Leaving your past behind… Part 1
Welcome to 2020. As we dive into this New Year, it is important that we free ourselves of the issues which may connect us to 2019 and perhaps other years gone by. We all have things that haunt us from our past. It can be a very uncomfortable feeling that leaves you more devastated when a new problem occurs because you blame yourself for some event or action in your past. Unfortunately, self-defeating logic may dictate that if you are the common denominator of your life, then it all has to be your fault, even though it’s not.
It is much more productive to think of yourself as a product of your entire self, not just the past. If you only look at negative things, then those negative things can become a part of your personality, and that may keep you in an emotional bind where life becomes more difficult than it needs to be.
Holding on to pain is normal, but it is also normal to let it go after an appropriate period of time. This can be very hard if you were abused as a child, for example. Unfortunately, some things, if they continued for years, can become part of you, and you then look at the world as a scary place, which just isn’t much fun and can be quite stressful.
The first thing to do is to get totally honest with yourself and decide who you want to be. Even though you may have been victimized, you don’t have to remain a victim. It’s one of those internal decisions that is confounding. Yes, what you went through changed you and made your life different from other people, but you do have a choice here. You don’t have to live in victim consciousness; you can move through it if you’re ready to do the mental work that’s needed.
There’s an old saying, “Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.” This is totally not true.
Look, you won’t repeat your childhood—that can never happen—but you can step back from life if you think that you will experience the same pain in different ways. And stepping back from life can keep you from the greatest gift and healer we all have, which is love.
How do we leave the past behind?
1. Forgive yourself and others
No matter what mistakes you’ve made in the past, you won’t be able to move ahead unless you forgive yourself and let go. Focus on your future and how you’ll use your passions and talents to serve the world, rather than wasting time and energy dwelling on the mistakes you’ve made and who has hurt you.
Regardless of what you’ve been through in life, you can always work on making your future better. When you continuously focus on painful experiences you’ve had, the mistakes you’ve made and how others have wronged you, you’re holding yourself hostage and preventing yourself from experiencing the joy and success you deserve.
Every person has had some sort of painful life experience. How you choose to react to those experiences is what determines whether you can leave the past behind and look ahead to the future. Work hard to forgive yourself and others so you can be free!
2. Reframe your thoughts
Reframe your thoughts from negative to positive. For example, saying, “My last relationship ended so badly that I’ll never trust anybody again” dwells on the negative. To focus on the positives, you could reframe it to, “My relationship had a rough ending, but I’ll work on loving myself and learning how to trust others again so I can have a healthy relationship.”
When you work on taking control of your thoughts and accept that you’re responsible for your own happiness, your life will greatly improve.
It’s important to be mindful of the ongoing dialogue you have with yourself. If you’re continually beating yourself up over events from your past, it’s almost impossible to move forward. Make a point to speak to yourself with encouragement and reframe your thoughts from negative to positive so you can continually make forward progress.
To be continued next week