How To Come To Terms With Your Past – It Isn’t A Life Sentence

Every person on this earth has a past that we will never fully know. We might have physically been there, but there is no way to know what another person is thinking. There’s no way to know if they handled that same situation the same way that you did, or how they felt during the actions. There’s no way of knowing what another person is thinking, even if they tell you. The mind is a powerful thing, and there are millions of thoughts running through it every day. Every second there’s another thought.

I’ve met several people that fight with their past every day. It revolves around their every action, they don’t want to be in the same situation again – they don’t want to go through something again. They don’t want to hurt anyone or get hurt again. I’ve seen people turn down huge opportunities out of fear – because in the past they’ve failed. I, myself, have turned down opportunities, or ran away from them because of things in the past that I’ve been told, or I’ve not succeeded at.

It’s time to come to terms with the hard truth – the past is in the past. Nothing we can do now, nothing we can say now, nothing we can even dream of can take us into the past to change how things turned out. Things turned out the way that they did, and that’s that. So many let their past designate their current destination – they let it in their head, they become depressed, anxious, fearful because of it. Everyone is made of potential, yet so many of us let the past hold us back.

The past is over. Things are said and done, and there’s no way of changing it. That can be repeated until one is blue in the face – there is no way of changing the past.

So what can we do? With all these thoughts, these memories, these fears and anxieties. They’re there. They’re right now, and they need to be laid to rest. Recently, this quote has been following me, “The past is a lesson, not a life sentence.” It resonates with me. When you stop and think, you have the memories. I’m not saying to erase the memories, to erase the life that you had, not by any means. Pause, calmly think about it. Think about the reality of the situation, not a glorified image that you’ve created.

When you’re thinking on this memory, it may be painful. It may hurt to remember some of the people that were in your life that are now gone. It may hurt to remember lost friendships, lost relationships, and that’s okay. It is okay to hurt for these losses, but don’t lose yourself in them. Let yourself look at the situation, and then try to look from an outside perspective.

If someone is no longer in your life, there is a reason. There’s a lesson behind the loss of this person, no matter how painful it is. If you’re looking to reconcile with everyone from your past, the truth is, it’s unlikely. What you can do is see where things went awry. What point did that friendship start to deteriorate? What point did that relationship fall to pieces? Don’t place all the blame on the other person, and don’t place all the blame on yourself.

Look at what the big picture is. Every character played their part in that scene, and that scene is over. What can you learn from it? Perhaps controlling your anger, putting your pride in check and issuing an apology, how to handle stress better, there are countless things that you can learn if you just take the time to look.

Not one single person on this earth is perfect. Not one single person on this earth has a perfect past. We’re all going to make mistakes, some bigger and some smaller. That does not mean that your future has to be based around the mistakes of the past.

Remember the past, remember what happened, remember what you’ve done, remember what’s been done to you, grab onto the lesson that’s in there – there always is one. Listen to it. It’s been speaking to you, and all you have to do is listen. Once you hear the lesson, accept it, learn from it, but don’t ever stop pushing forward into the future. Just because you’ve done something in the past doesn’t mean that it has to be your future. There’s room to grow and there’s room to change.

Remember, your past is a lesson. It’s not a life sentence, and you are allowed to love yourself, regardless of things that you’ve done, regardless of what your past is. You cannot truly push into the future until you learn, forgive yourself, and then learn to love yourself now.

About Author

Sarah Dowell

Sarah grew up with a passion for writing that's been a huge part of her life since a young age. She is a freelance writer and Social Media Manager living in Kansas City, MO. She enjoys reading everything from poetry to self help to fantasy and all kinds of fiction. She's done some poetry writing, some YA fiction writing, and horror writing. She can get lost in writing or reading for hours at a time and can just disappear into what feels like another, beautiful world.

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