“Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?”
― Mary Manin Morrissey
― Mary Manin Morrissey
Have you seen the movie Napoleon Dynamite? Let’s talk about Uncle Rico. He can’t seem to get over his glory days of High School football. He has not yet accepted that the 80’s decade is gone and over, and if he only would have won that state football game, then his life today would be so different. Should have, would have, could have, is the mantra he lived by. All he thought about was going back to those days and changing the outcome to what he desired, then his life would be what he dreamed it would. But, Uncle Rico couldn’t go back, and neither can we. The reality of this life is, that we all have things in our past that we wish we could re-do or change, but that can’t happen. Living in the past does nothing for us but drain our emotional energies, and takes away our present moment living. It’s time to find a way to let go and live for today.
I know all about living in the past. When I first had a panic attack years ago, I relived that moment every second, of every day. That is what sent me into full blown anxiety problems. I thought to myself, “Why did I ever have that experience?” “Why was I so weak to let this happen?’ I beat myself up relentlessly. Then I scared myself over and over again wondering if I would have another panic episode, so then I never stopped panicking. It is a vicious cycle. The mind is so powerful. We can replay things over and over again, and our mind act as though it’s real. The same feelings and emotions can be brought up to the surface, just by a thought. It is so important to learn how to let go of those memories and past regrets or past hurts. It takes effort. It takes time. If you feel like you can’t do it on your own, then please seek professional help. I think everyone on this planet could benefit from counseling, and there is no shame in that.I lived free from anxiety for years until my Mom passed away. I took care of her the last week of her life. It is a terrible thing to see a loved one suffer so much. I left the night before she died. I planned on being back there in 2 days to help take care of her again. I didn’t know that the next day she would be gone. I was her only daughter that wasn’t there to see her take her last breathe. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t with her. I felt so guilty. I seriously thought my Mom must have been so disappointed I wasn’t there, along with everyone else. I replayed the whole scenario over and over again. I convinced myself that I didn’t say the proper goodbye to her, and now she’s gone and I never will. This starting eating at me. I really felt like I went into another bout of anxiety due to the guilt of not being there when she died. I couldn’t get out of the past. It consumed me. Then when I was back in anxiety mode, I pretty much forgot about everything but the panic, and the vicious cycle had once again returned, and it returned with a vengeance.
Do you see how living in the past is stopping you from moving ahead into a better future? Are you holding on to a past consumed with guilt, hate, bitterness, or fear? There is nothing wrong with looking back into your life and remembering the days gone by. It’s even ok to look at the painful memories sometimes. But when looking back and beating yourself up about things that you could have or should have done, will do nothing for you except torment you. We can’t go back. We can only try to wrong the right, make amends with a person you hurt, or that hurt you. We can try to better ourselves. We can tell ourselves that we will no longer let fear run the course of our lives. We can take the past with all of the good and the bad, and see what we can learn from it. As hard as so many things are in life sometimes, somewhere in the madness of it all, something can be learned from it. It may be as simple as you learning that you never want to hurt a person the way someone hurt you. Looking ahead takes courage. It’s way easier to retreat into our old recesses in our minds. It’s easier to just feel sorry for ourselves sometimes. The key to looking ahead is Faith. Faith that the future will be brighter than our past. Faith that there is a better life ahead. Faith in ourselves, faith in humanity.
Pull out your journal daily, and jot down the things that are bothering you from your past. Right your feelings down, and see what comes up in your writing. Practice your daily meditations. Remind yourself constantly to stay in the present living moment. It’s ok to relive wonderful memories. The problem comes when old memories are causing you to be held back in the here and now. If you can’t shake these old issues, and you are really feeling like you can’t move on, then please seek professional advice. Begin to have faith in yourself and in your ability to move ahead in life. Our time here on this Earth is but a small moment. May we learn to live for today. May we learn to be grateful for the blessings that we have been given each day. May we look not behind us anymore. May we look ahead with courage, faith, and a desire to live each day to our fullest potential. May we forgive ourselves when we makes mistakes. May we love ourselves despite how many times we may struggle with the same thing. May we love others despite their struggles, because we all fight battles everyday. Go forward, look not behind you, walk into your bright futures with your heads held high and a smile on your face, even in times of trial, the sun will shine again.
Hope On. Journey On.