Are You Held Back By The Past?

Why is it so hard to let go of the past? Many people seem to hold on to memories with a tight grip, as if these moments more meaningful than the present moment. As I say in my book, Just Give Your Head a Shake: “When we live in the past or the future, we cease existing in the present and cease to live in real time. We then miss out on what is happening now.” Living in the present moment is really the only way to experience the fullness of life and connect to a higher power.

The truth is that it is that past events are rarely remembered exactly as they happened. When a person thinks about a memory, it is always coated with their present circumstances. Because of this, it’s important to let go of the past and recognize that it had its purpose and is done now. The past is there as a learning tool and to help propel you forward, not keep you in limbo.

However, a lot of people struggle with this concept and seem to actually want to relive the past. There are a few reasons why it might be hard to let go of the past:

  • A need to be right.  Sometimes wanting to relive a past event is more about a need to prove something to yourself. Instead of reliving memories, choose to prove you’ve got what it takes in the here and now.
  • Victimhood. If you felt you were a victim in your past, you might want to relive the event with a different outcome. While it can be helpful to imagine a better outcome, after a while it’s best to let go and move forward.
  • The good old days. Perhaps some of your memories have a silver lining, but instead of going back to yesterday, try to evoke those same feelings in your life today.
  • Seeking an apology. Everyone has been hurt in one way or another, but practicing forgiveness, rather than replaying events in your mind, is more empowering.
  • Making different choices. Of course with hindsight it would be great to do some things differently, but the beauty of life is that you only get one try and you have to make it count.

Living in the here and now is the most satisfying place to be, so if you are living in the past, choose to let go and focus your efforts on today. Nothing bad is going to happen if you let go of what used to be and consign those people and events to their proper place as memories.

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