Arghh the past.
Many of us look back on our lives and have regrets, dwell on failures, hold on to memories that no longer serve us, and use events that happened as excuses for not moving forward.
Believe me. I have had my share of drama. From an abusive ex-boyfriend who managed to rewire my self esteem, to a humiliating experience getting fired from what I thought was going to be an awesome job, and just drama with friends, family, and myself.
Yes, the past, if you let it, can manage to extend it’s big hairy arm into the present and even the future and prevent us from moving forward – from achieving dreams and success simply because we lived somewhere, something, for someone at one time in our lives. In other words – we live, we learn, we grow. That’s how it should be but it’s the learning and growing part that many of us have a hard time with.
If your past is holding you back, read on.
Too many of us let past events keep us from moving to start businesses, ask for promotions, start relationships, end relationships, and do whatever we want to do! It’s silly to me now that I almost stopped my business because I couldn’t get what one past employer told me “You will never make it in this business.” Oh, he was a piece but that’s a story for another time. Funny enough, he was talking about events PR and not about managing a marketing firm but, still. The fact that someone told me I wasn’t cut out for event work, in general, made me feel inferior to do anything I set my mind to. I choose not to imagine where I’d be had I let him get to me. In fact, I choose to carry on and someday show him who and what I have become. Ha! And that point brings me to this:
Your past should be a compilation of lessons that teach you and guide you to success. Not hinder it.
How can you make sure your past doesn’t hold you back? Here’s a couple of suggestions:
1. Take note of your limiting beliefs and change them! For one day, write down every thing you say to yourself. I’ve caught myself saying “I’m so stupid for being scared to call this person.” or “Of course, I’m shy, so this project totally wouldn’t be for me.” But then I’ve turned this self-talk from negative to positive by a) recognizing that I say these things and b) breaking down why I think this is true in the first place! I do that by:
- Taking what I’m saying to myself and deconstructing it. I write down my thought and then ask myself “where does this come from?” Ok, so people used to always call me shy and I have brought that into my adulthood. But am I really shy? Do I hide from things and situations? Well, I sure have done things in my life to indicate I’m not shy. In high school, I modelled and was on runways in front of hundreds of people and photoshoots in front of strangers. That took some guts. I had two babies and wasn’t exactly shy telling the nurses off as I gave birth (sorry, nurses)! I speak up when the need arises. I’m not exactly hiding in my shell but I am an introvert and that’s completely fine! Deconstruct your thoughts and uncover why you think this and why it may not be true!
- Understanding why I’m still holding on to it. Starting a business, I was very scared of rejection. I then realized it was because I didn’t want to be humiliated. But why was I holding on to that? I realize now that it’s because it’s easier for me to use that excuse instead of banishing it and moving forward. We all have our crutches, and fear of being humiliated is mine.
- Being mindful of what I need to change and change it! When you’re present, you can figure out what’s working and what’s not. Meditation is a great way to do this and so is something called tapping (yep, I’m getting a little “woo woo” here). Tapping, or EFT, is based on acupuncture points meant to help you release limiting beliefs. It’s an interesting way to release negative thoughts and move forward in a positive way. Check this video out for more info on EFT.
2. Use the past as a lesson, not a hinderance. My mom used to tell me to write down the questions people asked me in interviews so I could be ready for when they were asked again in the future. The same should be done when you experience things that hurt or change you in a way you know will affect you later on. Being embarrassed could become an amazing lesson on how to hold your head up high when things don’t go according to plan. You’re still standing now after x and x happened and you’ll still be standing if it happens again! What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger;)
3. Be comfortable with who you are today. It’s silly to let the past define us. I mean, think about it. Whatever happened so many years ago or even yesterday happened and there’s nothing we can do about. We don’t dwell on what happened when we were babies or before our memories truly began to form. And that’s because we don’t remember! And that’s my point. You’re not shaping who you are as a person based on events you were a part of but don’t remember so why not do the same thing about events that you do remember. Huh? You say:) I’m trying to say that every day is a new day and a new opportunity to begin and grow and learn. Stop looking back just because your memory has stored it.
We remember our past because we’re supposed to learn from it but we’re not supposed to be stunted by it. Put whatever may have been stopping you from pursuing your goals into your pocket and let’s move forward. I’m sure ready, are you?