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How looking into the past for answers makes mental illness worse

and what is beyond our psychology, that innate place of well-being that is untouchable, never broken.

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For a long time, it always looked like the only way to be ok now was to heal the past, all the spiritual quotes on social media about getting comfortable with, learning from, or healing your past was the only way to get to a place of living more comfortably now, with less suffering, more peace of mind and all those things that we really go in search of outside ourselves, peace, joy, contentment, security and true happiness.

It seemed like that there was a real thing inside of me called the inner child and apparently it was wounded, and needed me to be tender and caring in order for me to have better relationships today. I was sold on the concepts of how the system worked, what I needed to do, and how difficult it was to heal a childhood wound.

So, I had embarked on the journey of inner change, allowing the healing of that little boy who was so deeply wounded, however the thing was, life was getting worse, I was suffering more I needed help for anxiety, I had more depression, less fun, more pain, I compulsively ate in an out of control way, and I was a seeker of relationships that were as toxic as could be, how could this be? I was doing ‘the work’, things were very dark for me.

It makes so much sense!

At the time it was so messy, but looking back in hindsight it makes so much sense that looking into the past trying to heal the wounded child makes things worse. When we start to use psychotherapy as a way of feeling better, we relive old feelings, and we bring to the present all our thinking about the past, we start to bring it to our conscious awareness, we start to dwell in those old low states of mind and then we start to experience the effects of dwelling on old painful memories. More depression, more anxiety more darkness.

When we are innocently misguided that this is the way to happiness, we are willing to suffer some more to get to the holy grail, to get through the past, but there are no answers in the past, all this does is makes mental illness worse.

Why does therapy address the past as the solution the present?

In Transactional Analysis psychoanalytical theory, the belief is that our present-day reality and suffering is solely based on the life script we created for ourselves in childhood, based on the events, influential relationships and how ‘healthy’ our connections to our primary caregivers were.

So, when we suffer traumatic events, abuse, unavailable parents we create a life script that is going to confirm and make us relive those experiences as an adult, and quite often that is true, our psychology is a formation of what we grew up with, what we learned, what we experienced, but there is something way beyond that for all people. We are born free, we have innate mental health, way beyond our psychology.

Looking beyond our psychology for answers

As we arrive here in the human experience completely perfect, unbroken with innate inbuilt mental health, it also makes sense that that place is always there within us, we have covered it up with the concepts and beliefs that look true to us over time.

As we grow up we are influenced by media, by events, by family, by culture, religion and relationships and over time we develop ‘the story of me’ which is a growing, changing real idea that looks like fact. Things that we get stuck in:

  • Whether we are creative or not
  • The story of weight (I can’t lose weight)
  • The addiction story (I am and always will be an addict)
  • Our potential financially
  • Whether we are intelligent or not
  • Our career potential
  • Our ‘luck’ with romantic relationships
  • Any other thing that we say I am (________) not good at

Alongside this we are developing an idea about the world, the people around us, and how it should be, our ideal world, these are often known as beliefs, and values and talked about as if they are fixed

  • People should or should not (_________)
  • Success is equal to (________)
  • In order to be happy I need to be () weight / body shape
  • In order to be healthy I need to (_________)

What often happens is the idea we create of ourselves, does not match our idea about how the world should be, and there suffering is creating. We get into an endless loop of trying to chase external circumstances, statuses, financial wealth, body shapes and illusionary well-being in these beliefs we have.

The solution is simple

Beyond our psychology, beyond all those beliefs about the world, beyond the story of me, lies that perfect untouchable, undamaged mental health, a place where peace, joy, contentment is our default state, and we don’t have to look in the past, or fix any of that those things in order to get it.

Our psychology just is, it doesn’t take away our ability to have insight into how the system works. Once we SEE how the system works, we get a glimpse of that natural place of peace that is within, trying to fix our psychology looks like a crazy idea.

How do we look within?

In order to look within, we just need to be open minded, and willing. To be open to the idea that something other than what we think we know, could be true. If you think about the vastness of potential and possibility beyond what you think you know, if you are willing to wonder, what could be possible, what might I not know about change, what could be beyond my current level of thinking of how it works. To let go of the intellectual mind for a moment and wonder, how do I experience that place in me that is always at all times, perfectly ok.

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