Don’t Let the Past Get in the Way of Your Future
Most of us have a hard time letting go of bad memories or times when we have been wronged or abused. Sometimes, holding on for a short while can aid us in becoming stronger and making better decisions in the future; but when we’re unable to learn, or refuse to learn, or when we have learned and still hold on, we become stuck. And when be become stuck, our “bad” memories turn into a toxic dump that’s eating us up from the inside out. Literally!
Holding on to things that no longer serve you will make you physically and mentally ill. There is no worse killer of a sound body and mind than a sick attachment to the past and the people in it. The older we get, the sicker we become, until we are an island of toxic waste; the persons we once complained about, the sick behaviors we ranted and raved about, may now have become our own, and we’re stuck in our own version of reality; unable to see it. Hence, we continue living a miserable life, filled with regret, driving those around us insane, until the day we die. And when we lay on our death bed, we can’t look bad and say “what a ride,” instead we have nothing inside of us but pain, sorrow, anger and misery.
This isn’t what we’re meant to be or meant to do! This is not our destiny, and we can choose differently. No matter how often we have been wronged, and what abuse we may have endured; no matter what nutjobs made our lives hell, we can always choose to come out of it, always! It’s never “too late” to change if we choose. It’s too late when we started believing our own hype and are now caught up in what we call “real.”
How does one release one’s crappy past? Well, that depends on one’s baggage. The bigger the skeletons in the closet, the bigger the chance that you won’t be able to do it alone and without help. This isn’t a bad thing, and it sure as hell doesn’t make you weak! Weak is stubbornly looking the other way, giving up and whining that you “can’t.” Weak is not taking responsibility for your quality of life and for refusing to see how your chosen misery touches the lives of those around you; and how you make them miserable, too!
There are plenty of therapists and therapy styles; there’s yoga, meditation and there are self-help books. In other words, there is more material on getting well than one could possibly ever consume in a lifetime. If your life sucks and the quality of your life is miserable, then do something about it. Got crappy friends? Don’t have the relationships, friends, career or money you want? Do something about it! Start by taking an honest look at yourself, ask a few “trusted” advisors, preferably people who actually live the life you want, and then get help.
One awesome tool my therapist taught me is purging! Write it down. Write letters, emails, notes, and journals; whatever you want. You don’t even have to send them, although you can if necessary (just be prepared for any consequences your confrontation may have!). Very important about this exercise, do it to get it off your chest, not to attach an outcome or expect change! If you expect an outcome, you’ll set yourself up for failure all over again.
People do not change for you or for me. People won’t magically learn to hear you, won’t suddenly see things your way, be responsible, accountable or learn to care. No, my friend, that part you cannot expect. Most people who harm others will continue to do so; nothing you say or do will change that. But if you simply need to speak your truth, do it! Go for it, set yourself free and walk away. No back and forth arguing, no trying to “change their mind,” no hanging on to expecting an apology or a reconciliation of any sort. Just release the crap and then let it go for good!
I have learned in therapy to do this. Once I started purging my skeletons, my life became easier. What was even more amazing to me is that my therapist taught me how to stop blaming myself and feeling guilty when I confronted someone who had abused or wronged me. The outcome was and still is liberating. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wander around wielding my sword of justice (although that is what I do well ;-D ); I do, however speak up in situations that I literally swallowed before. And what I found is that I simply feel a great sense of pleasure from no longer allowing others to use me, badmouth, or simply harm me. I don’t feel guilty (after all, I give you ample warning before I “strike”) and I don’t get caught up too much in the BS anymore.
Sure, this is a process; and a long one for me so far. Sure, there are times when I slip, because none of this comes as naturally to me as it should, but with practice I’m getting better, and with that I am getting stronger and healthier. I no longer “hold it in” and I don’t pretend to be fine. There is a fine line between being able to forgive and being a doormat. I always opted for “taking the high road,” which meant that at a specific point, I’d drop the conversation and simply never speak to the person again. However, I would hold it inside and I would obsess about it, because the other one “got away with it,” while I still held the pain inside. The army of jerks that was stuck in my “closet” was quite large and the pain I felt reliving their BS was debilitating. If you think “they” are going through the same hell, you are probably mistaken. Most jerks not only justify their actions and words, but continue them; and you, my friend, won’t change that.
Once you start releasing your pain, your whole life will turn around. The lighter your load gets, the lighter your life becomes. You’ll start having more light than dark days, you’ll laugh more, cry less, worry less, trust more (in the right places) and find yourself attracting all the things you want.
Having a light heart is the key to happiness and success. Holding on to your BS is only going to make you miserable, while the rest of the world stops listening to you, avoiding you, until one day, you’ll find yourself truly and utterly alone; regarded as the bitter, whiny, crybaby you have become. And who wants that fate? Not I, and you shouldn’t either!