In previous articles of this series, we’ve talked about honing into your values and making sure your personal needs are met, now is a good time to talk about the past. That’s right, I’m sure you are aware by now if you’ve been following this series that a lot of things can impact your goal focus and achieving everything you hope to accomplish. Being stuck reliving the past can really hinder you from enjoying the present and future. And, as you may have already become aware, your past can have a huge impact on how you submit and how open you are to submission.

When you put in the emotional work, you’ll be ready to put the past behind you. No past trauma or mistake is too terrible to move beyond. Whatever hand you’ve been dealt with, and whatever past you’ve had, you can get past it. I’m not going to say that it’s easy or that it will feel good, but it is often necessary.

If you’d like to catch up on the series, check out these posts:

I come from a traumatic childhood where physical, verbal and emotional abuse were commonplace. I understand dealing with the past and feeling that it’s still impacting your life in some way even though that past is long gone. I’m here to tell you that it is possible to let that past go and not let it impact you any more. I’m learning how and I want to share what I’m learning with you so that you too can lift the past and free your future.

The only way you can accept new joy and happiness into your life is to make room for it. The only way you can fully submit is if your mind doesn’t trip over old hurts and triggered pain.

If your heart is filled with pain and hurt, how can you be open to anything new?

Reframe the Past

One way to address this is to decide how your past can become an inspiration for your future. When we are motivated to choices as a result of past regrets there is a marked improvement in our well-being in later life. This means linking a negative event with a positive consequence. For instance, I could say, “As a result of being ridiculed and bullied by my parents I chose to be in a close, loving and supportive relationship as an adult.” What regrets can you reframe into motivations to make changes to your life right now?

Remember, if we crowd our brains - and lives - with hurt feelings, there’s little room for anything positive.

Create Distance

Sometimes it can help if you create new endings for your story. Like any fairy tale, there can be a happy ending. How would the hero’s story end? How do the villains get their comeuppance? Which ones would you replace? This isn’t about ignoring your past, it’s simply another way to allow yourself to move past it and not let it rule your life.

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say you should distance yourself from the person or situation that is causing you stress. Creating physical or psychological distance can help with letting go for the simple reason we are not having to think about it, process it or be reminded of it as much.

Make the Decision to Let Go

Things won’t disappear on their own. You need to make a commitment to ‘let it go.’ Making this decision to stop reliving past pain means also accepting that you have a choice to let go. It is empowering, knowing that you can choose to live your life without it.

Accept ‘the nevers’. Make a list of the things you will never be. It’s not pessimistic, and there’s something comforting and disarming about embracing what we may never be and leaves more space and energy to concentrate our efforts towards what can be.

At the end of the day, our past is gone. Our present is to lay the foundations of our future. Do you want to be stuck in the feelings, “I’ll never have a happy childhood,” or “I’ll never be rich”? The more we can focus on the present moment the less impact the past has on us.

Or, instead of trying harder to let go, accept where you are. Embrace it fully. Simply, give up fighting with your past. Your worry, shame, guilt, and pain are all a part of you. Accept that they are a part of who you are.

Then, invite what you desire. Open yourself up to visualize, imagine and fantasize what you’d love to have instead of living in your past. Focus on what is wanted, not the unwanted! Letting go of the past will allow you to live a happier life. Reach for it!