I recently came face to face with my past. I was at a restaurant with my family when an ex-boyfriend sat down at a table directly in front of me. Seeing him after 22 years brought back memories of a not so good time in my life. The man before me is someone who I allowed to steal my power when I was 21 years old. He physically and mentally abused me and long after the relationship ended, I hung on to the hurts from that time. For many years I let my emotions hold me prisoner. I could not move forward – to let happiness in and to know peace until I learned to forgive and let go of the past.
I’ll admit it, as soon as I saw him, panic set in and I just wanted to jump up and leave. Instead, I took a deep breathe and quickly self-evaluated how I was feeling at that very moment. Saying to myself “That was a million years ago and I have long since let it go and forgave him for what he did.”
Even though I could feel his eyes on me, I chose to tune him and those negative memories out and focus on what was important – being in the moment with my family. I had nothing to prove to him. I stayed true to whom I am and when I left the restaurant, I left behind that encounter and the memories from it, which is now in the past.
Past doesn’t equal the future
There’s no way to possibly move forward if you’re continually driving in reverse. Too many of us live in the past – dredging up things that really no longer matter. Living each day trying to rectify mistakes or decisions we regret.
The past has no energy and serves no purpose in our lives at this very moment. Remaining stuck in the anger of “what should have been”, “what was supposed to be” and “how that person did me wrong” dooms us to a bleak future filled with sadness and despair.
To move forward you must take control of your life and not let the past control you. The hardest part in moving forward is to separate yourself from whoever or whatever hurt you and realize that the past does not define who you are today.
It’s important to acknowledge the past because it has played an important role in shaping who we have become. Our past is used to draw lessons from – it is not to be lived in. We are to take the lessons from the experiences and use them to build a happier and peaceful future.
It’s within our power to choose how to react to what has happened in the past. It’s about controlling and constantly evaluating our thoughts and how we respond to them. Gaining insight into what happened and choosing not to react to the past hurt but to remain in the present moment.
Make the best of your life and live it day by day – for your future will also one day become your past.
More from living