Looking Back to Get the Courage to Move Forward

Life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes there is a feeling or thought as if I am never going to get through this crisis or trauma. In the midst of despair your body remembers what past events felt like and can be triggered in unexpected ways. 

Have you felt this way or know someone in this predicament?  I would like to share with you an idea that may help.

Presuming you are doing this activity for yourself; take the time to find as many pictures as you can of yourself.  Try to gather only photos of you, but if others are in the photo, it is not a problem.  Have a collection of pictures from different age levels. Make this about YOU for a change.

Now that you have gathered several pictures, I want you to arrange them in groupings of age or roles you have played in your life. 

For example, as a:

  • Child
  • Teenager
  • Young adult
  • Older adult
  • Sibling
  • Parent
  • Partner
  • Etc.

You can see what I mean.  With each age category listed, (or create your own way of doing this) take one group at a time to look at in more detail.  Have a paper and pen handy for the notes you are going to write.

The notes are going to be your list of feelings about “YOU” at that age.  Consider what was going on in your life to create these feelings?  When looking at a picture is this truly who you were/are or was this the face you let others see all the while hiding something deep inside not spoken of?

Please note, this is not an activity where you criticize yourself for what you did or did not do.  There is no need to place blame, shame, regret or anything along those lines at this point.  That is not the intent of this exercise. 

I want you to be gentle with yourself as you do this activity with each age grouping.

You might ask, “Why do this activity in the first place?”

  1. To provide a look at where you have been in life.
  2. To step back to the place where some of the deep held emotions may be hiding.
  3. To realize how far you have come.

YOU have managed to survive life’s ups and downs to this point.

Can YOU see now,

how YOU can survive whatever life brings your way?