As you write your autobiography, you will notice a shift in thinking that occurs from the childhood years, 0-12, to your adolescent years, 13-20. This shift is the natural maturing process that results in blaming others less for our own wrong doings and poor choices and not casting ourselves as victims. Your autobiography should reflect this natural maturation trend. Remember that as a child you may have had little control over your circumstances. Once people enter adolescence they begin to gain a tremendous amount of choice with respect to their behaviors. These are the years in which people learn and choose the way they perceive their world.
Whereas some people have a difficult childhood and/or adolescence and overcome this negative life for one much better, others with equal hardships will use the experience of suffering as a basis for failure. They do not see the world as a place of opportunity, but rather a place to be feared. They consciously or unconsciously lower their standards and narrow their perceptions and options in an effort to protect themselves and their feelings. The question is why? In a word, choice.
Our choices form who we are and what we get out of life. It is during the adolescent years that many hurtful, negative personal habits can begin to take hold. It is with this in mind that you should write the events of this time period in as much detail as possible. Ask yourself how and why you view the world the way you do. Where did your self-limiting fears originate? What people in your life influenced the way you perceive the world around you? How did you learn to be unhappy? Were your parents fearful or unhappy people? Who were the people you admired and what was their perception of the world? Write the answers to these questions workbook as you did in the childhood section...
...Most of our guests fall into the adult years age category: older than 21 but younger than 60 years of age. This is a period in people's lives during which the learned behaviors from childhood and adolescence are already well established. Being a purpose driven, happy adult means letting go of childish things and becoming the person you truly want to become. This is the key to this process having a permanent effect.
Look at situations in which you are either partly to blame or totally at fault. In either situation what causes misery is when you conclude that others are wholly wrong. The eventual goal of the autobiography is to help you grow from being a blaming, selfish, delusional person into a forgiving, responsible, purpose-driven adult. When you examine the three relationship conflict profiles discussed earlier you may begin to remember old resentments and grudges, and you may even discover current remorse and hate that still burden you...
...The Senior Years
Everything written about the adult years applies to this era as well. The only significant difference is that as we get older it can become more difficult to change. People with drinking or drug problems in their later years, often suffer depression and find it difficult to get motivated and to find a deeper purpose so late in life. Sometimes they get to their senior years and seem to lose the drive that used to get them out of bed in the morning. Negative habits have so thoroughly permeated their thoughts and emotions that change has become a frightening prospect. To make things more difficult is the fact that neuroplastic brain changes take more effort to jump start as age increases.
However, older people begin counting their years because they feel their time is running out. Because of a sense of urgency, some older people do muster up the courage to make a life change and face their fears head on. In the autumn of life people have a natural tendency to look back over their lives and ask, "What regrets do I have? What could I have done differently?" If there has been intense substance use, feelings of remorse and guilt can become overwhelming, often resulting in even greater substance use. With so much regret, it takes tremendous courage to move forward. A full autobiography is incredibly helpful.
For older people with serious health problems their story can be a blueprint for how to leave this world free and at peace. The final stage of the autobiography calls for recognizing one's past problem behaviors to make a more positive and productive future...
...This chapter has covered a tremendous amount of ground. This should not be something you rush, but on the other hand, do not start it and then procrastinate. This exercise will force many negative emotions to surface, so try to get through it as thoroughly and efficiently as possible. Then you can move forward with replacing that old life with a new series of realized dreams and fulfilling relationships.