In the movie Groundhog Day, Phil is stuck in a neverending loop of déjà vu. Every morning he wakes up at the exact same day – Groundhog Day. Everything he did the day before was erased.
Bad memories are like quicksand – easy to get stuck in. It feels like you’re struggling to move forward. Instead od learning and growing, you’re stuck.
Life Coach, Tiffany Toombs, says that in order to show up as your best self, you need to let it go.
Did that make you cringe as much as it did me?
“Let it go.”
“Get over it.”
These are hardly helpful. They’re dissmisive.
It ain’t that easy.
Do I Have To?
Why is it so hard for us to let go of emotional baggage? Because it means stepping into an unknown future – positive or negative- and being vulnerable enough to embrace it.
Getting unstuck means we have to remember an injury, an offense.
You know that feeling you get when someone talks about their nail pulling back or pushed up (did you feel that?) Liken that to having to relive something that you’ve been holding on to.
Getting unstuck means we get vulnerable and uncomfortable. We’re forced to face the resistence. Ever heard any of those words following the word “fun?” Yeah, me either.
At its deepst level we’re forced to face love, fear, and rage. Pretty powerful forces if you ask me.
I Might As Well
“You know what’s annoying? Dealing with old baggage.”Carolyn Steber
Say it louder for the people in the back, sister.
The past traps us in a bunch of clutter that spills from every corner, tab;etop, and cabinet. Consider yourself a hoarder.
It needs to be cleaned up.
I’ve been a hoarder, too. I’ve been hoarding a lie after lie about sex.
See, I grew up believing that all men wanted from women is sex. And because of a little – yet powerful! – thing called self-fulfilling prophecy, I subconsciously gathered and held on to situations in my adolesence that seemed to prove this.
I was looking and finding, I might add, for ways to prove a lie.
This “proven” lie didn’t go away when I got married.
Surprise, surprise. Marriage doesn’t suddenly make stuff disappear.
I put so much work into proving it and it sure wasn’t going to away so easily.
But I find that there are some tricks that help me whenever I find myself lying to myself…. Again.
- I let go of repeating thoughts.
The more I entertain a thought, the bigger and more consuming it gets. Thee become unattended weeds.
Ignoring thoughts doesn’t make them go away. Confronting them does.
That’s why the bible says to renew your mind (Romans 12:2). To “renew” has an awesome underlying meaning: “to become the enemy of.”
When a lie about sex rears back around, I come against it. I shut. It. DOWN. How? With some truth, baby.
2. I let myself feel.
We don’t gain a thing from blocking out what we feel. At any moment.
Breneé Brown, renowned vulnerabilty, shame, and empath researcher, says that letting yourself feel is the only way to become familiar with your feelings. This allows you to know what you’re feeling and why you feel that way.
3. I talk to Ray.
Have this conversation with yourself first. Then bring it to your spouse.
This has always been a tough one for me because vulnerability is hard, bro. But it isn’t fair to leave your spouse to devise their own thoughts about what’s going on. This usually ends in blaming themselves for what’s happening.
When Adam and Eve sinned and became ashamed of their nakedness, their shame wasn’t a result of their physical nakedness but the their emotional nakedness.
They had to come face to face with vulnerability after having messed up.
Turn Away and Slam the Door
The goal isn’t to erase everything from past relationships or your childhood but to erase its negative effects.
How, you ask?
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert. Be present. I’m about to do something brand new.” – Isaiah 43:18-19
“… however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all the past as I fasten heart to the future instead.” – Phillippians 3:13b
At the end of Groundhog Day, Phil realizes that he’s worhy of Rita’s love because he’s a good person.
And so are you.
At the risk of sounding cliche, your past doesn’t define you.
You’re frickin’ awesome.
And you’re worthy of a great future and an even greater marriage.