We all face various disappointments and failures in life. Our life is certainly not always a bed of roses. We cannot always control what happens in our life but we can always choose how we react.
You can always learn how to reframe your past.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
– Charles R. Swindoll
Our reactions are the key to our happiness or our distress. The attitude you choose to have towards your circumstances, your failures or your successes is more important than what happens to you.
How do you see your past?
It is also true about how you see your past events. Now I would like you to take a break and think about an event from your past that caused some discomfort or disappointment in your life. Maybe it was even something heartbreaking.
How did you feel?
What thoughts were going through your mind?
Did you treat this event as a life lesson or as an opportunity to play the role of a victim?
That’s essentially the choice we all have. We can either see our life experiences as lessons and opportunities to grow or we can get stuck in the victimhood mindset.
Sometimes we all have our moments when we feel sorry for ourselves and that’s ok. It is just a part of being human. The problem starts when victimhood mentality becomes your default mode.
Thinking like a victim certainly won’t bring happiness into your life. What’s more, the attitude you choose, directly influences your beliefs and behaviour.
How to reprogram your thinking
Now, I would like you to think of someone who you consider successful, someone who doesn’t give up even when everything goes wrong. Someone who certainly doesn’t seem to show victim mentality. Someone who learns from the past and moves on to build the future that they dream of.
If you don’t know such a person, think of someone famous who you admire and who has such qualities.
Once you have chosen someone, imagine this person speaking about their life and different experiences. See them in your mind’s eye. Hear their voice. Notice their invincible spirit in every sentence that they say. Notice their enthusiasm for life.
While you are looking at the person you admire, ask yourself these questions:
How do you think someone like this keeps their upbeat attitude for life?
How does someone like this overcome their failures?
How does this person leave their past behind and move on?
Pay attention to the answers that you get. What information might be useful for you? What could you incorporate into your everyday life? How can it improve your perception of various life experiences?
You can always choose the perspective on a given situation. You are not always in control over everything that happens around you. But you are always in control of your thoughts and feelings.
Let’s say you lose your job. You can become depressed and treat it as a failure or you can treat it as a stepping stone towards an even better job. A job that would enable you to share your talents with the world in an even more satisfying way.
While you are focusing on your future, you are gently starting to let go of your past. You stop being trapped in a cycle of “what ifs”.
Lessons from the past
Now think of something from your past that has been bothering you. Something that put an unnecessary burden on your shoulders. Then reflect on a different perspective that you might decide to choose.
What kind of a lesson you can learn from that past experience?
Maybe there was a silver lining somewhere underneath the past pain and disappointment?
When you can find a different perspective that is making you feel more empowered. Notice how your attitude towards that past event is starting to change. Notice how this new perception is making you feel. Did you notice more lightness and optimism in you?
Life brings us various experiences. Some of them are certainly painful and harsh. But when we start seeing them as stepping stones on the path of our growth, everything becomes slightly more bearable.
In this whole process of changing your perspective on your past, it is important to also work on your perception of yourself. How we see ourselves is directly reflected in how we perceive our reality.
Creating a positive self-image and choosing the right perspective that will keep us going no matter what is the only thing we can sometimes and that’s a lot. The choice you make can become your superpower.