A Field Guide To Changing The Past

A Field Guide To Changing The Past

By Heidi Priebe

Paul Morris

I once spent a very long time trying to undo the past.

When something bad happens, this seems like the logical response: To make it unhappen. To turn back time. To erase what transpired. To try it again.

It feels like the only option, because the other one is seems wholly unfathomable: to carry what has happened with us forward. To let the past remain as it was. To rearrange the future that we thought we’d have, and make room for the new things lodged inside of us. The pain. The anger. The wildfire of confusion and self-doubt.

We think that every morsel of fury left inside of is a necessary consequence of what has transpired. That what has broken in us will necessarily stay broken forever. That the messes we have made will never clear.

We don’t realize the past is not permanent. That our perceptions of it aren’t set in stone.

Your past itself won’t change. But you’ll eventually come to understand it in a new way.

Like changing the Instagram filter on a memory, what’s pronounced and pointed out will start to shift. Years from now it will still be the same picture but you’ll find yourself looking at it differently. The contrast will not be so harsh. The colours will be deepened and saturated. Things that once seemed sharp will soften. There’ll be a unity you did not see before.

The past will never not have happened but the way you feel about it will change. What you once approached with anger you will eventually look back on with understanding. What you once attached all of your worth to, you will stealthily reclaim your sense of purpose from.

Some of this will happen deliberately; you will seek out ways to reframe your experiences because you want to lessen the pain. But much of it will happen accidentally. A lot of reframing comes not from squinting at the way things have been, but from welcoming a new way that things are; a way that they could be, with wide eyes.

And this is the part of growth that so few self-help articles or programs ever touch on; the idea that development isn’t constrained to a new way of approaching or structuring your life.  That the most important steps you take towards personal growth will likely centre around shifting your perceptions into an entirely new dimension of understanding. That the most powerful changes will arrive once the foundation of your worldview has shattered and left you standing on new ground. Sturdier ground. More honest ground.

And from this ground, you will see your old life in a new way. You will have clarity where there was once doubt. You will have closure where there once was only confusion.

Your past will not change, but you will change into a person who is bigger than it is.

Whose self worth is no longer attached to what they lost, whose hands have stopped grasping tightly onto the sharp and jagged edges of a weathered and limiting perspective. You will become someone whose wounds have healed and whose scars have taken shape in incredible new ways.

The story that is your life will not change; the characters and chapters will remain. But with time, you will go back and extract a new message; a new way of interpreting what’s transpired.

And what once looked like a tragedy will look more like a prologue. To a better story, that was only beginning to take form.

Author: Heidi Priebe

Author. Blogger. Speaker. Founder. Person.