Like all challenges in life, greater awareness and willingness to work on an issue can spark change. The good news is that can you unlock your past and make conscious choices about what you want out of life and relationships. Author Karen McMahon writes, "Dating and being in a relationship can be immensely valuable, as it is only when we are in relationships that we work out our "issues."
There are many reasons why people have difficulty letting go of the past and moving into healthier relationship patterns. Sometimes we might take our parents' offenses to heart — such as an unhappy marriage or high conflict divorce — and blame ourselves. After all, children want to admire their caregivers, so when they are untrustworthy, the kids may blame themselves as a way to make sense of their world. Some people even create a narrative for their life that focuses on suffering and blame.
The following steps will help you move on from the past and make healthier choices in present relationships:
• Gain awareness of past hurt and adopt a more realistic perspective of it. This might mean talking to your parents about their marriage or taking a closer look at your own relationships.
• Acknowledge the damage that was done and shift to an impersonal perspective that's focused on understanding and healing rather than blame.
• Find ways to repair damage by writing a new narrative for your life — one that includes partners who are trustworthy and willing to work on building a committed relationship.
• Examine your expectations about intimate partnerships. You might be more focused on your dream of how a relationship should be rather than the reality of how it is, ultimately leading to disappointment.
• Focus on the things you can control. Accept that you can't control the past but can exercise the power of choice today.
Let's close on this powerful quote: "Self-awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities. I don't mean self-consciousness where you're limiting and evaluating yourself. I mean being aware of your own patterns." — Tony Robbins