Imagine a world where all the pains of the past no longer lay burden on our souls. A world where we still retain the wisdom from the countless lessons learned along life’s journey of trials and tribulations yet are not crippled by the distorted perception of their memory. Would we not feel lighter and freer to be our truest selves without the weight of negative past experiences dictating how we feel about who we are?
We often hear people say, “Well, I wouldn’t be who I am today without my past.” Yes, I would agree that we are products of the experiences that lay behind us; however, I would also argue that the past is not what defines who we are in this present moment. For some reason, we tend to waste way too much time and energy dwelling on past hurts and regrets. We beat ourselves up by rehashing painful memories long since past, allowing them to hinder our growth and ability to move forward in a positive direction.
Personally, my biggest challenge is to “love like I’ve never been hurt”. Letting go of past hurts is challenging to say the least; however, I know if I hang on to those heart-wrenching memories I will inevitably be carrying them with me into my next relationship, perhaps even dooming myself to repeat old patterns. So it is in my best interest to let go of any negative memories that no longer serve me in my growth. I must learn the lessons from them and move on.
Okay, so anyone who has experienced a broken heart, or many as the case may be, knows that this is easier said than done. It takes time to change old thought patterns and create new healthier ways of dealing with negative emotions. Letting go has never been something that has come easily to me over the years.
However, in recent years I’m happy to say that I have managed to let go of most of the anger and resentments I had been carrying for so long. It was almost like I woke up one morning and said, “Does any of it really even matter anymore?! It was so long ago…this person is no longer in my life, so why am I allowing myself to still feel all of the pain associated with them or the relationship?” etc.
I realized that I blamed everyone who had ever hurt me in some way for making me feel this way, when indeed “I” was the one making myself feel this way! My inability to let go of negative memories was keeping me stuck in a painful loop of blame, regret and complete unhappiness. It took a while after that realization for me to be able to fully apply it and let go, but I eventually did, for the most part.
With each new heartache I have to go through the process all over again. However, the mere awareness that I am responsible for the thoughts and memories I choose to hang on to at any given moment helps immensely. It can still be challenging when my heart is aching and anger is present, yet it’s comforting to know I have the power to change it when I am ready. Now when my thoughts go to that negative place, I consciously remind myself that the past does not define who I am today. I am not my past.
And collectively, WE are not our past! We can actually have that world without past burdens laying heavy on our souls … if we so choose.
As much as we are not our past, the same goes for our future. Too many of us are so unhappy with the way our lives are currently unfolding that when we’re not thinking about our past, we spend the rest of the time looking forward to things being different than they actually are. We might commonly use benign phrases like “I can’t wait for the weekend; it’s going to be so awesome!” or “I can’t wait until summer, it’s going to be the best summer ever!”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to look forward to things or have plans for our future. Hell, the destination is the carrot dangling in front of us that inspires and motivates us to embark on the journey in the first place. It’s just that we spend so much time saying “It’s “going to be awesome” rather than saying “It IS awesome!”
How many of us have often said the words, “I’ll be happy when…”? Wouldn’t it be fabulous to simply say, “I AM happy” and truly mean it.
Why not make each moment the best moment ever? Happiness can only happen right NOW … because right NOW is all we truly have and will ever have. It is right now that defines us. Not our past, not our future… RIGHT NOW! And it is our choices in our present moment that will determine the ‘outcome’ of our future.
So I ask you this: What are your thoughts about yourself and your life at this very moment? Are they negative or positive? Are you living in the past riddled with anger, resentment and regret and/or are you constantly waiting for someone or something at a future date to make you happy? Or are you living your life knowing that “your point of power is always in the present moment”? as Louise Hay says.
I don’t know about you, but in this moment I’m taking responsibility for my enjoyment of life and I’m choosing to be happy. And every time I feel myself slipping back into old patterns, I renew that commitment to myself. And trust me, there are times when I find myself having to ‘renew’ a lot. But you know what, that’s okay.
It takes time to create new healthy ways of being. My job is to be gentle and patient with my process and to remind myself that I am not my past — I am not my future — I am NOW! And right now, I am fabulous!!
Happy soul searching!
“Gerbera daisy” The Gifted Photographer @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.