We all harbour a tendency to be sentimental about our past. A certain touch of regret, nostalgia, hurt, or romanticism lingers on, depending upon what we are thinking about, lending an ethereal sublime touch to our life. But this lingering feeling is based on an illusion because the past does not exist anymore, only its consequences.
That does not mean you should not value the past. Before you bid goodbye, take a moment to acknowledge it, understand it, and savour each strand before you surrender it to the sea of yesteryear.
Every interlude building on our story, layering it with different hues and colours to create a kaleidoscope of life that we take with us, wherever we may go next.
Yet for many, the past is a painful place. It is not easy to forget or forgive, or easy to let go, and its shadow lingers on in their present subduing every new experience and interaction. So how do we deal with a painful past?
1. Realise that the past is no more: Come to think of it, everything you do, you feel or think about is in the present moment. Even if you are thinking about the past, you are doing it in the present. This realisation alone brings us face to face with who we are in the present, what choices we have and what we can do now.
2. Don’t trade in your authenticity with your past: Don’t let your past cloud who you are. We inherit many qualities and traits from our past. Whether it’s genetic traits from our parents, their perspective on life, happiness, sorrow, complaints, expectations, weaknesses or strengths. We have to discover who we are as individuals first, and only carry what agrees with our experience and reasoning.
3. You can pick and choose your memories: A memory is like a thought. A thought has no power to affect us unless we give attention to it. Yes, certain memories are life changing or very painful, and hence difficult to let go. But if you focus on watching them instead of going along with them, your very watching can create that shift and release you from their hold.
4. Assume full responsibility for your life: You are in charge of your life; while you cannot change circumstances, you have the power to choose your response to them. Taking responsibility also implies that you finally accept how your own attitude is feeding your sadness. Reclaim your life and your right to create your happiness.
5. Let go of the drama: Many of us have a set of special victimhood stories. Whether it’s not being loved enough by a parent, or being treated unfairly by a lover, or being taken for granted at work, we keep these stories alive in our hearts and wear them like battle scars. It’s true that many times life seems unfair. People are hurtful, cruel and unfair to others. But you do not have to spend the precious time you have taking revenge or teaching them a lesson. Instead of building on the drama and repeating the cycle, be the change maker, the catalyst that will snip the process midway and create joy instead.
Let the past be gone. Now is the most magical moment. What you do now can make your past a good dream and tomorrow full of hope and confidence. At the end of the day you remain the captain of your ship, the architect of your life and the master of your destiny irrespective of your past!