In my previous entry, I started explaining that the past, our history, matters if we have the desire to develop into the human beings we were born to be. This means living in the full potential of our abilities and talents without the shackles that we were burdened with through faulty parenting and imprints by the world around us as vulnerable, mismanaged and very often misunderstood children. The majority of us have been subjected to this whether we currently think so or not. The result is that we run our lives on three cylinders instead of the eight which we are able to.

I quoted Socrates saying the unexamined life is not worth living. One could go one step further and say the unexamined life is impossible to live successfully. Not until we truly see the past by investigating and scrutinizing it, can we truly move forward and upward? It is making our lives our own and not walking around in “borrowed clothes” others have chosen for us. Psychic baggage needs to be turned into a comprehensible and useful experience by reflecting on it. Do the following exercise:

  • How did you learn to deal with conflict as a child?
  • How much physical affection and encouragement did you receive?
  • What happened when you challenged a parent? Were your opinions acknowledged?

By the time we reach adulthood, we are driven as much by habit as by anything else and there is an infinity of habits in us. They do not merely rule us, they inhibit us and hold us back from discovering our personal potential and greatness.

To free ourselves from habit and to become masters rather than the slaves of our own lives, we must first remember our pasts and then forget it. True learning begins with unlearning the destructive habits we have acquired through our interaction with others and the world around us since birth. No one can teach us how to be ourselves, but ourselves.

Author Warren Bennis gives the following formula for the above process”

Self- awareness = self –knowledge = self – possession = self – control = self – expression

So, the past matters indeed. We have to continuously re-examine our defenses, assumptions, habitual behavioral patterns literally “in our heads.” But all this psychic baggage can be turned into a comprehensible and useful experience by reflecting on it. Remember, as you become more adept at this, it becomes easier and in actual fact fun.

Do the following exercise:
Write the story of your first 13 years of life. Try to elicit some more destructive and limiting beliefs your parents bestowed on you. Ask yourself how you can change these.