How Reframing The Past Can Help You Heal Wounds And Enjoy Your Life More

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As a grown adult, you've accumulated enough life perspectives and stories that impact your current expectations of life. Some may be quite unpleasant.

Occasionally, reframing your past is good for your mental health. It’s like cleaning out the closet of your beliefs, keeping what fits, and gleefully throwing out what you no longer need.

Cognitive reframing is defined as "a technique used to shift your mindset so you're able to look at a situation, person, or relationship from a slightly different perspective."

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Does changing your perspective of the past and reframing it really help you live a better life now?

Twenty years ago, I was flying into Anchorage, Alaska. I had an 11-month-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter sitting next to me. I was excited and a little nervous about the next chapter of my life.

My focus was providing for my daughters. As a single parent, I planned on overcoming any and all challenges on my path. My mindset of hard work and challenges cast a deep shadow on the life I created in the 49th state.

I've decided to clean the closet in my mind and do a quick reframing of my last 20 years. A large factor is because my husband still spends much of his time in Alaska. In fairness to our relationship, I need to let go of the challenge mindset.

There's no coincidence in life.

I also received a call from a client struggling with her emotions. Her youngest child moved out this week. It's perfect timing for her to check in on her belief system and receive guidance for moving forward.

Here are 5 easy tips for reframing your past and cleaning up your perceptions of your life experience.

1. Pay attention to what you focus on.

For some people, it’s easy to focus on the struggles and not the accomplishments and good experiences.

Sometimes, I find myself reflecting on what I didn’t like, not the accomplishments of the past 20 years. The past challenges are not part of my current life. Focusing on what I have created with my family is much more satisfying.

My client can be helped by releasing her past mindset of believing she needed to fight for her survival and even love. Now, she can focus on the beautiful independent life she has the opportunity to enjoy.

Her fight is over. She has successfully raised independent adult children and also has a bright career path.

2. Find the part of your life story that you've given too much attention and power to.

Due to my mindset on how to raise and protect children in a challenging environment, I helped create some stressful situations. Our family life was focused on work and overcoming obstacles.

Luckily, this mindset has shifted in the last ten years. Recognizing the current ease in my life will help me recreate my Alaska story — or, at least, my relationship with the last 20 years of my family life.

My client looks back on her life with the idea of loss, hard work, and loneliness. She's also experienced a beautiful shift in her possibilities, is now making friends, and has created a support network.

She can also view her adult children as successful. The practice of sending her children love, no strings attached, will be life-changing.

Notice that both my client and I will be focusing only on our personal perceptions, not what other people are thinking or doing.

You can’t change the action and beliefs of others, only your individual expectations create your personal world experiences.

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3. Recognize that your life and relationships can hold a diverse choice of emotions and feelings.

Nothing is all bad or all good unless you make it that way. Some of your journey was enjoyable and easy while other aspects might not have been.

It’s valuable to recognize the hardships and negative feelings and look at what came out of them, just as it's important to celebrate the wins.

Holding onto hardship is not a requirement in life.

In my personal story, I had many good times and accomplishments in Alaska. I got married and, together, we raised our daughters and even had a third child. I also experienced a major spiritual transformation in my life.

These are what I think of when reframing the past. I’m letting go of the struggles and disappointments.

My client put herself through college while being a single mom with several young children. She now has a degree, owns a home, and has the rest of her life creating loving relationships with herself and others.

Focusing on her accomplishments that came from hard work will leave less room for staying in the pain.

4. Recognize that each person has their own individual experience and story.

Important people in your life may have done things or said things but it wasn’t about you. They were reacting to their personal perceptions of life.

In my story, I can get lost in my mindset of not feeling well in Alaska. If I look at the wholeness of my family, this experience was not just about me.

We were all impacted by a variety of mindsets about wellness. I celebrate that we each have choices to create lifestyles where we thrive.

My client had some people in her life that were unkind and not loving. This was not about her. She chose a partner that didn’t know how to love. The lack of love vibrated through the family.

This can be changed now. She's no longer with that partner so she can now create new loving relationships.

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5. You're now at ground zero of creating your life.

What do you want to take with you? Start by creating a loving story. Look back and carefully select the memories and mindset you are bringing forward.

It's time to let go of the heavy past and create new dreams.

If there's something you're not ready to let go of, ask yourself why.

In my personal story, celebrating where each one of my family members is on their individual journey is what I’m keeping; but I’m not ready to let go of the dark Alaskan winters.

My client is having a hard time feeling rejected by her adult children. To help her feel good now, she can remember her children as young and loving. She can also focus on loving and respecting herself.

As this self-respect and love fill up her life, it will spill over into all her relationships. This might even help her heal the past in ways she never expected.

As I leave Alaska and fly home to Arizona with my son, I think about how much my life has changed. Not only am I flying in the opposite direction but I've also released my idea that life is a struggle.

I am no longer holding on tightly to my children and the belief that I am solely responsible for their wellness. The landscape of my life is completely different from twenty years ago.

I basically am living my dream life, with my family by my side.

My toes are just touching the beginning of my next twenty years.

I feel the sweet dreams and beautiful adventures calling me. My loved ones are near. There will be new family members to welcome and both personal and family successes to celebrate.

I am the creator of my journey, and I love watching my family create their beautiful, healthy life stories.

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Polly Wirum is an intuitive life coach, and writer. If you are ready to discover more about your deepest self, contact her for an intuitive astrological reading, psychic reading, or spiritual life coaching.

This article was originally published at pollywirum.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.