Own Your Past Change Your Future Book Summary - Own Your Past Change Your Future Book explained in key points
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Own Your Past Change Your Future summary

John Delony

A Not-So-Complicated Approach to Relationships, Mental Health & Wellness

4.6 (268 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

Own Your Past Change Your Future by John Delony is a transformational book that encourages readers to confront their past, empowering them to make positive changes and shape a brighter future.

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    Own Your Past Change Your Future
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    Step one: Own your stories

    Everyone has their own story, their own life. Perhaps you’ve suffered from neglect, loneliness, or grief. Or maybe you’ve been dumped or cheated on by a loved one, been the target of physical abuse, or been fired from work. You were born into bad circumstances – or good. Or you live in the “wrong” part of the world, or the “right” one.

    Whatever your unique set of circumstances, your life is a web of stories of past if-onlys and what-ifs, of present what-is, and of future things that still might come to pass.

    You’ve likely been hurt at some point in the past – mildly or tragically – perhaps in ways other people have difficulty imagining or understanding. But the first step in moving forward is to acknowledge that your pain comes from your stories. The second is to understand that the solution also comes from your stories. Your stories help you make sense of the world, organize it, and shape your experience of it. For this reason, you need to take ownership of your stories, and when you do, you’ll also be able to influence what happens next.

    In Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, he posits that “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” In practice, this means taking a long hard look at yourself in the mirror, facing your stories, and owning them. Period. This is the first step to overcoming your past and healing.

    There are four distinct types of story in your life. First, the stories you’re born into – your cultural background, your faith or church, your family, your traditions. Second, the stories others tell you – your worth, your abilities, and your value – perhaps told to you by your parents and teachers, your enemies and friends, institutions. Then come stories that actually happen. These are stories about your reality – you bought a house, someone died, you had twins, they gave the job to someone else, and so on. Finally, are the stories you tell yourself – who you are, the way you judge yourself.

    All these stories have a huge influence on everything about you from the way you walk into a room to what you wear, what you drive, where you live, and how you spend your leisure time. Some stories are fleeting, others longer-lasting. Whatever the case, you need to own them and begin to write new ones. Let’s see how:

    Start by grabbing a notebook and then question yourself about each of the four story types. For example, when it comes to relationships, think about your marriage, your parenting skills, your extended family, or your digital relationships.

    Remember that everyone’s stories are different. Whole books have been written about the stories we carry with us. But you can think about your stories as bricks you carry around in a rucksack. Perhaps you were born already carrying a ton of these bricks, perhaps fewer.  But you’ll likely find more bricks to carry as you progress through life – and perhaps shed a few along the way, too. One thing is for sure, though, you need to unpack those bricks and deal with them to move forward. Keep writing down stories that come to mind. And own those stories.

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    What is Own Your Past Change Your Future about?

    Own Your Past Change Your Future (2022) provides a simple five-step plan to overcoming past trauma, changing your thoughts and actions, and healing. It will help you grieve your past hurts, make real friends, and set you on a path to wellness.

    Who should read Own Your Past Change Your Future?

    • Self-help seekers looking to improve their lives, heal from past hurts, and grow
    • Mental health professionals interested in a new framework to help their clients
    • Personal development enthusiasts who want to deepen their connections and find meaning

    About the Author

    John Delony is a mental health expert with over 20 years of experience in counseling, crisis response, and higher education. He’s a best-selling author and host of The Dr. John Delony Show where he provides practical advice to help people overcome past trauma, build better relationships, heal from the past, and lead happier, more connected lives. His previous books include Refining Anxiety and Building a Non-Anxious Life.

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