What it was, was: How do we leave the past in the past?
We often hear that the past is something we have to leave behind because we cannot change it. But it’s one thing to listen to it and be aware of it, and it’s quite another thing to really do it.
To be able to do this, we must make a conscious choice and tell ourselves that we must rid ourselves of situations and thoughts of the past.
Everything that has happened to us, however unbearably painful, is a lesson after which better days will come, and those better days will come faster if we decide to say enough is enough.
We can do this with these steps.
1. CONSCIOUSLY DECIDE TO LEAVE THE PAST
The first and most difficult step is to make the decision that we must rid ourselves of the past. Whether it is unhappy love, toxic relationships, family situations that have touched us or anything else, we consciously have to decide to get rid of it. This means that we have to accept what has happened to us and weigh whether we want to continue to struggle or move on.
2. TAKE TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE
Ask yourself why you stick with the past. Whom or what are you holding on to? Is it better to live in the memories of the past, fantasize about what could have been, or face the real situation? Is it more comforting to hold on to the past and to suffer for what we have lost or to find something to live again? Do you just stick with the past as an excuse to stay in some kind of limbo?
Accepting the reality is extremely painful, and we often feel that physical pain, not only emotional, but in the long run, will pay off to be honest with ourselves. All the pain, anger, sadness and disappointment will disappear when you clear the way to accepting the situation realistically.
3. ACCEPT THE PAST WHAT IT WAS
While we would love to take the time back and wish we had never met a certain person or found ourselves in a certain situation, this is not possible. When we lose someone, we feel like someone has died, even though they are still alive.
Often the termination is compared to this, but the same concept can be applied to other situations.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the model of the five stages of mourning long ago. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We must go through all of them on the path of leaving the past behind.
4. MAKE A PLAN FOR THE NEAR FUTURE
Finding something to look forward to will make it easier to move on. Decide what is most important to you, now and here, and then move on. Yes, we do not know what our future will look like, but we can take small steps to get closer to what we want. Try something new that will push you out of the comfort zone, such as participating in races, enrolling in a foreign language course, finding a new hobby.
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are all part of the model of grief we must go through in order to leave the past.
5. AWARE YOUR STRENGTHS
When we cannot free ourselves from the past, there are moments where we completely fall apart. In the midst of doing routine chores, our heart clenches and we cry out of pure peace with all our might. And that’s normal. But we should also be aware that we are not our current situation.
Ask yourself what your strengths are, what makes you special and irreplaceable, what makes you stand out in society. How can you use your strengths at this point?
Realize what makes you happier and more powerful.
Surround yourself with people who care about your well-being, those who understand you and who will lift you up again. If that means crying for days at coffee or having to seek professional help, so be it. It’s all in your best interest.
6. FORGIVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Perhaps the hardest step in embracing the past is forgiving others. How do we forgive someone who has played our trust, someone we believed to be “our” person, someone who was our entire world?
It should be remembered that the other party who caused the situation may not have wanted to intentionally hurt us and that everything that happened was a set of unfortunate circumstances. So we should forgive that person and ourselves for the mistakes we may have made.
7. LET IT BE A GOOD LESSON
They say time heals all wounds. So it will be with this. Over time, an extremely difficult situation from the past will become another lesson we learned along the way. We learn something new from every relationship, from every experience, however difficult and uncomfortable. The most important thing is to use these lessons in the future and to make us a stronger and more stable person.