Well, I guess it was inevitable, wasn’t it, a post about looking backwards, and looking forwards, at this time of year. The thing is, looking backwards, or looking forwards, they’re not just something for the end of one year, and the start of another. The fact that it’s the start of a new year just means we’re physically living in the useful metaphor for the learning point I want to make with these thoughts.
On Looking Backwards:
Looking backwards can be dangerous. Looking back, and dwelling, in our sad stories does not serve us. Looking back, to before the badness happened, craving what was, does not serve us. Looking back and seeing only pain, does not serve us. Looking backwards can be dangerous.
Looking backwards can be liberating. Looking back, and seeing, feeling, knowing, that we are not there any longer, that we have made positive changes in our lives, that our lives have got positively better, is freeing ourselves from the tyranny of pain. Looking backwards can show us with evidence that it gets better. Looking backwards at how far we’ve already come can give us hope for the future. Looking backwards can be liberating.
On Looking Forwards:
Looking forwards can be dangerous. Looking forwards can feel overwhelming, so far to go, the feeling that we may never get there. Looking forwards and seeing only a narrow life, coping with the symptoms, taking it one day at a time, feeling like life will always be a struggle, disconnected to dreams, only seeing the pain in the now. Looking forwards can be dangerous.
Looking forwards can be liberating. Looking forwards can give us something to look forward to, a reason for living, a reason for smiles. Looking forwards can give us hope for a better future, and hope is a powerful drug, hope can keep us going when we have run out of other reasons to keep going. Looking forwards can mean we make plans, plans mean we start to do those things, doing things changes our life, changing our life helps us heal. Looking forwards can be liberating.
In the Community group we focus on both looking backwards (on a Sunday, our gratitude day, recognising how far we’ve come, that it really does get better) using the hashtag #itgetsbetter and on looking forwards (on a Monday, the start of the week, with plans that we’re looking forward to) using the hashtag #futurefun.
Create an Achievements Record
I invite you to make a positive ritual out of looking backwards: keep a record of all the GOOD things you’ve done, experienced, seen. Human nature focuses on the bad and the good often gets lost in the clutter of the mind. I always encourage my clients to keep a daily, or a weekly, record of their achievements. It’s a wonderful resource to turn to and look at on those days when you feel blue. And I invite you to make certain that you always have something to look forward, however small – mark it on your calendar and keep focused on it. Future milestones are very anchoring for our focus.
A new year represents a new chapter in the book of our life; and so can every day. Every day we have the opportunity to remember that our book, our life, is not defined by one chapter. One chapter leads to another, and we have choices in how we choose to write each one. With positive intention, look backwards, or look forwards, but also enjoy your now.
If you want support in how you can start to feel better, please take a look at this easily accessible mini-course, your Taste of Recovery.
All the love xx