You may struggle with letting go of the past, like so many others. Maybe you lost yourself in the unexpressed emotions that are still boiling inside you and you don't let yourself notice how all of that ended a long time ago. It all had passed, like any good past should.
I realize how obvious and simple giving an answer to that question may seem, but sometimes, the obvious answer isn’t the correct one. Working with people every day, being invited into their lives even for those few hours, made me notice a fascinating phenomenon. How a 50-year-old woman, who talks about the men in her life, suddenly looks like a 7-year-old girl, talks like one and, most importantly, feels like one. And now imagine how impossible it is for the 7-year-old to solve the problems of her much older self. She doesn’t have what it takes to do that.
Now you may think that this never happens to you, that you are always in control of your life. We all like to believe that. But then again, reality often contradicts. If we believe that we project in the outer world who we are in that moment, that we attract experiences that perfectly match parts within ourselves, then why do we so often hear people ask themselves “Why I am going through this right now?”, “Why do I always end up in situations like these?” or, my favorite, “What did I do to deserve that?”.
All these questions assume that somebody else is doing things to us. That we are small and helpless and that our life is the one that’s living us and not the other way around. But what if we were incredibly powerful? What if we were the ones orchestrating everything that comes our way? I know, that’s a scary thought. It leaves no room for excuses, for putting on the coat of the victim or for staying small. And, sometimes, that is one of the toughest decisions to make, because then there are no more reasons to postpone change. And let’s face it, change is terrifying. There is a saying in my country of origin that describes just that “Better the evil you know than the one you don’t”.
Personally, I always had a problem with that saying because what I kept wondering was why do people assume that what’s coming is bad too? I was too young and maybe too inexperienced to understand the power of an unresolved, imbalanced past. I hadn’t brought my own demons to the surface, so I supposed I had none. I just blamed the world, blamed God, blamed the people in my life in order to save my soul from having any stain. I was innocent as victims always are and hopelessly unhappy. I was also so identified with my own past that I was seeing it everywhere. To me life became a series of experiences that I perceived as traps, like somebody was out to get me, to make me go through the same difficult moments over and over again. I often felt I had no power through it all, like there was nothing I could do to change things. And as long as I thought that, I resisted changing, taking charge of my own life.
I see variations of this mechanism in all the people who come to see me. I think there is something about the way human beings are or chose to be that makes us become sedimented in a way of looking at things to the point where we can’t even acknowledge the existence of other possibilities. And when we choose to remain still in that way, our life follows our lead, like a good and loyal companion. Blockages appear, destructive thoughts and emotions of fear, anger and helplessness. They all become our reality, just because at a certain moment in time we made the unconscious decision to become our past, like nothing else could ever be possible for us.
But you are NOT your past, nor your present, nor your future. You are who you are and its never helpful to linger in memories, in things that happened and cannot be changed. You may struggle with letting go of the past, like so many others. Maybe you lost yourself in the unexpressed emotions that are still boiling inside you and you don't let yourself notice how all of that ended a long time ago. It all had passed, like any good past should. But if you don’t give yourself permission to acknowledge that, if you still didn’t have enough of all that drama, you may end up sacrificing your present for a bad memory and get stuck in one of the most difficult moments of your life. And nothing will come out of it. Just more pain, more suffering.
Letting go of the past is easy if you go about it the right way. You acknowledge everything that happened, even your own judgement of it and you simply choose to do things differently. You stop thinking about it every time life brings you a new experience. And you don't wait for tomorrow. The time is now. And this way, the beautiful todays that you create will soon be part of your past. And if you keep doing this for long enough, then your past will very soon become beautiful. Even to you.
Photo by xandtor on Unsplash