One of the most interesting discoveries made on my quest for personal growth was looking back into my past for positive reinforcement. Most of us tend to remember only our failures of the past. We remember them, dwell on them and let them beat us down. Lets try to put a new spin on our past experiences, shall we?
First, lets look at why we tend to remember the negative. In my childhood days, we were programmed to pay attention to our mistakes. As a student in school, I remember large red “X” marks to indicate WRONG on homework assignments, projects and tests. Attention was brought to our mistakes on a regular, daily basis. Our successes on the other hand, were awarded in moderation and only to the few that stood above the average.
Well meaning parents threw us back on track when, not if, we derailed. Unless you were “Beaver” in the “Cleaver” television family you likely survived unhealthy punishment for all your wrong doings. How many punishments did you endure? I couldn’t even begin to count and I was considered a “good child”.
Childhood can lead us into adult life being fearful of our mistakes. Mistakes tend to hold a negative charge with an uncomfortable emotion attached to it. This in turn then fuels our negative Chatterbox. Thus begins our habit of beating up on ourselves for all our mistakes.
Today I want to challenge you to become aware of your POSITIVE PAST. Try thinking back into your life to remember some of the highlights of your achievements thus far in life. For example:
Have you won any awards?
Have you achieved goals?
Have you been motivated to do something and then did it?
Have you ever helped someone?
Have you been the giver and receiver of love?
Have you, have you, have you….
Don’t limit yourself to only the outstanding successes in your life. This thought process does not have to be limited to your proud achievements. The more thought you give this, the more you will be astounded at the number of positive episodes you deserve credit for.
Some of your negative memories can also be twisted into a positive point of view. For example, are you a survivor of an abusive relationship and left to find a new life? If so, this might be viewed as 100% negative. You might ask, “How can that be twisted into something positive?” What about the positive characteristics often reflected in such a target:
Strength to endure the abuse
Courage to walk away
Determination to find a new life
Thirst for knowledge
Dedication to personal growth
I would like to believe everyone has a great deal of positive in their past. Looking back into your past for the purpose of seeking positive reinforcement is a feel good exercise. It can be used as a tool to move your negative emotions into a positive state.
Wouldn’t you like to feel good today? Try it, you just might like it!