Do you have the ability to put past events behind you and move one? Are you able to get past previous hurts, mistakes, failures, tragedies, losses, wrongs, injustices and be optimist, productive and successful despite your past?
How do you travel? Do you travel light? Or do you travel with a lot of baggage from the past? Carrying the baggage of the past weighs you down. Your quest may require that you move in a certain direction that you move at a certain pace that you move with a sense of urgency. It is said that big opportunities come once in a life time. It is also said that you never get a second change at the same opportunity. Now, if you are weighed down by the baggage of your past, you will not be ready to seize the moment when it comes and the opportunity might pass you by.
What do you focus on? Do you focus on what has happened to you in the past, be it good or bad? Do you focus on the abuse? Do you focus on that wrongs that have been done to you? Do you lament the lost or missed opportunities? Or do you stay in the “now” enjoying today for the present it is? Do you look toward the future knowing and feeling that one day it will be your day?
Staying focused on the past prevents you from living in the present so that you can capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead of you. If you are constantly looking in the rear view mirror of your life, you might miss your turn down “opportunity lane”; you might miss the roadblock or the obstacle ahead. You might miss the guide that could help you navigate your path efficiently and effectively.
Is your past holding you hostage? Are you a prisoner unable to do what you need to do, want you want to do and what you should do? Or are you free to live your life to its fullest? Are our free to go where you want to go, have what you want to have, be who you want to be, do what you want to do?
You might be wondering if you should ignore the past, or maybe simply disregard it. The answer is this question is a resounding “no” as there are valuable lessons to be learned. The goal in dealing with the past is to process it so that you can move on with your life with no bitterness, regret, rationalizations, isolation or comparison.
You should look back on your past reflectively. Meaning you should look back on the past successes and failures, on the past lost and gains, on the past tragedies and triumphs, but with the objective of learning from them, not keeping them company. You should look at your past and understand what happened, why it happened and how to avoid it happening again. You must always learn from the past, but you should also say goodbye to it once you have gained all the wisdom from the experience, never revisiting them to stay for any length of time, but only to momentarily reflect.
In his book Failing Forward, John Maxwell outlines a process for “Saying Good-Bye to Yesterday”. These steps include:
- Acknowledge the pain;
- Grieve the loss;
- Forgive the person;
- Forgive yourself;
- Determine to release the event and move on.
By following these steps, you are free to travel light and remain forever in the present with your sights set and locked on achieving your goal. If you need assistance with the process, you should speak with your mentor, your spouse, your best friend, your pastor or whomever you trust to assist you with your quest to be a better, freer you.