“If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.” Winston Churchill
You are the sum total of your past – the parents you were born to, education you had, the relationships you chose, the jobs you worked, the friends you made, the partners you picked, the lessons you learnt.
It’s great to learn from the past and let the wisdom we gained, guide us in the choices we make. However, it’s now gone. Like the wind in a storm, like water in the rivers, like mist in the air…..The past was, and will never be again.
And yet, so many people continue to live in the past. If only things were as they were. If only I didn’t make that choice. If only he didn’t say what he did. If only I had realized.. If only my parents did better. Because of my past, I cannot…Because of my losses, I don’t ….Because of my parents, I am broken…Because of…..
So the ghosts of the past float into the present and define the future. We lock ourselves with shackles that should have long been broken.
If you catch yourself always talking about why something in the past cannot allow you to move forward, then you may be in this trap too. The good news is that it’s a trap that’s wide open – most often, unless it need psychological intervention, you can get up and walk out at any time.
One of the most beautiful things about coaching is helping clients to move forward. To help them discover for themselves the possibilities of a future that awaits. Three steps that can help:
First, identify if your inability to move forward is attributed to the past. Are your reasons to do or not do based on something that has long elapsed? Are you seeking comfort in the familiarity of the past, because of the uncertainty of the future? Be honest in your assessment.
Second, accept that there is an expiry date to blaming your past and actually define that date. Yes! put a date to it. You cannot live till 50 blaming your parents for not giving you a better education. Pick up your books and make one yourself. You cannot live in fear of relationships, blaming a past partner. Acknowledge your learnings and don’t let fear be the reason to stop you from moving on. If you are in a bad job, change it. Whatever it is, once its past, don’t let that define the present.
Third, take responsibility for your life. All there is, is now. Here in this very moment. Celebrate the choices you still have, the chances to change your destiny. For changing how you think can put you in reach of a liberated future, free from the pain, excuses or satisfaction of the past. Grab hold with both hands and give it the best you have got.
Life is here and now. Celebrate, that in the present decisions you are making, you are not only shaping a new future, you are creating what will soon be a new past. Make it be one you’ll be proud to look back on!