What drives us to live in the past? How can we be stuck in the past to the point of forgetting the present and neglecting the future? And most importantly, how to get out of this spiral and finally move on with our lives? All of us, without exception, have experienced one or more sad and painful episodes in the past. Some of us have been able to move on while others struggle to really let go.
When it comes to letting go of the past and moving forward, we always refer to bad experiences, one must forget their ex, failures, sad youth, and so on. Yet a disabling past that prevents us from moving forward may very well be of a glorious or a legendary time that unfolded what was once our success, power, and beauty.
Hence a separation from our past, be it painful or glorious, is crucial because it only slows us down.
There are two kinds of pasts that are challenging to get over:
The tragic past
It is all the negative experience that prevents us in one way or another from moving forward, to get better and live the present moment.
The nostalgic past
It is the strong, even sickly, attachment to a glorious era of our life to the point of rejecting the reality that is often different and sometimes much less advantageous.
There is no harm in being nostalgic, one would say, as it does not matter to rethink tenderly of our youth or past success and provided that this nostalgia does not stop us from accepting our age, physical shape, health, current financial and/or social situation.
Also regretting the harm that had been caused to others because of our past actions is a human and benevolent reaction that will prevent us in the future from doing the same wrong again. On the other hand, hiding in the depths of the past so as not to face reality creates a feeling that only gives one the illusion of temporary well-being.
The past is the past and the present is where you are now, but the future is what you make! If you have not done so yet, it is high time to make the decision to let go of your past.
Start by making a conscious decision followed by the commitment of getting over the past; accept the pain inflicted to you in the past and learn from it; stop the victim attitude and take ownership of your actions. Forgive yourself for past mistakes, and stop dwelling on past glories, the future is yet to come!
Seek professional help if letting go of the past remains a challenging task.
Counsellor & Collaborative Family Practitioner