The Ghost of Christmas past

Day 348.

Two years ago this Christmas, the relationship I was in was hurtling towards a big ugly messy horrible conclusion.

I found last Christmas hard, as thoughts of shoulda-woulda-coulda ran circles in my head. Wine was still my friend, so I of course over-indulged to try and forget.  I just pretended Christmas didn’t exist. Even this second Christmas away from the trauma I find it difficult to face through these festive days ahead. Though this time I’m sober, I’m having trouble finding any joy, as memories of that Christmas Past torture me.

Why does the mind entertain the past?

If you are a regular reader of my blog (Thank you regular reader!), you’ll know that I LOVE Dr. Glenn Doyle. That guy just rocks!

He did a fantastic blog on this very topic of thinking about the past.  It’s well worth a read if you struggle with shutting off the mind from revisiting the past over and over again.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Our brains have the imaginative capacity to envision other times and other places, sometimes, we do this to revisit pleasant or positively meaningful times and places .. Other times, however, we’re drawn back to people, places, and things that can only have a negative, demotivating, anxiety-producing impact. We use our imaginative capabilities to induce feelings of regret, sadness, and pain.

Why does our brain yank us back there, when we KNOW that the past has little or nothing to do with the present moment we’re trying to savor, or the future we’re trying to create?

There are a variety of neuropsychological reasons why our brains tend to use the capacity to visualize and imagine in ways that cause us pain, but the good news is: we can, in fact, take charge of our focus and limit the extent to which our minds’ eye goes to the past.

We can take control over what we see on the movie screens of our minds.

If, that is, we are willing to give up the fantasy of somehow changing the past.

If we admit that we can never have a better past.

To truly accept that the past is the past— to truly accept that there is no changing the past, no matter how hard we want to or how hard we try— represents a loss.

To radically accept the past is the past is to let ourselves in for some serious mourning.

That’s a tall order, emotionally.

Denial is a powerful human psychological defence.

When your brain draws you back to the past…don’t panic. Let it draw you back…but keep enough presence of mind to remind yourself that what you are viewing isn’t live. It’s a recording.

Let yourself feel what you need to feel.

Let yourself cry. Let yourself be angry.

And let yourself return to the present, knowing that it is the present and the future— not the past— the holds the key to your destiny.

Letting the past go is not easy or simple. But it’s worth it.”

[Source: Dr. Doyle Letting The Past Go]


3 thoughts on “The Ghost of Christmas past

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