It’s easy to get hung up in the past. After all it made us who we are, it’s our history and it seems to be hanging around all the time.
People define themselves by what went before. They get stuck in those labels and definitions and beliefs.
Your past doesn’t define you. It only shows you the path you have already walked. You can choose a new one.
The hard part of course it taking in that deep breath and looking your past directly in the eye. Many of my clients want to move forward but their past is holding them back from doing just that. It’s like a chain that keeps them from ever getting too far from where they are. You can break those chains with some effort on your part…but they will not break themselves.
First thing I want you to understand is there is only one person who can create and destroy the links on those chains and that is you. Yup…no excuses about society dragging you down, family issues…none of it. We all have ‘stuff’. We all choose how we react to that stuff and what we let go of or keep.
Are you ready to start letting go? I would bet good chocolate that you are, but you probably are feeling a little lost when it comes to the how to exactly do that. Everyone’s journey will be a little (or a lot) different but there are some common lines we do follow.
- You must value you. If you don’t do that you won’t have the will to face who you used to be. Add to this the inner strength needed to look at all the highs and lows of the past you will have to face those who are uncomfortable with your changes. You must get clear on why you are worth the effort. Keep a gratitude journal to help you stay positive.
- You will need courage to use the kind of honesty with yourself that is required here. It’s not always going to be easy to move through the emotions and truth, it will be worth it however.
- You need to forgive. Not just others, but yourself. Making mistakes is being human. Hanging onto and punishing yourself for mistakes you made in the past is going to strengthen those chains. In order to break them you must accept your mistakes, your transgressions and forgive yourself. Learn the lesson and let go.
- You must be willing to change your old patterns and behaviour. What those will be will of course be dependent on where you want to go with your life. However, if you continue to do the same things you will have the same results right? There must be a willingness to accept and work at change.
- Face the pain. Most of us don’t really deal with past pain. Instead we push it away and let it sit just on the edge of our life where it hovers and holds us back. It seems easier and certainly some days it is what we need. Still, in order to move out from our past, we must move through the painful experiences and deal with them head on. I have had to do this numerous times. It isn’t easy but certainly is cathartic.
- Know that it takes time. These chains were not built in one day, nor will they all be broken in one. That is true, but everyday you spend not doing anything to let go of the past and build a brighter future is another link in those chains.
The first step in changing our lives into ones where we find peace, joy and love, in spite of our issues is acknowledging that we can. The second step is letting go of the past hurts, labels and beliefs. From there, the world begins anew.