Put the past behind you!! You need to move on!!! How many times have we all heard that?
It’s usually easier said than done.
Everyone has something in their past they would rather forget.
We’ve all made mistakes or had something painful done to us. Things we’d rather not discuss. But too often we find it difficult to put the past behind us. We beat ourselves up over things we should have and could have done differently.
Whether you did something or something was done to you, it can be difficult and often painful to move on. It can be hard to leave it in the past where it belongs.
You try and try, but there are those days when it just creeps up again. And there you go, rehashing, reliving or regretting.
When that happens, it can affect how we feel about ourselves.
Loving yourself after a painful mistake or being hurt, can take time. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Maybe you’re finally in a good place and moving forward with your life, but you have people around you that keep reminding you of your past. Unfortunately, we all have those people close to us who won’t let us forget what we’ve done or what was done to us.
Some people are hurtful, while others are “well-meaning”. These are usually friends or family who simply don’t know what else to talk about so they bring up topics from your past for lack of anything else to discuss.
Distance can be a big help when you’re trying to put the past behind you and move on. Putting distance between you and the people and the things that remind you of your past can help change your view and get you back on your feet.
It’s not always possible to make a new start by moving to a new house or city. You can make simpler changes like a new church, the stores where you shop, where you hang out, start a new hobby or even take a different route to work. These changes get your mind thinking fresh and new thoughts. Those fresh thoughts make it hard for the old thoughts to creep back in.
Put some distance between you and those people who are constant reminders of your past. That could be friends or even family. You may not be able to avoid them forever but you can keep your visits and conversations short.
I try to have a few conversation “stoppers” ready when those old “sins” come up in conversation.
Changing the subject – “I’m doing great right now at my new job. We have this new project coming up that I’m really excited about.”
Turning the focus away from you – “If you don’t mind, I really don’t want to talk about that, I just want this party to be fun for Aunt Sue.”
Kind but evasive – “Thanks for asking, but I’m doing very well and looking forward to (vacation, Christmas, my promotion, etc.)”
Owning up and moving on – “I really hate that it happened and I’m doing my best to make positive changes in my life. So how have you been? Tell me about your new house?”
Forgiveness is also a big step to loving yourself and putting the past behind you.
If you have made mistakes that hurt other people, try to make amends. They may or may not forgive you, but it’s the right thing to do. Then, you need to put that hurt somewhere in order to move on.
What has helped me in the past is prayer and handing my mistakes over to God. Own up to it, ask for healing, ask for forgiveness and ask for grace. Mean it. Hand it over and DON’T TAKE IT BACK. (I used to take it back all the time and continue to beat myself up.)
Once you hand it over, leave it with God. He won’t give it back and you can now start to move on with your life.
Now, you need to forgive yourself. Once you’ve been forgiven you have to let go of the “hold” you are putting on yourself.
You are NOT your mistakes. Learn from the past, but don’t believe for a minute that you are the worst or the only one who has made bad choices. Far from it.
Let your mistakes make you smarter and stronger. One of my favorite quotes is “do your best until you know better and then do better“.
Let it go and make choices that will make you proud of yourself.
There are a ton of books, teachers, pastors, and seminars full of advice. The bottom line is this: You can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to moving on with your life and putting the past behind you.
You may have to make some tough choices in order to love yourself again and move on. Make the choices that are right for you and will get you going in the direction that will lead to positivity and a better, happy life.
If you enjoyed this, you might also like Loving Your Body.