Updated: Feb 12, 2021
I don't know about you, but I've spent waaaaaayyyyy too much time in the past...thinking about all the things that did or didn't happen...all the things I did or didn't say...coulda, shoulda, woulda til there ain't nothin' left. So many sleepless nights! In fact, my backward thinking has been the greatest barrier to me accessing my highest self. Being consumed with my past is incredibly draining, emotionally, physically, AND spiritually, which means my tank's empty for the here and now.
Dwelling on the past is like trying to shop with the cart that has the squeaky wheel; technically the cart's functioning, but the squeaking prevents you from shopping blissfully.
Bringing your past into your everyday life prevents you from thriving in the present moment. And here's the thing, the present moment is the only thing that's true! Your future isn't guaranteed and your past only exists in your mind. Let me say that again, YOUR PAST ONLY EXISTS IN YOUR MIND! And yet, a majority of people spends the bulk of their time looking backward, drowning in old pain, rarely savoring the moment.
I can't say for sure why you in particular do this, but I have a hunch. I think it's the same reason you might spend money on dumb crap, binge watch tv, drink or eat excessively and indulge in a host of other bad habits: you're afraid. Afraid of what you ask? Everything. Afraid of what people might say. Afraid of change. Afraid to be alone. Afraid to fail. Afraid to let go. Afraid to feel the feels. Afraid of your shadow! I assume this to be true 'cause I've been there, and I still have my moments.
Holding onto the past also serves a purpose. Perhaps it justifies your anger? Your choice to play small? Your bad relationship? Your self pity/doubt? Your willingness to work at a job you hate...for better or worse we only do things that serve us in some way. It's up to you to figure out what the reason is so that you can let.it.go. So, that you can recognize that you have the ability to decide what you think about your past and whether or how it will affect your future. You 100% have the power to assign any meaning you want to it.
Personally, I've been working on practicing gratitude for my cringey past. Instead of using it to beat myself up, I've been using it to build myself up. I'm recognizing that the "good, bad and ugly" brought me to this place. While I'm not fully satisfied with where I am or in love with all of my choices, I'm enjoying the process of creating the person I need to be to achieve my goals. And friends, I literally wouldn't be doing this without all of my past experiences! I am who I am because of alllllllll the things. As Byron Katey says (in other words): I know that everything that's transpired was supposed to happen simply because it did. It does me no good to fight the things that happened or to use them to hold myself back. And let me be clear: I don't have to like all of it, but I do believe I have to accept it. In fact, it would be in my best interest to let that 'ish go, so I can rise higher than my past could have ever predicted.
So what do you say? Let's start architecting ourselves right now based on who we need to be to live a life by design.
Thank you for reading,
There's a Song for That: "I'm Movin' On", Rascal Flatts
*My intention is not to minimize trauma. If you or someone you know has experienced significant trauma, please seek help from a medical professional*