7 STEPS TO IMPROVING YOUR LIFE: Part 2. There’s more to being healthy than eating lettuce

Here are the seven guidelines which will help you to change your reaction to the past and regain the power to make decisions to improve your life and lessen your stress.

* Step One: It is not as great a problem as you might think. Look at it as merely getting ride of a computer virus or throwing out an out of date packet of oatmeal. It is merely a matter of sorting out the infected memory boxes, washing down the storage shelves, replacing the good boxes and making a fresh start.Your commitment to making it work is the key.

* Step Two: This is the most important step. You must decide very firmly to change your relationship with your past. Accept that everybody has a past and what many experienced was far worse than whatever happened to you. We hear daily of people with a difficult history who have succeeded in life. That is because they changed their relationship with what happened to them. Instead of concentrating on the failings of others and how bad other people’s behaviour made them feel they concentrated on what they could do in future to avoid itt happening again. They kept hold of the power to decide what happened to them. Sometimes they merely decided to show their ‘opponents’ that whatever the criticism being flung at them was not true: ie they could succeed, they were not feeble, they could be rich, they could ‘make it’ in whatever they decided to do. To have power to decide how anybody lives their life is everybody’s right. You too must take back the power in your life so that you make the decisions from now on, not your past. Imagine how this will free you by opening new avenues in life, improving relationships and offering new exciting adventures

* .Step Three: Now is the time to ask yourself several questions which at first may seem difficult to answer. However you must not shy away from really trying and be honest. Let us tackle, as an example, some of those things or people you say you hate for what they did to you. Try to analyse why you feel hatred and question whether it really is hatred, or could it be something else? What emotion do you actually experience when you think of hem?

* Step Four: Now it is time to make a list of all the emotions you can think of: envy, jealousy, fear, resentment, shame, loneliness, feeling abandoned and so on. Were any of these the actual emotions troubling you when you decided you ‘hated’ something or somebody? When something terrible happened to you how did you really feel? Next stop blaming ourself feeling that in some way you deserved what happened. Instead let go of the bad feelings and concentrate on the fact that whatever happened was in the past – and that you are now in charge of how you react to that.

* Step Five: You might at this stage be imagining the way ahead might be too difficult. That is quite understandable. Old habits die hard and allowing our past to have power over our present has probably become a habit. Like most habits it might be one which is not easily broken. Sometimes like a gambler, a smoker, or a drinker, we find it easier to take the well defined road even though we know it will not take us to where we want to go. We can be mpted to choose to stay as we are, to continue to cause unhappiness for hose who care for us as well as for ourselves. We continue to lose friends and lovers, never to find new ones, to never be at peace with ourselves. We might find it easier, even though we are not happy, to remain on our currentt path and not to strike out and take a few well chosen and really thought out risks. We may prefer to continue hoarding the ‘past their use-by weevil ridden boxes’ or ‘continue using that virus ridden computer’. Let’s hope not and that you will move on

* Step Six: Spend an evening imagining how you will feel when you succeed in quitting your old habits. Imagine the glow you will experience when you can look into your weevil free store cupboard and find only goodies. No longer will you look back with a jaundiced eye. You will be able to recall the joyful memories, and ignore the bad ones. You will now see your garden as full of beautiful flowers and shrubs rather than invading weeds. To misquote a cliché: you will see the glass flowing overl, never mind half full, rather than half empty. Consider now all the benefits of continuing along the new path. No longer will you expect to find a maggot in all your apples, a caterpillar in every rose, a dragon around every corner. You will see a potential friend in everyone you meet rather than labelling them as a potential enemy. You will not feel threatened by those you see as better educated, richer, stronger or different in any way. You will see them as interesting and as a possible enrichment in you rlife.

* Step Seven: At this stage you may come up against your greatest hurdle; it is one you absolutely must cross. This is the need to accept that everyone – whoever they may be – has memory boxes; and that many of these could be creating problems for them (and you) in the same way yours do/did for you. Now will be the time, having worked so hard on yourself and your memory boxes and having cleared out all the infected ones, to make a new commitment never to allow anything which happens to you in the future to become infected.

Only then will YOU really have taken back THE POWER which is your right; THE POWER to make decisions on how you will run your life in future and how you will react to whatever happens to you – whether it be good or bad.

Good luck