Let go of what once was

Do you ever find yourself dwelling on the past a lot? Is it filled with all this pain and experiences that haunt your well-being in the present? Do you fear that it’s affecting your life in ways that make you less productive or feel like you are at a stand still with where you need to be in your life?

I try not to feel this way very often… though lately, I notice my mind has been dwelling on the past. Constantly. And I think most of my past failures involve people who I felt have wronged me or I, myself, have wronged them. Both thoughts have happened simultaneously for the same people too. I always go back and forth about how either I did something terrible to get “so-and-so” to dislike me, or maybe they were the one’s not treating me right, just because I was acting weird or strange at a given time. I see that little self-critic inside my head always creeps right back just to remind me: All of this happened during your conversations with people. You’re awkward, anxious, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I find that this feeling becomes more reoccurring for me the older I get.

I’ve had many conversations in the past that worries me constantly, and it tends to affect the person I portray to people. My heart has jumped when conversation approaches me. My adrenaline rushes when I have to present my work or opinions to a crowd of people. It’s never my intention to feel these things during social interaction, but it’s a constant battle putting a stop to it.

Why do people dwell in the past?

Our emotions tend to be more powerful than our reason for feeling them, and it’s easier for us to have negative experiences impact the way we feel for a long period of time. In fact, the poor experiences we have can affect our way of thinking for years because of the power of our emotions.

So what can we do to tame these feelings we posses to make them easier to deal with?

Being aware of them is helpful, but it’s also important to consider the following:

Forgive those who you felt have wronged you and forgive yourself for wronging them. Maybe you have had a traumatizing series of events with someone or maybe things just didn’t go so well with a friend of yours. Letting it go is much easier than letting the anger, sadness, and frustration brew inside of you. I would guarantee you the person you are thinking about probably wants to push that negative feeling aside just as much as you do. Or maybe they’ve already moved on. No one likes feeling angry or frustrated, no matter how often the feeling arises. Accept that sometimes you can’t connect with reasoning between you and another person. If you are far from making things better for you and them, find it in your heart to forgive. Depart ways if you have to. Just stop carrying the grief, and make peace with yourself.

Understand you are not perfect. Nobodies perfect. That’s the two word quote everyone knows, right? Then start living that way, because we all are far from reaching perfection. Do the best you can, but know that it can never be obtained and accept your strengths and weaknesses alike.

Write down your goals and build your skills. What can you start doing now that will help you grow as a person? How long will it take to achieve those goals? Replace you thoughts with these tasks in mind in place of the past experiences you’ve had. I find that focusing more on what’s going on at this very moment makes me feel more fulfilled in life than thinking too hard about the things that had already happened, or the experiences I’ve missed out on.

Here are a few blogs I’ve read that inspired me to write about this:

10 tips of letting go of the past

How to let go and forgive

Right vs. Happy

What do you do to stop yourself from dwelling in the past? What are your goals for improvement?