I was on FaceBook and saw a post about a gorgeous singer who admitted to believing she was ugly and undesirable as a young adult. She looked back at past images and realized how attractive she's always been, and discovered how detrimental negative thoughts can be. These damaging thoughts repeated in her mind for decades, yet outsiders would never have thought that she could feel so dark and lonely on the inside.
Every now and then, thoughts from my past take over and it can be difficult to stay present. Sometimes I feel like this scrawny seven-year-old girl, hiding on the playground because she was scared of other children. Most times, I can be mindful and remind myself to stay present. When my past comes to the present, though, I use it as a reminder of how much I have grown. And personal growth is a funny thing. No one can really see the difference except for you.
Sometimes we take these unresolved issues into present relationships. This can be problematic when a partner's reactions are highly discordant with the event that just happened. Many couples have problems when one or both partners have unresolved issues from the past unrelated to the current relationship. It could be that one comment mom or dad said about you "not being good enough" or "chubby" as a child, and that comment has stuck. These past comments or experiences could creep up in current relationships, just like how our perceptions of ourselves as children or young adults can linger in the present.
It is important to acknowledge which issues are issues in the present relationship, and which issues are unresolved from the past. Opening a dialogue about past and present concerns could help strengthen a couple's relationship. Seeking help from a relationship professional may also help the initial process of healing and positive communication.
When the past pops up in the present, here is my personal reminder for you:
You are growing every day, so please take time to reflect on your accomplishments. Sometimes we forget how much we've really grown, especially if it's something we've never done before. Celebrate yourself because you deserve your own love. Forgive yourself for slipping into the past every now and then. It's going to happen. Just don't let it stop the growing process. Be mindful of your growth, be mindful of positivity in your life, and be mindful of supportive interpersonal relationships in the present that can encourage healing and growth.