They tell me to stop thinking about the past...
“Stop thinking about the past and move on” is a common remark people tell you when you’re dealing with your trauma. While I agree that at a certain point we can’t obsess about our past, we also can’t minimize it.
Our past is what shaped us. Although there’s a debate about nature vs nurture, much of our interests, personality traits, triggers, values, roles, habits, rituals, etc., are present because of our past. Pun intended.
Some people are fooling themselves into thinking they live each day with a “blank slate”. Really what that portrays to me is that those people are numbing their feelings and emotions, they aren’t processing or trying to have a growth mindset, and one day it’s all going to explode and manifest in physical and neurotic ways. WHOA.
Think about it this way; there’s a reason tea kettles need to let out steam...Clever right?
It’s all about finding patterns in your behaviors or triggers. These triggers that cause your difficult behaviors affect your lifestyle in more ways than you realize. They affect your promotions, your ability to gain and maintain HEALTHY relationships, your ability to fail and keep trying, your ability to respond instead of react, and your ability to be liked.
It’s actually quite empowering being able to trace things from the past and link it to current behaviors. Because once you notice “I have a fear of failure because my parents only made me feel loved when I succeeded, thus I get incredibly anxious and depressed when I feel I have failed because I’m worried they won’t love me anymore”...AND “I have a fear of failure because girls are socialized to be perfect so when I was compared to other girls, that gave me a sense of competitiveness to do my best academically”... AND “I have a fear of failure because Indian culture values you becoming a successful doctor, engineer and lawyer, so if I don’t become successful I will be a disappointment to my family and my community”...you realize your fears and anxieties aren’t inherently your fault (even if you're biologically more predisposed to anxiety/depression). Your fears are valid, and are a culmination of biopsychosocial factors.
Which leaves you to the hard part. Realizing it’s your job to change your behaviors/reactions and to be vulnerable. Understanding there are things you can control (emotional regulation, mindfulness, your behavior, your reaction, self-care) and things you can't control (your parents, weather, others reactions, socialization, systemic racism, your genetics, generational trauma).
Realizing that even though your environment (parents, schools, teachers, friends, strangers, culture, religion, etc) jaded you; you have a chance to soften and heal.