The past isn’t irrelevant. While we have a tendency to dwell on the past, our present and our future are where opportunity lies for growth and improvement. But the past can also cause
Sometimes it’s hard to avoid the past because it shapes our future experiences. However, in the heat of an argument, we occasionally use the past as a means to undermine others and use it against them. Instead of trying to learn from the past, we have a tendency to use the past to hurt relationships and efforts at finding common ground.
How to Leave the Past in the Past
The past shapes our lives today, and it’s filled with things that we can appreciate and enjoy. But it also over. The past can play a positive role in your life, but it shouldn’t affect the future in a negative way.
It’s important to leave pain and other negative energy in the past because dwelling on it only guarantees a less happy future. Here are several tips to moving on from the past.
- Learn from the past, but don’t stay there. Our past may provide good learning experiences and growth opportunities, however it can be unhealthy to dwell on it and keep the negative energy around. It’s important that we understand what happened to us and then use that reflection time to benefit ourselves in the present and future.
- Focus on the present. If you are looking to move forward, it is important to stay in the present. Think about how the situation you are dealing with currently is affecting you and then properly communicate what you are feeling and thinking to resolve the issue at that moment.
- Don’t be afraid to express yourself. It is okay to express what is bothering you and get things off your chest. Talking, drawing, or writing out your feelings about what someone has done to you, or what you have done to someone, is the best way to move on. This will help you come to resolutions and allow yourself to let go of past conflicts.
- Forgive. It is incredibly important to forgive whoever has wronged you in order to move on and grow from the experience. The same idea is true about yourself. Don’t kick yourself around if you made a mistake. We all make mistakes, we’re human. Instead, focus on how you have grown as a result of the situation and what you can do now.
The past can be a tricky thing. We don’t want to forget it, but we also don’t want it to control our ability to enjoy the future. Moving on from the past, however, doesn’t mean it’s being forgotten. The question is how do you move on knowing that the past has already happened.
By learning to understand our emotions better and coming to resolutions in the moment, we avoid the negatives of bringing up the past. It is important to recognize our feelings, but it is equally important to accept past circumstances and learn to forgive and grow from those experiences. If you find yourself struggling with the past, call Long Island psychologist Dr. Atara Wertentheil and Dr. Marc Shulman, today.