Let’s face it...we all have a past and memories associated with that past. Some may be good and some may be bad. These are simply the facts of life. These memories replay over and over in our heads and unfortunately, the negative ones tend to get more screen time than the positive ones. Ever heard the saying...”Haters speak louder than lovers”? Well, it is basically the same thing with our memories of past experiences. We tend to focus on the negative and torture ourselves with things that were said or not said, things that happened or didn’t happen and even things that haven’t even happened yet. Sometimes these memories or events are so painful that we choose to push them away and not face them. Some may result to drugs and alcohol and others may develop things like severe anxiety or OCD. All of these are just an attempt to avoid having to face the realities that life has dealt. We become master chameleons. We have a happy and fun exterior while our interior is actually extremely dark and painful. As a result, our past begins to build our future. Past traumas become triggers that derail us as soon as the present begins to resemble the past. I believe that there are many cases of undiagnosed PTSD. Things as simple as our parents divorcing, being bullied or experiencing a bad break up can have lasting effects whether we realize it or not. Others may not understand our actions and we may not ourselves. It is possible to bury the memory so deep that we can’t even see how it is affecting us. Every choice we make is based on past experiences. When something starts to look familiar, we automatically assume that the outcome will be the same as before. This leads to commitment issues and an aversion to taking certain risks. The key is to acknowledge our past and leave it behind. It does not have to control our future. We only have one life but within that life, we have endless amounts of choices about how to respond to what happens in it. We can dwell in darkness and negativity while blaming everyone and everything or we can face that darkness and turn it into light. We have the opportunity to take from our experiences and learn something about ourselves. They say that everything happens for a reason. Everything we are given makes us who we are today. Upon this realization, we can begin to see the positive changes that are only made possible by the heartache and grief. You are stronger and wiser now. You made mistakes that you won’t make again and experienced grief to learn who you really are. Life is short. Make the choice to show up today. Don’t let the past be the anchor that controls your decisions and keeps you in place. Take responsibility and use your new found strength and knowledge to rewrite your story. By facing your demons and your past, you are paving the way for a bigger and brighter future.