I was walking along one day chatting to a friend about a negative interaction I’d had earlier in the day with someone.
I was replaying the situation in my mind, remembering the look on the person’s face, recounting what was said, and sharing the way I felt about it.
I could feel myself reliving the moment like it was happening all over again.
Anticipating sympathy or agreement, my friend instead turned and looked at me like I was odd.
I exclaimed, “What?!”
They said, “Are you still carrying that around? It was hours ago.”
I was hit by the word carrying.
Yes, we carry around memories. We carry around upset. We carry around issues. We carry around little “mind movies” that we play over and over again in our mind’s eye – recalling scenes vividly, seeing what happened, hearing what was said, feeling what we felt, and sometimes changing a scene in our mind by saying what we wish we had said in that moment!
We are mentally reliving the past over and over again, with the same negativity.
We recreate the bad feeling every time we do this. Sometimes we even escalate that feeling.
Carrying The Heavy Concrete Block of The Past
If we could see that carrying around and rehashing past moments like this, with their associated mental stress, is actually not too different to literally carrying around a heavy physical object (e.g. a large concrete block), maybe we would be more consciously aware of the impact it has on us, and much more likely to want to “put it down”.
Go ahead and imagine right now that any negative past moment which you rehash/replay is like a concrete block that you lug around with you. After a while that concrete block is going to tire you out. It will weigh you down, putting undue stress on your body, mind and emotional system. It is guaranteed that you will get more fatigued the longer you carry it.
You’re not designed to sustain carrying heavy objects permanently.
When you’re fatigued, you’re less able to function optimally, to make good decisions, to do what you want to do, to be fit, healthy, well, positive and powerful.
Carrying around a physical concrete block for a few hours, days, weeks or years will break you! And, any past moment you still carry around with negativity, rehashing it over and over in your mind, is a mental concrete block and you are not designed to carry it either. It will break you the longer you carry it, the more you let yourself focus on it and replay it.
Putting Down the Concrete Block of The Past
You can practice right now putting down that concrete block.
Pick any negative past moment that you’ve been rehashing. Literally imagine it is a concrete block. Close your eyes and see it. Imagine holding it. Are you holding it awkwardly in both arms, or is it heavily resting on your shoulder, or are you dragging it around behind you?
Now imagine putting it down and walking away. Train your mind to do this – use your powerful visualization skills. See yourself in your mind’s eye putting down the cumbersome concrete block, and immediately feeling relief.
Say to yourself, “I choose to put this heavy weight down right now. I don’t want it and I don’t need it. I choose to be lighter, freer and more effective. In every way, it’s in my best interest to put this down right now.”
See yourself in your mind’s eye walking away from it. Without that weight you feel lighter. Feel how good it feels. You walk away free.
Be the Master of Your Mind
You might want to protest and say, “It’s not that simple!”
But it is. Your mind is saying it’s not simple, it’s not easy, or it’s not possible. And you are NOT your mind. You are the awareness that can observe the behavior of your own mind, that can observe all the thoughts your mind produces. You are the awareness that can choose what you want to focus on. You are the awareness that can CHANGE YOUR MIND at any given moment.
The key to being free of rehashing negative past moments is to take control of your mind, telling it very clearly what you want and what to do – giving unwavering leadership to your mind.
So practice now, with visualization, putting down the concrete block of that past moment you’ve been rehashing. And if at any time you notice your mind has gone back and picked it up again, repeat the same process. Put it down again, and tell your mind you’re done with the weight of it, you’re choosing not to carry it. Continue to repeat this as many times as necessary until your mind comes into alignment.
- How to Stop Resisting Life & Go with the Flow
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- The Mindful Notebook – a practical tool for making mindfulness a priority in your life
- I AM Present – Affirmation Mug
Bernadette Logue (known to everyone as “B”) is the Leader of The Daily Positive, a Transformation Life Coach and the author of 3 personal growth books – guiding you on how to master your mind, to live consciously and soul-aligned. To receive regular coaching resources and support, join B in EvolveHQ, The Daily Positive’s private personal growth membership and community.