Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Letting Go

Do you find yourself stuck in the past?  Whether reliving the glory days or trapped by long distant trauma, the past can have a powerful grip.

For many, the past is seen through a rose colored filter.  The adventures of youth, the joys of childhood, or the memories of when our children were young can be engrossing.  Conversations frequently reference past events, coloring them rosy with the distance of time.  But that rosy filter is also a high, imposing wall.  That wall prevents people from enjoying the joys of this moment in time.  The adventures of youth were adventures, no doubt, but they were also frequently based in reckless, dangerous behavior.  Isn't part of growing up growing wiser?  Relishing past accomplishments can deter ambition for future goals.  And longing for the days when your children were younger?  What that same child hears is "They're not proud of whom I've become."

Past trauma can be even more insidious.  We may think it dead and buried but it affects our behavior, our ability to trust, our daily existence.  Someone betrayed by a friend may never let anyone get that close to their heart ever again.  A woman cheated on may treat all men in her present and future as if they are automatically guilty.  A woman abused in childhood frequently finds herself with men who repeat the pattern over and over again.  That is truly being stuck in the past.  Until those issues are confronted and worked through, that past trauma is destined to be repeated.

There are always lessons to be learned from the past.  But they are just that...lessons.  When you were in school, you didn't learn the same lesson ad infinitum.  You learned the lesson and you moved on to something new.  Rarely were the "good old days" really that good, they've been colored by time.  The grass wasn't any greener then.  If that is the mindset, you miss how brilliantly green it is now.  The present is all you have...right here and now.  The future is not guaranteed.  Do you really want to waste this precious time you are in by wishing for what is already gone?

Look around.  What you have right now might not be the best you've ever been, ever had, or ever will be.  But it's what is real at this very moment.  Don't miss one single minute of joy by looking backwards.  Let the past go.


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