“What’s in the past is dead. Let the dead bury the dead.”
~Og Mandino from The Greatest Miracle in the World”
When afraid, we love to use our past as a way to justify our behavior in the present. There are those, too, who love to hold on to past hurts to use as ammunition to punish others. Our past experiences, relationships, and awareness provide a frame of reference for how to deal with our current situations. They give us useful insights into ways we may better handle life moving forward. The problem many people have is in allowing their past to weigh them down.
Many people have experienced traumatic situations. Others have survived abusive and destructive relationships. We can find people who have made and lost fortunes. Some people attempt to manipulate respect based on past glories. The simple truth is a person’s ability to succeed, create happiness, and share love exists in the now.
There are countless versions of “the past teaches” and “the future provides hope” axioms. This article is no different. It is, however, a fact people must be reminded of. Here are some simple ways to make positive use of the past:
- Make note of how you identify yourself. How much of this is based on what you did or who you were?
- Do these identifications give you a sense of hope and provide hope to others?( For example: I’m a recovering alcoholic or a cancer survivor)
- Do you use these identifications as a way to justify negative behavior today?
There is a tremendous difference between the wisdom created as a result of past experiences and remaining stuck in negative, self-limiting patterns. The most telling sign is whether or not your experiences allow you more opportunities to teach and be of service to others. Be happy with yourself. Let go of any past experiences which no longer serve you or anyone else. Yes, these experiences are a part of who you are. However, they don’t tell your entire story.