Many people living today are fighting lost battles because their presents are still tethered to their past. So we realize that it isn’t always a good thing when we look back. Oftentimes, we look back on our past, and what we find is a clutter of insecurities, failures, regrets, unresolved issues, resentments, it is generally an ugly terrain where individuals are coming from.
The sad thing though, they left that terrain, that past, only in body. Mentally speaking, folks are dragging heavy shackles around with them in a present that deserves better, thus depriving them of a fit mind for future endeavors. For folks like these, the future is dead on arrival.
The point is if you aren’t moving forward in life as much as you want to, if you aren’t achieving your full potential as an individual, it may be as a result of conditioning by past events.
Viewing yourself in a disparaging light, you resign yourself to the trap of the barest minimum, telling yourself that the tiny bit you do right now is all you can do. It is a trap, an unconsciously learned trick that the hurt mind employs in others to excuse itself from the crime of living in a forgone past.
Other people’s opinions often have a lasting effect on how we perceive ourselves too, their words make deep impressions and in turn shape our opinion of our lives.
- 1 So, how can you stop the elements of your past from affecting your future?
So, how can you stop the elements of your past from affecting your future?
The grueling war between the past and the future can be won. Before you seek external help, the bulk of the work starts with you. That’s why you need to go through what I have outlined below to at least kickstart the process of letting go of your past.
Acknowledge your past
Our individual past shapes our present. History is always shaping the future, and as they say, it is always repeating itself. A lot can be learned from past events, the mistakes we made. But you may not be able to learn anything from what happened in your past if you are angry with it, if you resent it, or wish it happened to others, not you.
You can’t wish away what’s yours to bear. You will be happier when you accept your humanness, all your faults, and everything else from the past that led to this moment in time. It is all a part of growth.
Being able to sieve through the debris of a fallen past, to pick through the rubbles, and find the part of you that’s valuable takes great effort, yes. But it is an exercise that is worth it in the end.
You can stop your past from affecting your future if you do all this.
Just let it go
Joan was deeply hurt when she found out what Mary, her supposed best friend said about her to the other friends in their circle. It was sometimes really disparaging. Joan concluded that maybe she was better off alone, people were just cruel creatures who hurt you for sport, and all friends do was talk behind and can’t face you.
Joan has been alone since then – for the singular reason of what happened in the past. Every time someone tries to be friends with Joan, somehow, that past experience reminds her that she’s not safe, so she pushes any advances for friendship away. She continues to be lonely though.
Does Joan’s situation mirror yours?
It is futile to hold on to the past, and physically impossible to do something about a past that is gone. No matter what you do, the past will always be gone. What you are holding on to doesn’t exist anymore.
So, the past, let it go.
Joan in the example above still feels resentful of her friend, Mary. She now remembers that she never told Mary how she felt about what happened, how it hurt her, how she suffered.
But these issues now constitute a raging sea that sometimes well up at night when she lays alone, or at odd times when she catches sight of anyone who shares a likeness with Mary.
Or even when the potential friend beside her looks anything like Mary. She begrudged Mary and the other friends with whom Mary supposedly shared the gossip with. And most of all, Joan is and at herself for letting the matter go without a resolution.
Have you felt this way before? This may seem like a simple issue but the implications reach far into the future and can hinder personal growth. The hurt can eat into your day and make you sick.
For those who achieved forgiveness, anxiety, and depression, along with improved self-esteem and hope, were improved.
Start a Diary
Putting pen to paper is one hobby that the world is losing. Perhaps it may be time to get back to writing and experience the therapeutic effects of committing your memory of an event and how it made you feel to the paper. Preferably, begin a diary.
In it write in as many details as you can remember, the event that may be responsible for being hung up in the past. Writing can help clarify past events, help us put what happened in perspective.
In the end, you begin to see that what happened isn’t so much a big deal as time progresses, that is, it isn’t enough to deprive you of enjoying an amazing future that awaits you.
There is a branch of writing called, expressive writing. This involves writing your thoughts about an event that touches you emotionally, one that evokes traumatic feelings in you.
Writing has been found to be therapeutic in itself, and it seems that being able to put into words details of a hurtful event minimizes the trauma.
You can stop the past from affecting your future by capturing the past in writing, thereby taking charge of your future.
Master your fear
Fear is a very powerful emotion. It is the emotion that grabs hold of every other emotion and cripples, tramples them under its feet. Take love. Matt was in love with Bella, has always been.
And even he can see that Bella fancies him too. But every time Matt tries to speak about his feelings, a lump climbs up his throat and chokes his confessions back; Fear. Matt is terrified of the answer that he was sure Bella would give him. Which is a NO.
Why does Matt feel this way? Fear ingrained in him by previous rejections from other girls or other people he adores. It is Matt’s past plaguing him all over again. Matt just might lose the opportunity of a lifetime to find true love. Fear is ruthless.
How can you master your fear? How can you build your confidence? The following are ways to fight fear:
First, imagine the worse
Try to imagine the worst that can happen in a situation. The trick is, if you can imagine it, then you can walk through it and come out on the other side of the fire alive, unscathed. Yes. What’s the worst that can happen if Matt tells Bella how he feels?
Bella either says yes or no. And that’s it. The world will continue, right. And who knows, Matt and Bella just might turn out to be good friends in the future, you never know how these things end.
Don’t try to control everything
Much of what fear involves is you trying to control the outcome of a situation, that’s you playing God. You lose the intrigue of not participating in the mystery of not knowing when you try to control everything around you.
You can only try to control your reaction to the actions of other people. It is impossible for Matt to control Bella’s reaction. Accept that some factors and events are outside your authority, are not within your power. When you do this, you have more confidence and less fear.
It is possible to know the value of an upcoming situation. It is possible to know to a degree what to expect. When you have a modest estimate of a situation, you don’t expect too much from it, or from those other people involved in it.
A little research may help achieve this and allay fears. For instance, Matt may ask around if Bella has probably let on that she likes him. This may help Matt control his fear and depending on his findings, make a realistic assessment of his chances.
Following the tips helps fight your fears so you can live a quality life now and in the future. The past stops being a trap.
Avoid negative thoughts
In a world filled with hurtful things, it is easy to sink into negativity, and it easy to fall into the temptation of taking the easy way out: which is to blame the world for something that happened in the past, not accepting any responsibility for your own feelings of inadequacy.
Negative thoughts can creep in unexpectedly. In other to avoid this, repeat positive words to yourself, go out more, soak up the sun in the morning. Resist the urge to lay in bed all day, get active by engaging in exercise.
Spending more time outdoors can relieve stress and reduce down feelings, listening to music forces the mind into a lighter mode. Exercise helps the brain release serotonin into the blood, giving you a feel-good vibe. The more exercise you get, the more positivity you let into your mind.
Avoid the bottle like the plague
It is common to find folks going through a rough patch in their lives hunched over bottles of alcohol in bars around town. Alcohol provides momentary succor from the torment of the past. Soon you will have more than a dark past to worry about, a bigger problem of alcohol addiction will present itself.
Think about the health implications of alcohol. You don’t want to go down that road. Instead of talking to the bottle, talk to someone you trust. Instead of walking into a bar, accept the invitation to join friends at a beach party, barbecue party, or go hiking. Your mind is sure to clear up and you’d feel refreshed.
When the past grips, it is as virulent as a virus. The effects can be damaging mentally, psychologically. For severe cases of guilt, and self-doubt restraining you in the past so that you stuck there, therapy is recommended. And not just any type of therapy.
If you cannot let the past fizzle away like the wind on your end, then you should try psychodynamic therapy so you can take control of your present to have a very great future.
BetterHelp describes psychodynamic therapy as a branch of therapy that works well to help you stop living in the past and face the future with confidence. You should do more research about this therapy online and check out the possibility of getting help.
Therapy helps in the long term, it is a process, a project aimed at overhauling the whole mind, however, it may be expensive depending on where you live. For some, however, letting go of the past is possible by applying the suggestions stated above.