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    Making peace with the past
    rohvannyn posted:
    It seems to me that the only way to make peace with the past is to shift focus so that you are looking toward the future.

    It seems like I can't really make peace with the past if I keep dwelling on it. However, if I focus on the future while acknowledging the lessons learned in the past, I am able to be much more optimistic. I think this is ture with relationships, or trauma, or pretty much anythng.

    Does anyone else find this to be true?

    'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD responded:
    I think that's a great insight. I've found that looking toward the future while acknowledging the past and lessons learned from it are a powerful combination.

    And, if it helps any, there is 'scientific' literature that supports this idea. For instance, people who are able to talk about their childhood in a clear, coherent way (with memories and emotions) tend to feel more accepting of themselves, tend to feel that others are emotionally there for them, and have happier relationships. It is also worth noting that studies have found that when people try to ignore emotions, those emotions resurface. So, looking to the future while ignoring current emotions is not the answer.
    rohvannyn replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
    That's an awesome point you make! Especially the part about ignoring current emotions while looking to the future not being the answer. Thinking about it, I realize I sometimes have trouble remembering things from childhood, and many times I have trouble remembering non-negative emotions. The positive ones fade more quickly, or get tinged by sadness. So I wonder if it might be helpful to practice remembering happy times, remembering why I was happy, and what I gained from it? I wonder if those benefits you mention from being able to remember can be gained if I get better at it?

    I'm reviewing my old flight log, and that is helping me bring up some happy memories. Perhaps some kind of "happy memories diary" could be of help, as a way to keep things structured and on track.

    'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
    dfromspencer replied to rohvannyn's response:
    Hi Roh,

    I think you are right! That is a good plan, also! Keeping a record of good times should help you to focus on happier memories, and to make new ones?!

    Very good, thanks Roh!

    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to rohvannyn's response:
    Some people find it helpful to make a 'good feelings' album or box, where they put things that make them feel good. This could be pictures of people they love, pictures of flowers, objects that have sentimental values, etc. Then they go through the album or box regularly to help them connect with happy feelings.

    Another tool people sometimes use is to maintain a gratitude journal- this could also be a happiness journal. You might find it helpful to write 3 things each night that you are grateful for or that made you happy during the day. It's important that you recognize that it's equally ok (even good) to acknowledge the small things (e.g. an exchange of smiles with a cashier, the feeling you got when you saw children playing or a beautiful plane). I suggest you do this daily for 8 weeks; and if you do, you might want to share the experience of doing so with us.

    I hope you find these suggestions helpful.
    rohvannyn replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
    I think I'll do that... it's something I keep meaning to do and keep forgetting. Thanks for the reminder!

    'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to rohvannyn's response:
    My pleasure.

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