“The butterfly does not look back at the caterpillar in shame. Just as you should not look back at your past in shame. Your past was part of your own transformation.”
“Do not waste time thinking about what you could have done differently. Keep your eyes on the road ahead and do it differently now.”
“Whatever you’re feeling, it will eventually pass. You won’t feel sad forever. At some point, you will be happy again. You won’t feel anxious forever. In time, you will feel calm again. You don’t have to fight your feelings or feel guilty for having them. You just have to accept them and be good to yourself while you ride this out. Resisting your emotions and shaming yourself will only cause you more pain, and you don’t deserve that. You deserve your own love, acceptance and compassion.”
#9 The past is gone forever.
No longer am I victimized by the past.
I am a new woman.
Guilt and shame were overwhelming emotions for years, yet I was unaware that they had become part of my lifestyle. Focusing on the “what if’s” kept the present locked away and hidden from view. It wasn’t until finding WFS and practicing Statement #9 that I began to understand how I kept getting in my own way.
Sobriety and Statement #9 offer a shift in perspective. In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet, our founder Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes, “The only thing we can change about those memories that make us feel guilty is the way we think about them. Today I will begin changing my perception of the past and I will overcome the negative feelings.”
Reframing is an excellent tool to move through feelings of guilt or shame. It is a technique that consists of first identifying and then changing the way situations, experiences, emotions, or ideas are viewed. It is a way of challenging a restricted perspective to one that has an alternative, constructive viewpoint. For example, instead of reminding yourself of a mistake you made many years ago, simply agree that it was an error and that you did the best you could with the information that you had. Remind yourself of what you learned from that mistake. Affirm that was then, this is now. When we can learn or grow from a past experience, it allows us to receive value, which enhances our New Life.
Hi 4C Women,
I am grateful for Statement #9. It changed my perspective in reflecting on the past and has become my foundation when guilt and shame start calling my name. I remind myself that I am not the same person, I do not react or respond to life’s challenges in the same way. I do, however, acknowledge that I still make mistakes in my decision-making at times. That’s being human.
Acknowledging is definitely different than living in my mistakes. Thanks to Statement #9, I understand that learning from my mistakes is the path to healing. I CANNOT change the past but I can forgive myself and make healthier decisions from the life lesson of any mistake. In the past, I held myself hostage to my mistakes, victimizing myself for what could not be changed while those who were part of that past aren’t thinking about it or me. So, why am I? This is the message of Statement #9 – Give myself credit for moving forward, forgiving myself, healing, and building a strong coping toolbox for living in the now. It is pure freedom for me. I once wrote that practicing this Statement moves us from victim to victor, survivor to thriver. It released the chains of pain wrapped around my soul and mind. I am creating a new history and I am the author. So are you!
Have you forgiven yourself for a past you cannot change?
If not, what is holding you hostage, preventing self-forgiveness?
What do you say to yourself to help release the past and be in the present?
What coping tools do you use when reacting/responding to a current situation/person?
What life lesson have you learned in your recovery?
As the author of your life today, what would you title the current chapter?
What are the positive parts of your past?
Listing them was helpful to me when I got stuck in the negative past. I realized that I focused way too much on the pain rather than the joy of the past.
Bonded in self-forgiveness, creating a new history, and being a thriver, Dee
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On the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, November 29th, you’ll have the chance to: