Leaving the Past Behind
Easier said than done, we all have the chance to leave the past where it belongs, in the past. We get it; it can be challenging to leave the familiar. However, change and growth rarely happens in comfortable situations. Challenge yourself to face the unfamiliar. Leaving the past behind doesn’t take away all the good memories and experiences you’ve had, and you will always have those moments to reflect happily on. It’s time to leave the hurt, pain, and struggles behind as they no longer serve your current self.
Leaving the past behind is a conscious choice. This means waking up every day and choosing to live in the present moment. It means accepting that what’s done is done, and all we can do is hope and work for a better future. To say goodbye to your past, try out some of these exercises:
Write a letter to your past selves
(thank them for getting you to where you are now and forgive them for mistakes they’ve made)
Journal about struggles you’ve faced, hard times you’ve overcome, and mistakes you’ve made. Then, try to look at those experiences through a grateful lens.
Forgive those who have done you wrong
(forgiving someone doesn’t mean you accept their behavior, and letting go of grudges is freeing)
Apologize to those you need to apologize to (including yourself)
Visualize your Best Possible Self
Leaving the past behind is freeing. It allows you to start over and make choices that better align with your best self. Once you’ve left the past behind, spend time getting to know your best possible self. What are they like? What do they like to do? What brings them happiness? We too easily get caught up in routines, habits, and the expectations of others. Sometimes, we forget to evaluate our choices to ensure they bring us happiness. There is no rush here. Take as much time as you need to get to know the best version of yourself. They deserve it.
Explore your interests, learn new things, and dream big. If you want to make a career change or move to a different country, do it. Whatever you feel pulled to, allow yourself permission to pursue that avenue. You’ll find that living a life free of burdens from the past gives us the chance to create a better future.
If you’re having a hard time getting to know your best self, try out these journaling prompts:
What are my values?
What brings me genuine joy?
What kind of person do I want to be?
What am I naturally drawn to?
What do I want to contribute to the world?
What are my likes and dislikes?
Live as your Best Self
Once you’ve identified your best self, start living like them. If your best self is well-dressed, start dressing nicely daily. If your best self is athletic, begin spending time moving your body. The more you act in alignment with your best self, the stronger your connection to them will grow. Identify and set goals that get you more in tune with the life you’ve visualized for your best self. Show up for them daily; in return, they’ll show up for you.
Life is too short to waste our time dwelling on the past when the present is already happening. The future is right around the corner, and wouldn’t it be nice to live a life that makes us happier and fulfilled?