The past is not a good place to live. It stops you from being present and making the most out of today, and it can prevent you from achieving your goals and aspirations. A lot of the time we cling to the past out of fear – the fear of the unknown and fear of change. After all you know what happened in the past, but how do you know what will happen in the future? The past then becomes your greatest barrier to living the life you want to live.
There are two main reasons why we hold onto the past:
The past is a happy place
For some people the past holds their most treasured and happy memories. Instead of building a future, they spend time wishing they could turn back the clock. A prime example is those old high school classmates of yours who constantly talk about ‘the good ol’ days’ and never quite leave school mentally. They long to return to that time in their lives where they felt free, felt safe and truly happy.
The harsh reality is that you can’t go backwards in life. Yesterday is gone. While it is more than alright to reflect and reminisce about happy memories once in a while, particularly when you are having a tough day and need to take a moment to reset your current negative mindset, don’t obsess about the past. You have to start living in the now in order move forward with you life so that you can achieve your goals and aspirations.
Bad experiences in the past taught you the wrong lessons
Sometimes bad experiences can hold you back. Their lessons were so harsh that you created negative beliefs about yourself, your capabilities and your future. Think about a child growing up in an unsupportive environment who is bullied at school. For some this experience can fill them with the determination to escape their circumstance so they work hard to achieve success – and they do. Others are not so lucky. The constant berating leaves them with low self-esteem and a feeling of worthlessness. Instead of going out and achieving their goals, they believe that their goals are pointless, that they will never achieve anything – so they don’t.
Our mindsets are informed by our interpretation of the past which encourage both positive and negative self-fulfilling prophesies. It is important to remember that bad experiences are events in our lives. They do not predicate our futures. It is good to take-away the lessons learnt from bad experiences, in other words “what could you have done differently in order to achieve a different outcome?”, however don’t live there and don’t let the past control your present or your future.
I know that it is sometimes difficult to let go of the past. Sometimes experiences stay with you and keep playing back in your mind but it is important that you do learn to release the past. Learn to accept what happened, accept the lessons and decide today who you want to be, what life you want to live and then take steps to make it happen.
Letting go starts with making a decision. Actively decide to let go of the past and not let it control you anymore. Start to see the potential in your future if you just decide to start moving forward. Realise that good things can actually happen for you, and if you just let go the possibilities are endless. Press your mental reset button, face your future and start living the life you want to live.