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Culture,  Personal Notes and Opinions

Healing The Past Or Growing Forward: How to Pick One

Let’s have a little bit of context first –

This Saturday was a disaster. The schedule was horrible and the mess-ups were worse. Over the weekend, the plan was to attend my therapy session and the goal was to feel a little uncluttered in life. Honestly, I was really desperate to find help this particular weekend because lately things have been piling up one after the other. And of course, my self-management skills are not exactly pro-version.

However, I ended up with a therapist who wasn’t available and it appears there was a miscommunication. I took the first chance to pounce at some retail therapy and later scrolled through Practo to find somebody who was available that very day. I think I spent an hour post which I managed to find a slot at another centre but they had only one slot left for the evening. Again, I pounced at the opportunity and I was in all, “I’ll be there!” mode for the next few hours. This was until I reached the local train station and realized that all trains were running late. So I ended up being 20 minutes late to the appointment and we had to reschedule for Monday.

The weekend was good, but the wait for Monday was cruel. Nevertheless, it was worth the wait and I love how honest my psychologist turned out to be. She’s not just honest about her approach and her expectations, but also she has minimal to zero expressions to my problems. It’s tough to explain why that worked for me but let’s just say she was neither giving me validation that she agrees with me nor gave off the vibe that she’ll be judging me. She was immensely focused on noting down her inferences from my narration, constantly maintaining eye contact and ensuring that I feel heard. Basically, I loved that I could depend on her to be objective when it came to my case.

While she explained her approach to me, there was this one thing that she said that stuck with me and ended up being the conversation in this blog post:

When you’re seeking therapy, you can either choose to go back into your past and heal the aspects of you that are leading to bad decision-making in the present. Or you can choose to look forward and focus on covering the behavioural or skill gaps that you have at present which affect your future decision-making. But remember, at any one point of time, you can choose only one and not both. Because if you’re constantly swinging between the past and the future, there will be no growth. You’ll end up feeling stuck.

And that honestly fascinated me because I’ve never thought about growth in terms of this. The realization that we are constantly swinging between the past and the future and hence, not creating any real growth is conventional yet unpopular.

So then how do you really decide – “Would you rather heal the past” or “Focus on your growth for the future?”

I think it does vary from person to person and how they have experienced life. Let’s look at it from a driving perspective:

If you’re somebody who is very reluctant to leave the past behind because your wounds run deeper then it makes sense to recover first. Reverse, switch the gear to neutral and then start moving ahead when the road is clear for you to move. Else you’ll probably crash into a wall trying to move forward.

However, if you find yourself in a position where the obstacles are not enough to block your way, you’d find it easier to pick moving forward and solely focus on that. Switch to first gear, make a conscious choice between navigating left or right, take a tiny reverse if required and then accelerate your way ahead. Again, this will hugely depend on whether the block on your path is in front of you or behind you. Take your time and reflect a little.

Whatever you choose, it has to accompany change because otherwise you’re still stuck.

What I decided for myself was to move forward. I know my past is also a result of poor decision-making, mostly because I tend to not act in accordance with my personal values. I believe that I’m in a situation where I can choose to let go of the past rather than let it consume more of my present. That doesn’t go to say that we won’t be talking about the past. Definitely, we’ll need to shed light on why I lack the behavioural skills I do and whether it’s a deeper product of my history. However, it’ll be more fleeting like pointing out a causality rather than acting like a healing process.

This is what I picked for myself. What would you rather choose – Healing the past OR Growing Forward?

Love and Virtual Hugs,


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