New Castle News

April 8, 2013

Lisa Madras: Want a brighter future? Stop living in the past

Lisa Madras
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

I've hemmed and hawed over this question about a gazillion times, always pushing it to the bottom of my list because I could never settle on one definitive answer. Would my message be a plea for world peace? Maybe something about self-empowerment? Or how about the importance of pursuing your dreams? How do you possibly choose just one message??

I never wanted to settle on one answer because I was always afraid it would be the wrong one. But then I realized that there can't possibly be a wrong answer, just a changing one. The message that is right for today isn't wrong just because it might not be the right message for tomorrow. (If you understood that, congratulations, you're halfway there now!)

I've decided that my message is exactly that: Your message changes as you and your world change. And that's a good thing, because you should never stop changing.

I don't know too many of us who've considered ourselves as having reached perfection. There's always something you want to make better, be it yourself, your home, your children, your lifestyle.

The big problem is that so many of us get hung up on the past that, in a way, we become frozen in time. We relive the past event or events that made us victims as if we're rewinding a scene from a movie over and over again. This phenomenon is so powerful that some victims of severe trauma actually become mentally frozen at the age they were when the event took place. Luckily, for most of us, the symptoms are not quite that acute, but we do become stuck nonetheless.

If your message never changes, it could be a pretty good indicator that you're stuck in that rewind mode, especially if your message is "I'm unhappy.” If you're unhappy, then you're grieving the past.

That's OK! Grieve it ... and then let it go. Don't get stuck in the past ... there is no change there.

Regret, grief, anger: these are all things of the past. Holding onto them is hitting the rewind button over and over again. Don't let your message, whatever it may be, get lost in the past.

Keep learning. Keep changing. Press "Play."

The rest of the world wants to hear your message.