Do you sometimes find yourself stuck in the past? Do you find that you regularly have regrets about some of the decisions you’ve made? Don’t be too hard on yourself, we’ve all been there.
We all have a past, and that past could be the reason many of us can’t seem to breakthrough in life. We all go through those stages in our lives where we spent so much time dwelling on our past that we fail to see the new opportunities that are presenting themselves daily.
There may have been many opportunities lost or mistakes made, but those will never return, so you need to let go and go after those opportunities that are constantly presenting themselves to you now. The future is the place you can repair all the damages you have done to your life.
Here are the eight steps on how to leave the past behind and look forward to the future with great expectation:
1. Call them all by name
Give all your mistakes, shame, disappointments and failures a name. Write them down where you can see them. Call them all out by name, and then rip up the paper or burn it afterward. See this as you releasing yourself from those bondages. Refuse to remain imprisoned by your past.
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
2. Respect your past mistakes
Your mistakes were part of your experience at the time. Look back at them and respect yourself for making those mistakes when you did because you now have the time to make things right. You should not be happy you messed up but see it as part of the learning process. Because of those mistakes, you are now a different person. Those mistakes that you look back at with such disdain are the very reason you are who you are today. Celebrate the fact that you have learned your lesson well.
3. Do not devalue your achievements
When you spend your time regretting the past, you are ignoring and diminishing all that you have achieved because the past mistakes are the ones that get all the credit. Focus on your achievements and not on the mistakes and in turn you will realize that your mistakes were not that serious. You focusing on them makes them bigger than they truly are.
4. Do not let your mistakes be your story
If you are constantly being reminded of the mistakes you made, you will make the things you did, your life story. You never want some of the best times of your life to be overshadowed by your mistakes, which were only a very small portion of your life. If you were asked to write the story of your life would your past mistakes be the majority of the story? I guess not, so leave the past in the past and move on.
5. Do not ruin your present life with the past
Do not erase your present life by staying in the past. You cannot spend your time worrying about the things you should have done differently. While dwelling on your past, you are dishonoring your present life. You won’t be able to be happy where you are now. Do not rob yourself of your happiness.
6. Do not miss the lessons in your past mistakes
For many of us our mistakes are how we define ourselves. You must remember your mistakes aren’t who you are. Do not miss the lessons to be learned from those things that are now not important in your life. Unfortunately, life gives us the test first and then teaches us the lessons afterward. Your mistakes are only part of the learning process. The messages in your past are to be used to build yourself a future that is rich, happy and successful.
“A man’s mistakes are his portals of discovery.” – James Joyce
7. Forgive so you can move forward
Too many times we hold ourselves hostage by not forgiving others and ourselves for past indiscretions. To move forward, you have to let go of the hurt and pain that has been holding you back. Forgiveness allows you to move ahead freely. Forgiveness does more for you than for anyone else. Let go so you can live freely.
8. Use your past mistakes to help others
We all have things in our past that make us feel ashamed. You are no different but do not let them keep you from forging a new future. Use your past experiences to help others who find themselves in similar situations. Use whatever it is you are ashamed of as an example to others. Let them know it’s never too late to become the person they want to become.
We all have things in our lives that we are not proud of and would love to erase from our memories but remember those are the things that make us who we are today. Do not be embarrassed by your past because those are the parts of your life that has made you stronger, wiser and more able to deal with life.
Everyday’s a new day to start all over and to learn something new. What are your plans for the future? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!