A lot of people seem to be waiting for that magic wand that will come and wipe their past away. They replay their hurtful experiences and the mistakes they made with the hope that when they wake up one morning the unpleasant parts of their past will be erased.
What they fail to realise and appreciate is that the past has both the good and the bad, the positive and negative experiences. They focus only on the negative part of their past lives and this consumes their energy, leaving nothing to be used for the future.
Instead of letting go, many people would rather spend their time and energy
– blaming everything under the sun
– withdrawing or hiding from the world
– telling their story to anyone who cares to listen
– seeking to please others
– trying to look smarter than they are or
– deploying every trick in their sorry minds to dominate others and pulling them down.
“If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future” – Winston Churchill
While it is excruciatingly hurtful for anyone to have been mistreated, abused and ostracized, the truth is that staying in that position serves no one, including you. Wallowing in self-pity for the mistakes you have done does not wipe them away.
Replaying these over and over and coming up with a remixed music album of your past does also not serve you and others.
The unpalatable truth about your past is that what is done is done, it will never change.
We have to move past our hurts and look for that which is before us. Even in the Bible, Paul says in Philippians 3: 13 “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”.
It might be easier said than done, however, it needs to be done at some point.
Letting go starts with reframing the narrative that you repeat in your mind consistently. It calls on you to consider that you are not the story but have experienced the story.
To let go, I suggest that you look at what lies ahead of you that you are denying yourself:
#1. Self-contentment: Imagine when you are filled with inner peace and unlimited access to talents and abilities that are gifted only to you. The story of your life is holding you back from the self-contended you. I fully agree with Dr Anil Kr Sinha that “one must strive for a good life. Self-contentment is the most potent arsenal to keep you in peace and happiness”.
#2. Reaching for your desires: Napoleon Hill said it wisely that “the starting point of all achievement is desire”. You will not achieve anything of value if you are stuck in the past.
#3. Healthy relationships: Your past hurts and injuries have the potential to affect how you interact with colleagues and your business partners. Breaking from a hurtful past bolsters your confidence and self-esteem which is essential for healthy relationships. In these relationships, be they personal or business, there is mutual respect and no one is trying to control or fix the other.
#4. Experience personal growth: In the words of Denis Waitley, “all of the top achievers I know are life-long learners looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. If they’re not learning, they’re not growing and not moving toward excellence”. Breaking from the past and your comfort zone opens you to new perspectives and new ways of thinking.
#5. Making a difference: You cannot affect change and make a difference if you are stuck in your past. Nelson Mandela said, “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make it a better place” Don’t you want to be part of the bigger world where you had a valuable contribution?
If you are intrigued by the idea of achieving extraordinary results in your life, I invite you to explore coaching with one of our coaches. Drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tex Hlalele is a Life & Business Coach, Consultant, Speaker and Author of the book Face the person in the mirror. Book Tex for coaching and speaking engagements to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement. Get in touch by sending an email on email@example.com. If you found value in this article, please be so kind as to share with those close to you.