you let them, by continuing to bring that emotional state from the past into the present, feeling the exact same way now as you did then. Where before you were helpless to change matters, a bitter pill to swallow and one many of us like to ignore, you’re not helpless now and you have all the power to decide who you are going to surround yourself with and what situations you are going to enter.
The ghosts from your past can’t harm you now. They are ephemeral and are simply memories, painful memories, but memories nonetheless. Actually the greatest act of power available to you is to do what your former self couldn’t, which is banish those ghosts and refuse to let them affect the quality of your life now. This doesn’t mean repressing them from your conscious awareness or pretending these things didn’t happen to you, but it does mean remembering to ground yourself in the present when they rise up in your conscious awareness, saying to yourself out loud that you are safe from them now and that you are not helpless anymore.