How much of the past are you carrying around with you? All that baggage can get very heavy can’t it? It weighs you down. But what purpose does it serve? I suggest, none.
Of course our present selves are a cumulation of past experiences. Bad things happen to good people. And sometimes we do things that we regret and feel guilt or shame over. But apart from learning from our mistakes, and hopefully gaining strength from difficult or traumatic events, is there really a need for them to negatively affect our present and future? These things only have power over us if we allow them to.
There are few things I can’t forgive a loved one for. And yet I’ve struggled to forgive myself for a great deal. Why? I honestly don’t know. Perhaps it’s because we love others more than we love ourselves.
But perhaps the truth is a more difficult concept to consider. Could it be that it’s because there’s a certain amount of comfort in carrying these things around? You know, like something that’s broken or damaged that you can’t throw away. You cling on to it, even though it’s serving no purpose and taking up space that you could use for something shiny and new. You don’t really know *why* you’re keeping it, but it feels safe to do so.
It’s really scary letting go of the past and forgiving yourself for mistakes you’ve made. It means you no longer have anything to cling to as an excuse for *present* mistakes and behaviours. It means you can no longer blame something that happened a decade ago for your behaviour today.
But it’s also incredibly liberating. Choosing to live in the present opens up space in your life, and in your head, for new ideas and thought processes and filters. It makes you *lighter*. It gives you more *space*.
You can’t change the past, but you can prevent it affecting your present and future. Where do you want to be in five years’ time, in ten years’ time? Will you still be carrying around all the baggage you have with you today, plus several more years worth? Or will you choose to free yourself of the past now, and only carry around a small handbag of the happiest memories?
Sometimes huge things happen that it’s difficult to let go of by ourselves. Sometimes we need a little, or a lot, of support and help in moving on. Sometime friends and family can help with that, and sometimes more professional help is needed. But ultimately it’s the choices *you* make that will determine how much of your past you will carry into your future.
Photo credit: robef