Look forward not back

HOW TO STOP DWELLING ON THE PAST

Is there something in your past that you just can’t let go of? If so, it could be holding you back from living the life you want today.

So many of us are guilty of over-thinking; or dwelling on things that we’ve done, said or experienced; or analysing every detail of an interaction or event in the hope we can make more sense of it or even change it. Not only is this mentally draining, but it can have a huge impact on your present relationships, career, quality of life, personality and general happiness.

If you’re guilty of this and don’t know how to move forward, here are a few steps you can take to let go of negative past experiences that could be holding you back from living your best, most authentic life.

Accept that you can’t change the past

It doesn’t matter how many times you recall a certain event in your mind, you can’t change things that have happened in the past – it’s a scientific fact! So, the first step to moving on from a negative past experience is to accept that it has happened, learn from it and move on. In other words look forward not back.

You may not have the power to erase it from your past, but you do have the power to change the way you view it. Engaging with memories and past experiences in a different, more positive way could be all it takes for you to find yourself in a place where you can understand why it has happened, accept it and move on. This may be by forgiving someone who wronged you or by learning a valuable lesson from the mistake made. 

Talk about it

A problem shared is a problem halved and sometimes opening up to someone can be all it takes to alter your perspective on something. This could be someone that you know well and trust, or it could be a total stranger – because sometimes it’s easier to speak freely knowing the other person has no context to base judgement on. Whoever you choose, be sure to express yourself in whatever way you feel comfortable with and describe the emotions you are experiencing. This person may be able to offer some valuable advice and support, or they may just be able to lend a listening ear – either can be just as therapeutic.

Focus on the present

Instead of being consumed by memories of the past, embrace the present day and what it can offer you. Live in the moment and take the relevant action to create the life you feel the most authentic living.

Dedicate your time to people who enrich your life, pick up a new hobby that you feel passionate about, book a holiday to somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, get fit and healthy, strive towards a new job – whatever it takes for you to feel happy and fulfilled by life. Hopefully in time, by creating lots of new positive memories you’ll replace the negative ones from the past.

Practice mindfulness

One of the most effective methods of focusing on today and appreciating all of the positives around you is to practice meditation and mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment and consciously experiencing every thought and sensation at that given time. If your mind wanders to something negative from you past you can consciously bring yourself back to the present, gaining more control over your thoughts over time and becoming more grounded. Throughout the process you may even learn more about yourself and what you appreciate the most in life.

Find closure

Ultimately, you may find that the only way to fully move on from past mistakes or experiences is to find closure in whatever it is that you’re dwelling on. This could be achieved by opening up to somebody about it – potentially even the person who has caused the negative thoughts.

Alternatively, it could be by identifying what can be learnt from the moment you’re dwelling on. Even negative experiences can be turned into positive ones if you use them as a learning curve. A past mistake may encourage new positive behaviours generated from understanding your actions/behaviours towards the issue at the time. Furthermore, you may realise that you were not living authentically or being the elite version of yourself.  Or a relationship gone wrong could teach you something about the kind of people you want in your life and who has a negative toll on your wellbeing. 

Your past mistakes or experiences do not have to define who you are today. You have the power to be the person that you want to be. Learn from your past and then let go, because you deserve to live a happy, authentic life. Finally, look forward not back!!!!!

I talk more about living your life authentically in my new book ‘Behind the Mask’. You can get your paperback copy at www.behind-the-mask-book.com or on Amazon in both paperback and kindle version.



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