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Making Peace With Lost Time

By Dr. Margaret Paul
May 26, 2014

Do you sometimes look back and feel as if you have wasted your life caretaking others or trying to get others to take care of you?

Very often, in my work with my clients and with people who attend my workshops and Intensives, once they understand that they have been abandoning themselves, they feel deep distress over what they call 'lost time' or 'wasted time.' I understand this because I once also felt the same way. I was in my mid-forties when I realized that I had never really lived because I had been abandoning myself my whole life. This issue is typified by Ashley's question:

"Could you please advise how to make peace with lost/wasted time not living and putting myself first but rather spent care-taking, people pleasing, giving myself up, existing/surviving, healing trauma from the past, parenting my parents, etc.?"

The concept of wasted time is a false idea. Everything you have been through up until now has been preparing you for the new path you are now embarking on. Everything you have been doing – healing from trauma, caretaking others, giving yourself up – has laid the foundation for being able to learn to love yourself now.

Take a breath, go inside, and open to learning about all that you've experienced up until now. You've learned what doesn't work for you – what doesn't make you feel peaceful and joyful. You've learned about the past and how you came to be a caretaker or a taker. As a result of your learning and healing experiences, you've developed your awareness, your resiliency and your strength. Nothing that you've done has been wasted.

I look back over my life and I see that there is no way I could be in the joyful place I'm often in now without the pain I went through. Like Moses in the desert, we all need to be honed to be ready to love ourselves. None of us grows up unscathed. We all have our wounds that need to be attended to and healed. This is a process, and at some point in this process, hopefully you discover that true healing occurs as you learn how to love yourself.

Making peace with what you may think of as lost or wasted time means recognizing that there is no such thing. Everything we go through is part of the honing. Everything hopefully moves us more and more toward the wisdom we need to fulfill our mission on the planet: to evolve in our ability to love ourselves and others, and to manifest our gifts upon the planet.

I'm grateful for all that I went through that brought me to where I am today. I look back and I see that there was no wasted time at all. The first 45 years of my life, when I had no idea how to love myself, were years I had to go through to finally crack open from the misery of my self-abandonment. I needed to reach that point of unhappiness to finally be willing to learn how to take responsibility for my own feelings rather continue to care-take others' feelings. I needed to become physically ill enough to realize that if I didn't learn how to love myself, and take the risk of losing everyone I was caretaking – my husband, my children, my parents, my friends and my clients – I would likely die.

Wasted time to reach that point? Not at all! How could I have reached the point of finally cracking open and taking the risks I needed to take if I had not gone through everything I went through? No wasted time here!


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