Looking Backward to Find Our Way Forward

July 27, 2021

I recently revisited a past relationship as I moved through some healing and growth work these last couple of months.

(And as I begin to dig deeper into writing my next book!!)

This particular relationship was with a person who taught me that even though I couldn’t give voice to my feelings very well verbally at that time, I could express myself in writing.

While I’ve erased many traces of my last few relationships in an effort to heal and move forward, I never erased anything about this one.

There are emails upon emails of words written between us still sitting in a very old account. Expressions of truth and fear and hurt. Requests and desires and the sharing of my deepest self. Ideas and creations and an endless exchange of support. A mess of ungraceful honesty and young, codependent love.

And while it isn’t a relationship I regret leaving or one that I’d want to return to or recreate, it’s been both comforting and confronting to sit with who I was all those years ago—along with who I became because of it.

It’s been eye-opening to see that it was actually, in many ways, the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in (which honestly isn’t what I would have told you just a handful of weeks ago). The way I learned to show up and express my feelings, the partnership we had in our lives, creative projects, and business, and the life we built together was more real and clean than anything I’ve had since.

It was imperfect.
We were far from the right fit.
The two of us hurt each other a lot.

But it was a genuine partnership.


The day I showed up at his door with a bag of his things and the courage to say goodbye after a rocky final year together was also the day I began truly claiming my power and choosing myself wholeheartedly.

It was the best decision I could have made for us both (he’s happily married now) and the beginning of an incredibly healthy and successful period in my life. A season of self-love, deep self-acceptance, and a strong sense of certainty in my truth.

In Journey Mapping, a big piece of the work we do is looking at the world before.

Not because we’re trying to get back to who we were or what we once had—that’s no longer an option, nor would it be the best thing for us—but to get a point of reference.

To understand where we’re coming from and how much we’ve been altered by the things we’ve walked through. It gives us our bearings, allowing us to see where we are in this particular journey, which helps us make informed decisions about where we need and want to go next.

This exercise of looking back at my old relationship (and revisiting old posts that documented my growth afterward) has given me an unexpected but hugely helpful point of reference I didn’t even realize I needed.

It’s been packed with epiphanies that have completely shifted my context and how I relate to much of my life. It’s accelerated my growth and healing around things I thought would take far more time. It’s brought tremendous peace and clarity.

It’s made me realize that when my life turned upside down from loss and trauma two years after this particular relationship ended, I bottomed out so ridiculously hard, even more so than I thought.

Not only in the ways I’ve written and shared about—the failure of my business and eventual bankruptcy, my PTSD and severe health issues, waltzing into an abusive relationship because I had no brain, etc.—but in ways I simply couldn’t see until now.

My self-worth plummeted significantly.
I became a shell of a person with less enthusiasm for life.
My productivity, creativity, and expressiveness massively decreased.
I lost pivotal pieces of myself that make me who I am.

So even when I began healing and leveling up after everything I went through (all of which I’ve shared in Unravel), my baseline had dropped so significantly from where I was before that “good” and “better” were still unbelievably low. I was tolerating experiences, relationships, and situations that re-stabilized me in many ways but were still reflective of a much less connected sense of self and far lower self-worth.

It was a smack upside the head I’d been sorely needing. A jolt of awareness that reframed much of the grief, hurt, and angst around my last relationship ending, as well as other things in my life I’ve wrongly thought were “pretty good.”

When we create a newly informed point of reference through looking at the world before, our context changes.

And when our context changes, we begin to see possibilities we never saw before, allowing us to make a conscious choice to leap to a whole new level and way of being rather than staying stuck where we’ve been unconsciously trapped.

It’s intense and inspiring and wildly disorienting because it can change everything in what feels like an instant (and sometimes it’s an actual instantaneous, freeing shift).

Not only can we level up, but we can choose exactly what level we want to rise to.

Because we can see where we’ve been, and we can see where we are now, which gives us all the insight and information we need to say, “I want to be waaaaaay the heck over there.” Beyond the ability to choose a more aligned life and way of being, we also get to decide what we want to reclaim from the past and what we want to carry forward from our present place and experience. Nothing more, nothing less.

Does that mean that we just hop on over to that new level immediately?

Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.

It depends entirely on where we’re at.

Not in terms of the perceived distance between where we are and where we want to be, but in terms of the deeper work we’ve done or avoided.

The more we understand our personality type, core wounding, winning strategies, and subconscious patterns of self-sabotage, the easier it is to step into an entirely new way of being. That’s when the world begins reconfiguring around us to produce completely different results.

The less we understand these pieces (in terms of how they’re at play and how deeply rooted we are in our versions of them), the harder it is to “hold” that new way of being we need to truly land and rest at the new level.

It’s very easy for me to choose new ways of being and hold them.

Holding them looks like fully embodying the person we need to be to have the things we want—moving through the world as them—mentally, emotionally, energetically, and in how we engage with the world around us.

My relationship with everything around me already feels wildly different, and that will only continue to deepen over the coming days, weeks, and months.

Because I’ve done, and continue to do, the deeper work.

Work like:

Really looking at and unpacking my core wounds.
Identifying the stories (which aren’t true) those wounds love to tell.
Facing myself and where I’m out of alignment with who I believe myself to be.
Working with mentors, coaches, healers, and friends to continually grow.
Pushing my edges in ways that are scary and uncomfortable.
Doing deeper process and energy work.
Journaling, meditating, and reflecting daily.
Forming new habits and rewiring old, subconscious patterns.
Being very disciplined and intentional around the things I say I want.

It’s not easy, but it’s always been so very worth it.

Challenging chapters and big life transitions shift the ground beneath our feet.

And if we don’t take the time to really learn the lessons we need to learn, do the deeper healing work, and focus consciously and intentionally on our growth, we stagnate.

We make ourselves sick, self-sabotage endlessly around the important things, and never quite seem to get out of the level we feel stuck at.

That might look like continually recreating the same types of relationships, losing the people and things that are important to us, never being able to get out of a stressful financial spot, or dealing with health issues that never quite subside.

Sometimes we can’t see just how far off course we’ve gotten until we stop and take a good hard look at everything we’ve walked through. Sometimes it takes looking backward and getting that point of reference before we can really step into new levels and ways of being. Before we can even really claim what we desire.

But when we’re willing to do the more profound work, paired with the insight and information we need, so much becomes possible for us.

That’s when we can really quantum leap in all areas of our life.

I can’t wait to share more about what’s shifting and happening in my life and work due to this new awareness and work I’ve been doing. It’s truly magical!

Need support?

Click here to learn about working with me one-on-one.

Or click here to learn more about my signature Journey Mapping program.

These transformations happen more rapidly with support!

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