What happens when we are focused on your past? When we focus on the past we are unable to have clarity on our future. A common illustration is forgiveness. However, the wronged person is the one in prison with their thoughts, not the instigator. Chip Dodd in, The Voice of The Heart, identifies eight feelings, and you might be surprised but only one is a positive feeling. Abundant joy can only be known by experiencing all aspects of life. As described by Chip, the feelings we experience are; hurt, loneliness, sadness, anger, fear, shame, guilt and gladness.
Each feeling has its own specific purpose in helping us live life fully.
- Hurt leads to healing
- Loneliness moves us to intimacy
- Sadness expresses value and honor
- Anger hungers for life
- Fear awakens us to danger and begins wisdom
- Shame maintains humility and mercy
- Guilt brings forgiveness
- Gladness proves hope of the heart to be true
The negative feelings lead us to something better. One key is to understand what we are feeling, but there are times when we are downcast and don’t know why. In terms of emotional intelligence this is described as emotional self-awareness. I’ve written extensively about emotional intelligence and offer an assessment and action plan on my website. However, the purpose of this writing is to address the first of the following five areas:
- Deal with past issues
- Address our insecurity and identify the truth
- Conquer self talk
- Confront unhealthy relationships
- Develop self-awareness
First we address past issues. Easier said than done, right? For example, I just started coaching an unmarried man* who doesn’t know if he wants to tie the knot, and really doesn’t know the future he wants to create. In my short time with him we’ve discovered his greatest fear. Well, after two sessions I’m not sure this is his greatest fear but it ranks up there. I asked him about his “Fifth Grade Moment” because it is my experience that almost everyone has an elementary school moment that drives us today. This client struggled to get good grades. He told me, “things just didn’t click for me.” His parents told him his grades must improve or he would have to drop some of his sports activities. These are good parents right? By the time he hit seventh grade he was a straight A student. While his parents achieved their over-arching goal of helping him with his grades, there was an unintended consequence for this young man: fear of loss of freedom. Is it possible he is not married because he would lose his freedom? Or, does fear of independence undermine his efforts to create his desired future? We’ll see.
Very recently I was visiting a man* who corrected his 9 year old son. I said to him, “You know your son will be in therapy addressing this moment twenty years from now.” After a lengthy discussion, he took steps to talk to his son. Another client* had an experience in fifth grade and his fear is, “I’m not smart enough.” This has led him to multiple degrees and significant jobs. The status quo kills him. These fears can move us to greater things or they can cripple us. Recently he neglected his daughter much the same way he was neglected in fifth grade by his parents. I helped him see this mistake. Talk about guilt. He behaved the way he was treated in fifth grade and now he may be perpetuating the cycle. I called him on it, and he decided to change his behavior. Make no mistake this man is a good father. Luckily, he has time to make any corrections to be a better dad. All of these are examples of how a life coach can help you. Many times we don’t realize how our past grips us, let alone how our actions effect others. This is the reason we need to develop our self-awareness, but that is for another post.
The point is we all have Fifth Grade Moments. These moments cause us to behave in ways we may never fully understand. Identifying and understanding how we behave is how we begin to address the past. I had a Fifth Grade Moment, which I documented in a free workbook where I discuss this and much more.
If you are interested in exploring how your past may me influencing your present follow this link for a free consultation if you’re ready to take steps to create a plan for your desired future.
I’ll discuss the other four items on my list of five in upcoming posts.
*All examples are true and used with client permission.