Living in the past won’t get you anywhere. Learning from your past can help you take the next step of your journey. It’s okay to take a glance back at where you’ve been. It’s okay to study your mistakes so you won’t repeat them. But don’t get caught up dwelling on the past. Glance back. Don’t strain your neck.
An old friend stopped by to see me. She was upset with her circumstances in life. She kept talking about things that happened years ago and how they ruined her life. She treated her past as the present. She still perceives herself the same person she used to be. And so she will remain.
Glance Back, Don’t Dwell
If you’re like me, you’ve done some stupid stuff in your life. Maybe you’ve struggled with an addiction. Maybe you let yourself get involved in toxic relationships. Maybe your actions hurt someone else. Guess what? What’s done is done. You can’t change it. But there are a few things you can do that will keep you in the present and moving forward.
- Make amends: If something you’ve done in your past has hurt yourself or another, you need to make amends. In other words, if you haven’t said, “I’m sorry,” you should. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out apology. It does need to be sincere. Let yourself or the other know that your actions were hurtful. Don’t make excuses. Admit to your wrongdoings and move on.
- Learn the lesson: Once you’ve made amends, take a short period of time to understand the lesson. Why did you have that drink? Why did you lose control of your emotions? How can you handle the situation if it arises again. Don’t overanalyze. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t use negative self-talk. Just take a quick glance back, then get on with your journey.
- Let it go: Once you’ve made amends and quickly accessed your behavior to understand the lesson, let it go. If you continually dwell on your past, you won’t have much of a future. Let. It. Go.
Let’s take a quick glance back at a few other Hip Diggs’ posts on this topic that might be helpful:
- A Minimalist Guide To Dealing With Negative Emotions
- The Problem Of Dwelling On The Past
- Experience Happiness By Letting Go
- Forgiveness: The Ultimate Act Of Letting Go
- Why Worry Is A Waste Of Time
- Find Lasting Peace In Every Season
- How To Break The Cycle Of Going Nowhere
- A Simple 3-Step Strategy To Stay On An Even Keel
- 5 Healthy Steps To Purge Emotional Clutter
Change Your Language, Change Your Life
I urged my friend to stop using language that kept her stuck in the past. Will she? Based on history, probably not. You see, this friend is my ex-wife. Part of the reason we could not make our marriage work was because she is constantly dwelling on her problems, rather than working on solutions. Rather than making amends, learning the lesson, and letting go, she just strains her neck looking back. I sincerely wish she could just glance back and move on.
If you get stuck in the past, or know someone who does, I wrote a book about living in the present moment. It’s free when you sign up for the free Hip Diggs’ newsletter. Just click on the link below: