Today’s Guest Blogger is Matt Pappas from Surviving My Past. Matt always writes with clarity and insight into issues surrounding trauma and anxiety. Thank you Matt.
I often find myself running towards something in life. I don’t mean physically running, but rather I’m always rushing to the next thing that I have my mind set on.
Maybe it’s the next blog post that I just got inspired to write, or it’s rushing head on towards a big project coming up, or wondering how my household budget will look in 6 months when I want to take a vacation.
What is that really all about, what am I really rushing towards, or running from, as the case may be?
Let’s look at this “rushing towards something”, as also trying to escape the feelings of our out of control past. To not let happen now, what happened then.
Isn’t life all too often about us wanting to control our future? As survivors, didn’t we often we feel like we had no control of our present, let alone our future?
By rushing to head off the next big problem that we see coming down the road at us, whether its work related, finances, family, or whatever, that lack of control feeling can drive us to overthink, over indulge, and over react. It’s as if we are inviting in anxiety without even realizing it.
Like we need any more anxiety in our lives, right?
When I was a young kid, and going through the sexual abuse at the hands of the teenager up the street, I had no control over what was going on. I was powerless to stop it.
When I was being bullied in school, although I was a little older, I felt powerless to stop it. My emotional state was so fragile that every day further validated my feelings of worthlessness and no hope for a positive future.
When both of my marriages ended, I felt powerless. I felt like no matter what I had done to try and be a good husband; it wasn’t good enough. Again, no control over my life because it kept getting ripped out from under me.
Just to be clear, I was not referring to trying to control my spouse or my family…but there is a sense of peace when things are humming along and everything is hunky dory in the family unit. You feel like you are doing right by yourself and your family, and everyone in the household is better off for it.
Yet, even with the best intentions, I couldn’t stop my wife from moving on nor did I even see it coming in the first place.
The regret of not being able to control what happened to us in the past, drives us to try and not let those things happen again, and feel those feelings again. In the process, we miss out on so much and cause ourselves even more anxiety.
So by rushing to try and control so much:
- We are cheating ourselves out of living life in the moment, being fully present.
- We are worrying about things that may never happen, which is the very foundation of Anxiety.
- We are letting our past control us, instead of moving forward to a life of healing.
- To that point, also think of it this way, we are letting our abusers win! Isn’t time we took that power away from them?!
Cheating, Worrying, Control, Anxiety…those are words that none of us like to use when we think about our lives.
- We don’t want to feel cheated out of anything.
- We don’t want to worry so much.
- We don’t want to feel like we are out of control.
- We definitely don’t want to give Anxiety anymore power in our lives.
So what are we to do then?
Don’t sacrifice your current and future happiness on the alter of your past. Don’t allow yourself to get so caught up in the feeling that you couldn’t control your life before, that you do nothing but try and control everything now.
It’s a matter of using Wise Mind to tell myself (and yourself) the following:
- I was a child, I was helpless to control my situation.
- I am not destined to have an adult life that is out of control just because my past was.
- I’m an adult now, and I deserve to be happy.
- It’s good to work and plan for the future, but not to obsess and worry over it to the point of missing out on what’s happening in the here and now. You can’t possibly account for every single thing that’s going to happen in life, and trying to do so increases Anxiety and that dreaded “what if” scenario.
Our past robbed us of enough of our lives as it is already…let’s not allow it to take any more of our future.