One day, a man was weaving all over the road until a highway patrolman stopped him. “Sir, do you know that you were weaving all over the road?” the officer asked.
“Yeah, I think I was,” the man said.
“Well, sir, are you drunk?”
“Are you high on something?”
What is wrong with this guy, the officer wondered. Finally, the officer stuck his head inside the man’s car and saw twelve rear-view mirrors. Twelve!
“What are you doing with twelve rear-view mirrors?” he asked the man.
The man responded, “I’m trying to drive based off of where I’ve been.”
It may seem like a silly story. After all, you’ve probably never seen someone with twelve rear-view mirrors in their car. But the moral of the story is a good one – we cannot move ahead and experience true change if we’re constantly focused on the past.
Many people are walking around basing their present and their future on the past. It’s important to learn from the past and spend time reflecting on your previous experiences, don’t get me wrong. But if you only spend time focusing on the past, the future will be hard to envision. Change will become hard to imagine. Success will be nearly impossible to achieve.
Today I want to offer you some tips to help you change your history and rewrite your story.
5 Ways to Change Your History & Rewrite Your Story
Attach Meaning to Your Memories
To start, you must clean out the filing cabinet of your mind. Find the memories that planted something negative within you. Maybe you were deeply hurt by someone you should have been able to trust. Or it’s possible that you felt extreme embarrassment in a situation as a child that still influences you to this day. It’s likely that these types of memories have a more prominent place in your mind than they deserve.
When you dump those negative files, you will no longer draw upon those memories to bring meaning into your current situations. Initially, the memory might keep popping up. When it does, put it in its place by re-asserting the true meaning the memory deserves. Over time, the pain of that memory will begin to fade.
The meaning attached to a memory can completely change that memory’s impact on your life.
Change Your Filter
To overcome the past, you must realize that your beliefs act as a filter for your life experiences. Two people can go through the exact same circumstances, yet respond differently because of their beliefs. They see things differently on the inside.
Only you determine how you will see your life experiences. Will you see them in a paralyzing way or in an empowering way? Will you use the circumstances of your life as stepping stones, or will they be stumbling blocks to your progress?
Focus on Empowering Memories
Not all of life’s experiences are negative. Even if your childhood was extremely difficult – and even if you suffered abuse or neglect – I hope there are a few good memories. Did you have friendships that helped you endure the difficulty? Did you come to know the Lord because of your experiences? Maybe school was a haven or sports practice brought you lots of joy.
Many people do not consider good memories, but instead remain focused on negative experiences. This is how people end up living their present out of their past.
Instead of focusing on only the negative, take time to remember the positive. Journaling can help with this. So can counseling, open conversations with friends, or remembering among healthy family relationships.
Carefully Choose Your Friends
Breaking free from the past sometimes means letting go of past relationships. Your community makes a tremendous difference in your personal growth. You can put well-behaved teenagers with some bad friends and within a few weeks, those teens will find themselves making bad choices. The same goes for adults.
Place yourself around uplifting, encouraging friends. Strive to make your work environment positive. Schedule fun events with your community of friends or church members. This may seem overly simple, but I promise it will make a huge difference as you change your history and rewrite your story.
Choose Your House Wisely
This is probably the most important step, so grab a pen and take a sip of your coffee. You have a choice between two houses.
One house is made of stone while the other is made of straw. The stone house represents a belief system founded on God’s Word. The straw house represents a belief system founded on wrong, crippling beliefs.
Most people live in the straw house. Even if they start to make the move to the stone house, they often end up running right back to the comfort of the old. They continue to live in the straw house until the devil comes huffing and puffing and blows their house down.
The straw house is not for you. Regardless of how long you have lived there, you can choose to move. Pack your bags, overcome your emotional resistance, and rent a U-Haul! Live in the stone house, the one that has the shield of faith as its door and the victory that overcomes the world burning in its fireplace.
You must not only identify your hindering beliefs, but you must also identify their origin. This origin is often found in the past. Spend time digging through the filing cabinet of your mind. What are you believing? How have these beliefs shaped your days?
Ultimately decide if you’re swerving all over the road because you are looking through twelve rear-view mirrors. If so, you cannot move forward and experience lasting results without a major shift.
Start with these steps. Talk to a trusted friend. Invest in counseling if you believe it might be right for you. I promise that smooth driving is just around the corner!