Using the pain of your past as fuel for your future

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “’it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks”. After the age of 25 it's very difficult to learn how to do something new, so essentially as an adult we are all old dogs and it's hard to teach us new tricks psychologically. Children have their values or beliefs set by the time they're seven or eight, so for us as adults it takes some form of severe pain or trauma to change us from our core. Let me use relationship breakdown as an example, as I know a lot of you right now are still feeling the raw emotion from this, even though maybe the break-up happened several years ago. You’re still suffering with the pain (of not necessarily getting over him) but getting over the damage. We all agree pain sucks, right? If you put your hand over a kettle when it's boiling, as soon as the heat hits it, you want to take your hand away because it hurts, right? Pain will make you change. So, if you're going through this pain, I’m sorry as its shit to feel like this, but there is an opportunity to spin this one hell of a negative into a positive, as pain is one of the biggest drivers of motivators to make you do something - because pain hurts. If right now you're in any form of pain or any sort of suffering, and by this I don't mean that you can't eat like in a third world country, but what I mean is that you're not enjoying a particular part of your life. Maybe something like: Your self-confidence is low. Your job doesn't absolutely reignite you every single day. You're not bouncing because your kids are testing your patience. Whatever it is, if it's causing you some form of pain, suffering or unhappiness you can use this as fuel. You can acknowledge this and say to yourself, yeah, that hurts. I don't like this, and I don't like that, which means I'm going to change. If everything was fine and dandy, you wouldn't have that drive to change something. So, if you have pain, you can use that pain to change. If you don't have any pain, you may never change. I've worked with lots of women who've been in an abusive relationship and have been mentally and emotionally abused for quite a long time. But one day something happens that pushes them over the edge.

This leads me onto mental and emotional abuse. Some would say that these are just as bad, if not worse than physical abuse, because of the long-term side and after effects that they cause. Often people will stay in a relationship with someone who is emotionally and mentally abusing them for lots of reasons. Reasons like: "No one else would want me" "I'm not good enough" "He made me feel so low" No-one should ever feel like a prisoner in their relationship. There are all kinds of reasons why people stay in abusive relationships, but as soon as someone lays a hand on them, they're out. This is because people view physical violence different to emotional or mental abuse. Emotional and mental abuse can include things like being put down every day by being told that you need to go to the gym and lose weight, by being cheated on and somehow it being your fault, or being lied to, and you being made out to be psycho. All the things that slowly make you feel a little bit mental because you know what you can see in front of your eyes is true, but they've convinced you so much that it's not like that and you're left feeling like: "Am I seeing things?" "Am I going a little bit crazy?" "Am I not right in the head?" But then as soon as someone hits you for example, you're like, "Ah, that is physical pain. I'm off."

Now, sadly people don't always leave after physical abuse. It gets even harder when others tell you that you should have left, and this is where negative stigma comes in. Yes, perhaps you should have left when as soon as it happened, but that's all well and good to say when you're outside of the situation. What I find most telling is that a lot of the women I work with, who've been in this scenario, tell me that they should've left earlier. When I speak to them, I agree that yes you should have left earlier, but it's great that they’re now out of the situation and no longer fearful for their safety. They’re no longer fearful for their kids' safety. They’re not fearful, end of. If this is you, don’t worry. It’s not too late, even if you’re thinking: "I should have left a long time ago" "There was loads of red flags" When you're out of it, it's easier to see. When you're in it, it's a totally different ball game. You don't think there's anything else for you. You don't think you can get out. You don't understand that you can just trot off, as people who've not been through it don't get it. People who've not been through the rawness of it don't understand. Everyone has a different experience of emotional abuse, everyone has a different experience of physical abuse and everybody has a different experience mental abuse. Everyone sees it differently. This does not mean you’re alone. The point that I'm making is pain from whatever form will shape you, but it's your decision HOW you let it shape you, no matter the cause of your discomfort and pain. You can either live in it and wallow in it. And when I say wallow, I don't mean necessarily that you're choosing to sit and have a pity party and play your little violin every day; you can sit and be in that situation not wanting to get out. Or you can decide that: "Pain is my motivator" "I'm going to take this pain" "I'm going to use it as a fuel" When you direct all your pain to getting change, you'll find you've got a whole lot of energy. Because guess what… you've got a whole lot of pain! Energy transfers, so use your painful energy and transfer it into getting something positive. Whether that's one step at a time or you revolutionise your life overnight, they're still both as practical. They're also still both as successful in the long run. Sometimes people have a massive overhaul. Other people make small steps at a time. They move things slowly out of the house. They slowly, slowly add to their life away from a partner.

Whatever way you choose to change your life, hanging out with people that are miserable only causes you more misery. Misery likes company. Getting change and being positive comes from surrounding yourself with positivity and immersing yourself in the fact that yes, if you're feeling like this right now, everything's not fine and dandy, but it can be if I work really hard to change it. If you believe that: "Your life's doomed" "No man will ever love you" "You're not attractive" You're simply not going to try. If you instead believe you've got a chance, if you believe that one day someone will appreciate you for who you actually are, keep turning a negative into a positive. Remember for someone to appreciate you for who you actually are, means you actually have to be who you actually are, which I know sometimes is difficult as we get stuck pretending to be other people. We think we have to be something or someone for somebody else, whereas we can just be ourselves. If you're sat there thinking, I want to be more like myself, take it from me that you can be who you are. I know I've said this before. We can all lose who we actually are or hide who we are on purpose just to make ourselves feel like shit, because subconsciously we’re using unhappiness to make ourselves unhappy, because being unhappy is your default state. We know that being unhappy as is comfortable, safe. If you're feeling like that right now, if you don't know who you are and you've lost everything and things are tough, it’s because you’ve become your default state. That means that when you start to feel happy again, or when you start to feel like, oh, I feel a bit better, you naturally think this is too good to be true and you've ruined it for yourself. It's self-sabotage because you don't want somebody else to burst your bubble. You burst the bubble yourself because it's protection mode. You protect yourself from pain. You protect yourself from pain by hiding who you actually are, because if you hide who you actually are, no one can tell you you're not good enough. It's liking to pretending and playing a role. If you play a character and someone says, I don't want to be with you, in a relationship with you, and you know that that's not who you truly are, who you truly are is protected. Whereas if you come out and you say, “this is me, this is who I am, take it or leave it”, and someone decides to leave it, you feel like you'd be destroyed because someone has said that who you actually are is not good enough for them. It's just a front to protect yourself from going, this is who I am. This is all I am. This is all I have. Take me or leave me. Lots of people have been through the same thing. They forget or misplace who they actually are when they're going through a bad time in their relationship. When they’re either at the end, or you choose to leave a relationship, it is time to go and find yourself. Use this pain as fuel to find your own freedom. Pain is an opportunity for you to keep growing and changing.  Once you start being open to the fact that you can change the way you think, you will start to change the way you think. It's a blessing to learn new stuff every day. Knowledge is power, but knowledge is only power if you execute on that information. Ideas are cheap. Execution is hard. You can listen to me all day long, but unless you do something about it, nothing will change, so execution is the thing that you need to be focusing on.

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