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Keeping the Past Where It Belongs

by | Dec 12, 2022 | Personal Development

Three Ways to Move Forward 

Do you have that one memory from your past that makes you cringe? Part of growing up is looking back at our old selves and seeing how much we’ve grown, which is awesome to see. Personal growth is a vital part of life, and if your past is a little rocky, you know you’ve made some big strides. Way to go! 

When your past starts controlling your present, you know things are out of whack. It’s easy to get caught in a spider web of past missteps and choices and be held back from your potential. But who wants that? Here are a few ways to move on. 

Forgive Yourself 

Forgiveness is one of the most important parts of the healing process … and one of the hardest. By holding grudges against others and ourselves, we are still living in a time since passed. Forgiveness takes time, space, and personal growth, but there will come a day when you will be able to let go of whatever is hurting you from your past.  

One way to help forgive yourself is to acknowledge the mistake and how it made you feel. This is helpful to do verbally in front of a mirror, but others find writing it down to be equally effective. Once you can voice how you were and are feeling, you have solid ground to build on. For more techniques, read this blog.

Find the Lesson 

Failure is only pointless if we don’t learn from it. But the moment you find the lesson, it ceases to be a mistake. Don’t let your pain be wasted. What did you learn from your past? 

There is often a surface lesson and a deeper lesson. If a child sticks a knife in an electrical outlet, the surface lesson is “don’t do that again.” But what about the deeper lesson? It’s something along the lines of “my parents want to keep me safe, and I should listen to them.” As you examine your own experiences, make sure you write down your findings to look back on later.

Learn to Express Yourself 

Expressing emotions can be really hard for a lot of us because it puts us in a vulnerable position, which is often uncomfortable. But finding a way for your emotions to be released into the world is incredibly therapeutic and aids in healing from your past. 

People often think the only way they can express themselves is through their words, but that is far from the truth. There are lots of ways you can express yourself. Here are just a few: 

  • Dancing 
  • Painting 
  • Drawing 
  • Serving others 
  • Exercising 
  • Meditating 
  • Writing 

If you don’t have a great way to express yourself and release your feelings in mind, that’s okay! Just start with one idea from this list. If it doesn’t resonate with you, try something else! Here is an article with some additional ideas.

Plan for the Future 

If you’re tied to the past, you may have a hard time planning for the future, but planning is exactly what you should do to move forward. When we are too focused on the past, we get caught in a mind trap that gets hard to escape. By setting plans for the future (no matter how far away that may be), you’re breaking free from that trap and making forward motion. 

Think about Newton’s first law of motion. It says that a body at rest will stay in rest, and a body in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an equal or greater force. You’re the body in this scenario. Are you in rest or in motion? If you’re stuck in the past, you’re probably at rest. Planning for the future is an effective way to move forward. 

An image taken from the inside of a car looking forward at a road with greenery to the left and a blue body of water to the right.

Hope for What’s to Come 

We know the past can hurt, and it can be difficult to get out of that web of struggle and hurt. But the good news is, there is hope. You’re not defined by who you used to be, and one bad day does not constitute a bad life. As you move forward in your life, you’ll become a stronger person, and you’ll be able to more easily find joy. 

Learning about your personal worth can help you move forward with your life. Read more about it here.