Stop Letting Bad Memories Ruin Your Life
Why do we do this and how can we stop?
These memories can be from the distant past or maybe even last week. But the common factor is that they upset us and make us feel bad.
Only One Good Reason to Focus on Bad Memories
Usually focusing on the past is a waste of time and hurtful. But there can be an important reason to take the time to think about what and why certain things happened.
What are some reasons that it make sense to focus on past situations that make us angry, sad, helpless, guilty or whatever bad feeling you get?
Protect Yourself From Now On
The only reason to do this – and even this reason will be short-lived – is in order to learn the lesson we need to learn so we never have this happen again.
So it’s okay to think about it from the standpoint of “never again will this happen to me!” and then actually making a strategy to protect yourself.
Now only memorize the strategy and the empowered feeling you get when you are helping yourself and putting your best interest as a top priority.
Example: Whenever (insert name here) starts putting me down I will quickly hang up the phone or leave the room. I will use my feelings to judge when to do this. Anytime I feel BAD I will activate this strategy.
Note: Using our feelings as warning systems works well around passive-aggressive type people. They are so skilled at hiding attacks behind a “nice” image that you must rely on your feelings to protect yourself.
So now you have a protective strategy. But what if you start running the same old bad feeling – bad place tape through your head again and again. What will you do?
You will have a strategy for this too!
Pick a New Tape to Run
The best thing I know to do when old tapes insist on filling our head with thoughts that are not helpful is this: replace them with memories or thoughts that make us feel good.
But sometimes we feel like NOTHING feels good and it seems like there are NO good replacements. What to do then?
Look around and find the littlest thing you like – even a bit. For example, I love the beautiful blue color of the sheets on my bed and also the color in a quilt I have. Just looking at it makes me happier. I know it’s a small thing but it gets me in a slightly better mood.
Feeling Better Now
From this better feeling place I can easily think of something else I feel happy about – like my cozy new socks or my cuddly little dog.
Now I’m feeling like I’m sort of lucky to have these things. In other words, I’m starting to feel much better and stronger.
Other ideas: looking at nature is always good and it’s always available too.
It’s a good idea to make a list of things you like when you’re feeling good already. Only list things that make you feel 100% good. Make sure there is no hint of feelings of envy, self-pity, jealousy or any other negative feeling.
Be sure that most of these good things on your list are simple pleasures. Remember – the small and simple things often bring us great joy.
Now when the bad times come you will have your “good things list” ready to help you. You are taking care of yourself ahead of time.
The idea is to start very small and look for just one tiny thing we like. As we start small we can move into a place of greater joy where all the bad memories of the past are exposed as traps and snares leading to our downfall.
The Most Important Lesson of All
Realizing this, we learn that the most important lesson of all is to stay away from these bad and useless memories. They don’t serve our best interests at all.
Remember this: no matter what anyone else tells you or what has happened in the past – you have the power to choose what you think about and focus on today. Always choose the thing that makes you feel better, more strong and powerful.
Practice this every minute of the day. It gets easier the more you do it and the wonderful thing is this: your life will be filled with more of what you’re thinking about now – happiness and joy.