Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Not Where You're From, It's Where You're Going.

           I heard this in a song recently. I know it may sound strange for a psychologist to suggest that you don't need to focus on your past in order to fix things in your life. I believe this is absolutely true. As you know, I do believe that we all carry some baggage. And I do sometimes explore relevant past issues with clients, to help them understand how they got to where they are. But often, rather than explore painful past events which can interfere with personal progress, we can focus on fixing things in the present and moving forward from there. One may say, "But the things that happened in my past, make me do the things I do now. They're causing me problems today." Very probably they are. And since we can't go back and change things, let's change what we're doing. Definitely things that may have happened to us as children, directly influence our current behavior, thoughts, and feelings. As children we had little or no control over what happened to us. We were powerless. Our environments (including the people around us) impacted us and our lives. As adults that has changed. We can have a lot more control over our environment, including where we work, live and play, and the people with whom we do those things. Also much more control over what we think and believe.

The idea is to break the bad habits that we've developed (I previously discuss "habits" in my previous postings, PSYCH 101: OCD, 2/21/08; and ANGER MANAGEMENT, 9/17/07). Yes, the childhood influences, often reinforced as we mature, are very strong. Habits are hard to break. But you can do it if you are highly motivated and focused (and get help if you need it).

           This applies to relationships too. Many of the couples that I work with come in focused on their past problems in the relationship (not even the current ones). I consider past problems as symptomatic of the bad relationship then (usually communication and trust issues), and suggest leaving that behind as we look forward and build towards a happier, more loving relationship. Typically some forgiveness is required in order for this to work (see my postings on forgiveness: 5/22/08, 10/1/07, and 7/15/07). The bad habits we develop with each other in relationships are often as bad (unhealthy) as bad personal habits, and may be more difficult to break. So get going, and don't look back!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This blog is definitely true. Communication and trust is key to any relationship, friendship or whatever two or more persons have and share in common. I'm working right now to put the past behind me & focus on the present/future. We, as adults, also need to learn how to establish our own beliefs from the foundation that our parents lay for us. Again this is ALL so very TRUE! Thank You for helping me to see another way.