We all have baggage that we carry with us. But does it really serve us? Does it assist us in living healthy, positive and liberated lives?
Edith Eger, author of “The Choice”, survived the horrors of Auschwitz. From barely alive, she continued to become an internationally acclaimed psychologist.
In her book she explains the “escape from the concentration camp of your mind.”
Four key points she highlights are:
REMEMBER YOU HAVE A CHOICE.
(Also the motto of another survivor Viktor Frankl, well known for his book: “ Man’s Search for Meaning”).
We can never erase our past. But we can choose how we respond to it. In Eger’s words: “I can be miserable, or I can be hopeful; I can be depressed or I can be happy”.
It remains a choice.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO GRIEVE
Eger emphasizes the need to grieve our losses, wounds and disappointments. If we don’t, we are doomed to relive them.
We have been conditioned to think that we should not allow anything that may cause anxiety or discomfort. It only results in us suppressing past traumas and hardships and running from ourselves.
Unfortunately we are only giving power to our fears.
As Eger says: “When we force our truths and stories into hiding, secrets can become their own trauma, their own prison.”
ACCEPT THAT BAD THINGS HAPPEN
ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, teaches us to accept our past and to commit to working with our present and future.
Eger says that “freedom lies in learning to embrace what happened. Freedom means we muster the courage to dismantle the prison, brick by brick.”
“If you look at your birth certificate, does it say life will be easy?”, asks Eger.
“It does not”.
We need to grow ourselves in finding our unique path. We need to evolve our being by accepting adverse events, and by embracing who we are, and how we want to continue living a fulfilled life.
LEARN HOW TO TAKE RISKS
To actualize yourself and your potential fully, you need to become comfortable with uncertainty and the unknown, in order to be able to take calculated, responsible risks. If not, you remain stuck and growth is halted.
Eger points out that we need to embrace our fears in order to not be imprisoned by them. It is not easy, but it is essential in becoming liberated, and to not be imprisoned by presumed “safety”, that is actually preventing you from living.
Find your “notes and your harmony”, and pause regularly in the “pursuit”of liberating yourself and living a fulfilled life.
Adapted from “ The Choice” by Edith Eger and Psychologies Magazine, November 2017.