On today’s episode of The Addicted Mind Podcast, Duane talks with author Benjamin Hardy about his personal experience with addiction and the chaos that comes along with it. Benjamin describes the process overcoming his own addictions involved going through a “redemptive process,” which involved forgiving his father and rebuilding the relationship there. With trauma, you’re always looking in the rear-view mirror, but you need to make meaning going forward. Meaning is not going to strike you—you have to make it yourself. The beauty of this is that you can change the meaning of your past, Benjamin says. It’s key to have empathy for your old self.
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Benjamin also talks about how writing about your trauma can really help. Turning away from the past, you can have hope for the future. Without a hope for the future, Benjamin says, the present becomes meaningless. You can also choose to ascribe a meaning to your past. We call it “meaning-making,” Benjamin says. Part of becoming emotionally-developed includes this idea of choosing the meaning of your past.
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He shares a story about how you can actively work to a solution for something that didn’t go exactly how you planned instead of snapping to a quick decision. You can choose to frame it in a new way instead of being defined by a failure. Choosing the meaning going forward can change how you store that forever. In his story, Benjamin points to the fact that he was vulnerable enough to share his feelings with the people in question as part of the process.
Moving onto his book, Benjamin unpacks the idea that your personality is going to change, and that you have the power to choose who you want to be in the future. Your personality is just how you consistently show up. It’s crucial to have your identity based on who you actually want to be in the future. The same courage that moves you to say “I need help” is the courage it takes to tell people who you want to be in the future. It takes courage, as Benjamin says, because it’s uncertain. You’ll realize you might be rejected, but that you also need to do some “rejecting” to get you where you ultimately want to be. When you are open and honest, nothing is hiding anymore.