Don’t live in the past.
Ok, that makes sense. To live in, dwell upon, regret, or rethink the past is not quite a proactive approach to life – it’s very limiting as it prevents a person from experiencing the now, the present moment.
But what about neglecting or forgetting the past? Can pretending the past does not exist prove to be equally as limiting? The past can be very shaming and to neglect that part of life is the same as neglecting a part of your self.
The past provides insight into who we are: How we came to be, how we got here, and why we got here. By “here,” I am referring to how you define your current self: personality, beliefs, emotions, thoughts, actions, and reactions.
Let’s say you experienced a shame (because we’ve all had our fair share) and your reaction was to shut that shame out of your life or out of your memory because it is too painful. The consequence of that neglect is that you’ve developed a part of your personality that does not take responsibility for self, a part that lives in a lie to only build more lies, and a part that can encourages walls or boundaries to be built that prevent others from experiencing a specific part of yourself [that was shamed]. Excuses or reasonings of “that’s how I am” ring true on the surface, but are they the entire truth of the past AND present? The truth reveals all.
This neglecting reaction prevents you from getting to know you, to understand why you react, or to piece together how you came to be. The longer the neglect goes on, the further detached a person becomes from their true selves. We are a culmination of all of our experiences – not just the ones we choose to recall (a reaction that we can say is a symptom to a greater cause).
Our past is a true guiding light into ourselves. Take the time to recall and revisit the past so you can get to know your present self better – this will allow you to actually move beyond the past because dwelling and neglecting are one in the same. For some, recalling is an easy experience. For others, it can prove to be much harder… but realize how much you can grow and discover by accessing a part of yourself that has been lost for days, weeks, months, or years.
Always choose self-responsibility over self-neglect (or placing the blame outside of self and onto others). It will open your eyes to a whole new world of you.