Welcome 2019! It will bring with it 365 new opportunities. With the beginning of each new year, Americans tend to reflect on the previous year and make resolutions for the coming one. In 1905 George Santayana (an American immigrant from Spain) said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
This is a recurring theme at our retreats. Human beings are designed in such a way that we are imprinted by our experiences. They form our opinion of the world, our expectations and our survival responses. If we don’t intentionally choose a course of action, we automatically react in the old patterns of behavior we have set for ourselves … or that have been set for us. Speaking as the former Queen of Dysfunctional Living, I can testify to the fact that those of us from abusive backgrounds will continue to create fiascos for ourselves until we intentionally work on changing. Despite our desire for life to be better, we sometimes prevent what we most hope for. Or stated another way – we sabotage our own success.
Our past does not excuse our present behavior but it does explain it. It is necessary to understand where we came from in order to know where we are going. Like it or not, we are shaped by the family we grew up in. Family is the beginning of our story and it points us in a certain direction. It certainly does not define us. WE get to do that. We can change directions but without the proper tools of knowledge, we will continue to follow the prescribed course… the same one our family of origin dictated. As adults, we choose our responses to situations… but only if we are intentional about it. Otherwise, our subconscious, preprogrammed self reacts instead of responding.
I’m not big on making specific New Year’s Resolutions that I probably won’t keep, but each year I make a vow to become a better person than I was before. As long as we have breath, all of us should be growing and changing and maturing.
So I urge you to reflect on the past year and enjoy the memories. If the memories aren’t pleasant, ask yourself why. Did you let someone invade your boundaries and then you became resentful? Did you create an awkward social situation and then not know how to handle it? Do you have an addiction that created chaos? Do you give more of yourself than you should and then find that no one is there for you when you need help?
If we know ourselves and have developed healthy relationships skills, then we can never honestly blame another person for our unhappiness or how we handle a situation.
There are thousands of books written on dysfunctional living and I have read most of them… some for my own healing and some because it’s required reading when you are earning a higher degree and some because continuing education is a must in the counseling field. It’s hard to find a survivor who isn’t codependent or dependent. In addition to some very excellent current releases, these books are oldies but goodies. I highly recommend them.
~Happy New Year~
Dr. Karen McDonald
Dr. Karen McDonald is the author of Racheal’s Rest’s BLOGS. These BLOGS are thoughts, tools and experiences that Karen wanted to share with you and are in no way “counseling”. If you, or someone you know, has been the victim of sexual abuse, sex trafficking and/or domestic violence issues, contact us today to get more information about Racheal’s Rest private counseling, workshops and retreats to begin your journey to emotional health.