When you can’t let go of the past…

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 There are events in our lives that leave an indelible impression.  Some bring us to our knees and others raise us up.  Others do both.  The death of an child, violence, or a tragic mistake are a few that come to mind.  There are even lesser events that can be life altering.

Our experiences in life occur for a reason.  I believe that with all my heart.  Would I wish them on anyone?  Absolutely not!  They are however what makes us the who we are today.

Here is a quick overview of my last 5 years:

  • My job was eliminated after almost 25 years with one company.
  • I moved to a place without friends, family or support.
  • Business investments were lost & resulted in financial devastation.
  • My parents moved in with us as their health declined. Dad died suddenly last year.
  • Jack was diagnosed with leukemia & cancer and has just finished up surgery and radiation. 

I know that if I could go back that I’d make many changes that may have prevented most of these from occurring.  But I can’t.  I have to live in this moment and make the best of it.  To me the only way to do that is by using what I learned from these challenges to make my life… and hopefully the lives of others… better, now!

Anyone of these events could have brought me to my knees and in reality they did cause me to pause.  But in that space I realized that I was stronger than anything that could ever happen in my life. So are you!  I tell you my story in hopes that you’ll look at the challenges in your own life as lessons to grow from.

If you are struggling with letting go of the past know that you are making a choice to do so.  All the time that you are focusing on what you can’t change you’re keeping yourself from being happy and enjoying the life that is in front of you.

Try these Simple Steps when you are ready to move past your past:

  • Forgive yourself.  If you knew then what you know now you wouldn’t have done what you did.  Learn from the experience so you don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. We’ve talked about forgiveness often.  For more on this topic read this: Forgiveness
  • Take time to feel the pain.  If you lost someone close to you, mourn & celebrate their life. Realize that while your time with them may have been too short that there are others who need you now.  Make a difference in their lives.  As you’ve come to realize life is much too short.  Be present for those in your life now.  
  • If your hurt arises from a relationship that isn’t or didn’t work out as you’d hoped holding on to it keeps you in a state of pain.  If you have been betrayed or hurt by someone else realize that by allowing those feelings to dominate your life that you are making a choice to allow that person’s actions to hurt you.  The event is over. You are watching re-runs that have the same power as the original event did.  Turn the channel!  How?  As you start to feel the pain coming on say out loud, “NO, I am not going to let this hurt me any more.  I am choosing to be happy.”  Repeat this every single time… even if it is multiple times in an hour.  Doing so distracts you from the pain and after a while you’ll start saying “Yes” to happier thoughts. 
  • If you made bad choices then acknowledge them.  “I chose to invest in real estate and it was the wrong choice for me.”  “I chose to drink/smoke/take drugs in the past.”  “I chose to quit school.”  Follow those statements with what you are choosing to do differently.  “I have lost everything financially and know that going forward that I will do my due diligence and not rely on gurus.”  “I abused my body by (drinking/smoking/taking drugs) but I am choosing to honor my body and my life by making better choices.”  “I may have quit school when I was younger but I’m back now and I’m ready to learn!”

In this life we each get to choose to stay in the past and be miserable or to live in this moment and be happy, now.  Perhaps it isn’t easy to move past the past…  but it is a choice.   Make the choice that makes you feel good!




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