Do you ever find yourself stuck because of old thoughts, feelings and behaviours from the past? The past itself isn’t necessarily the problem; it’s our relationship to the past that can potentially hold us back in numerous ways.
Whether it is a difficult childhood, dysfunctional relationship or a past idea of yourself, at times the best solution is to let go and move beyond your past. As long as you are feeling weighed down by the baggage of what was, you may find it tricky to have the positive energy to create new opportunities in your present.
So how can you let go of the past and move forwards positively into the next phase of your life?
Give yourself permission to productively grieve
Moving forwards inevitably means letting go of something: an old identity, job, image of yourself or perhaps even an old dream or expectation that no longer serves you. Quite often when we are letting go of something from our past we may feel the need to grieve it. These feelings of sadness can be disconcerting and confusing. It’s tempting to stuff these strange feelings down or to ignore them.
In my experience, the best thing you can do is to recognise the feeling of sadness as a natural process of letting go. Even if the change is a positive one, you may feel sad – for example, that the younger you missed out on having the insight or good health or loving relationships that you have now. Or you may be leaving behind people or situations that you enjoyed, even if it’s for something better. That’s ok. This sadness isn’t wrong or bad.
Martha Beck, an American coach once said, “Productive grief passes through you like waves that steadily erode any sadness until what once was a boulder becomes like sand and then nothing at all. Not because you don’t care or the past has been changed, but because you can handle this new reality with ease.” Once you grieve the past, you will move forwards with an open heart into your future.
Be ready to forgive
Forgiveness has the power to rocket you beyond your past into a whole new world of love and opportunity. This is because holding on to anger from the past has a tendency to drag you down and deplete your precious energy. Now, importantly, forgiveness does not mean you condone what’s happened. What it does mean though, is that you are liberating yourself from that past situation so you can move on.
Do you remember that saying that staying angry at someone, thinking you’re punishing them, is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die? I think there is a lot of truth to this. See forgiving that other person as a truly loving act for yourself and you will finally release that old burden from the past and be filled with energy with which to create your brilliant future.
Learn your lessons
Our past can be a great teacher and we learn lessons from both the light and the dark experiences of our past. A truly wonderful way of moving beyond your past into your great future is to use the past as a teacher and deeply learn your lessons. What great lessons have you learned from the good and the more challenging times in your past? How can you use these learnings to help you move forwards now? This will mean you no longer repeat the same ‘stuck’ patterns, freeing you up to do your present and your future in a way that truly serves you.
Even though moving beyond the past can be challenging, it’s an essential process to go through if you want to create a life you love. My top tips are to ‘productively grieve’ what you are letting go of, allow yourself to forgive, and deeply learn those valuable lessons from your past. Remember every day and every moment gives you the opportunity to create yourself anew, to release the burden of the past and open yourself up to the power of now and a wonderful future.