If we see ourselves as damaged or broken because of negative life experiences.. we will think, feel and react accordingly. For example, if we were abused, bullied, or victimized, then we may think that the world is a dangerous place and others are not to be trusted. As a result, we feel fearful and insecure and we may react by withdrawing from many social situations to wall ourselves off from any intimacy.
We may desperately want to be loved, cared about, supported but our need to protect ourselves seems so necessary, that we can actually sabatoge our chances to get close to another person and cause ourselves more loneliness.
Here is where we need to evaluate our own perspective of ourselves– Ask yourself: ‘What things have shaped / influenced me into being this way (experiences, people, culture, religion, family, work, education, media, etc.)?’
Next, we need to consider that our perspective may not reflect the present reality … it may be a by-product of the past.
Therefore, I suggest that we do not fall into an unhelpful thought pattern of trying to ‘Mind-Read’ others’ thoughts and intentions. Take the risk and give people chances to show you who they really are within different situations, and notice their characters by their words and behaviors.
In addition, avoid another helpful thinking style of trying to ‘Fortune Tell’ or predict the future by expecting that history will repeat itself, and expect to be hurt again. Consider what learning you have gained from even your negative experiences..which is usually where we learn the most …what Not to do next time. Right?!
Consider if a similar scenario from your past, just coincidentally happened again, do not see yourself as the You from THEN, but as the You from NOW, and decide how would you handle things differently with this new knowledge.
Remember: You can’t just be a passive observer in life and hope that your life circumstances will change for the better. This is relying on an external locus of control–called luck/ chance/ the universe– whatever forces are at play.
However, if You make the changes, first in yourself — your thoughts, feelings, pro-active choices.. then you are internally in control.. the past can not define you. More importantly, the present and future is what you decide to do about it.