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8 Steps to Using Your Past to Thrive in the Present

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My goal is to be a cheerleader to persons wanting to change, to start fresh in their lives and to let me be their inspiration.

Your past will shape your present and future selves.

Your past will shape your present and future selves.

1 - Is It Harmful to Look Back?

I have found in my experience that it is not harmful to look into your past, in fact, it is vital. Looking back will help you face your fears and identify where that fear originated. It can help you see if in fact you were victimized by the people around you, people you had no control over, and realize that you also had no control over events that took place when you were growing up. We could not choose our parents, culture, environment, or our family. Yes, some esoteric teachers may tell you that you chose this life you are in right now. Well, it still does not help you process your past and help you work towards the future you want to create. Just realizing these simple facts of human existence may help you to look back and face your fears objectively and with an open heart, mind and soul.

2 - Acknowledge Your Past

We all have programs running inside of our minds that were placed there since birth by our family and environmental influences. But now you are mature and can look into your past and identify old programs still running inside your mind. Those old programs can be slowly purged with new, updated ones replacing them that work much better and help you accomplish goals that you have set for yourself.

Acknowledging your past by bringing it into the present moment is important to your well-being right now. Simply trying to repress memories and moving on, will result in anxiety and you may experience sudden inappropriate outbursts of emotion that come out of nowhere because you have tried to suppress past memories and feelings.

The same is true with positive past experiences. We don't want to live in the past by retelling the same success stories over and over again. We need to build on those past experiences to push through to the next level in life. You will find that building on past experiences will create a present sense of well-being and create a solid foundation for your future goals.

3 - Journal Exercise

Start a journal to write down your thoughts and feelings, and anything that pops into your head as you go about your daily routine. It can help you see a pattern of thought, behaviors, and actions, good and bad. The goal is to just brainstorm and process emotions that may pop up out of nowhere. You may feel fairly confident going about your daily routine when suddenly depression comes out of nowhere. Pay attention to what you were doing at the time. Maybe you were placing a gold necklace around your neck that triggered sadness. Maybe your mother gave you a similar necklace when you were a child and the necklace was lost and you felt guilty. All these memories and fleeting emotions have a purpose. Think about them objectively and include them in your journal for future consideration.

4 - Do You Feel Stuck?

All of us feel stuck or stagnate at times and feel like we are not progressing in our lives. A suggestion is to look to your ancestors for inspiration. Talk with an elderly family member and look at old family photos. It could give you a clue about your family's history and what work or activity they engaged in that could inspire you right now. For example, perhaps you found out that your great-grandfather was an artist. Maybe you found some of his sketches in an old storage trunk of family memorabilia. Have you tried sketching, drawing, or painting? It could mean that you have an inherited talent for art or design. Your family history could be a treasure trove of ideas to get you out of a rut and feeling like you have no options, when your options are as limitless as you allow them to be.

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5 - Take One Step at a Time

Take things at your own pace. Each of us process our past in different ways and not all memories are bad, many are amazingly wonderful. But obsessing on those memories can overwhelm us. Give yourself permission to look back at where you came from, start a journal, jot down notes, draw pictures if words do not come easily for you. Each amazing journey starts with one step at a time. You will soon find that each step you take will glow and light your pathway to visualize a future filled with wonderful opportunities that are unique only to you.

6 - Discard Items from the Past

I realize this is a tough step. But, honestly, in every aspect of your life you need to clear out old, stale energy in order for new energy to fuel your new passions in life and move forward.

Go through your photos, books, papers, collectibles, and furniture. Items start piling up around you and the clutter will inhibit your growth. Have a garage sale or donate items to charity. Never feel guilty about throwing things away in the trash can. Items are meant to be used, not propped up on a shelf or stuffed in corners. There is no longer any need to keep dozens of photo albums gathering dust on a shelf or stuffed in closets. Either scan the special photos you want to keep or upload them to a virtual storage area. Stop lugging your past around everywhere you go like a turtle with a heavy shell that is weighing you down.

Discard past memories that no longer serve you and don't represent where you want to go in life. Discard past feelings that no longer serve you. You are no longer that child that throws themselves on the floor and cries to get their way. You are an adult and handle emotions in an objective, rational manner. If you value yourself and have self-awareness and sincere compassion for yourself, you will attract high-value people into your life. Each person, place, and experience is one step closer to the future self you are creating in the present moment.

7 - Be Grateful

Each day set aside at least five minutes to think about what you are grateful for. You may be grateful for how far you've come in your life and how much you have achieved in your physical and spiritual growth. Do not look on the past with bitterness, hatred, anger, or anxiety even though you may have suffered abuse. Perhaps you took action steps to correct some things out of your past and now you can close that chapter of your life for good. Perhaps you assisted others along their journey of self-help and personal discovery. Be proud of your present self which is a solid foundation for your future.

8 - Seek Help

Never feel embarrassed or shy about seeking help from a therapist or counselor. You do not have to tell anyone about it, it's your own person journey of self-healing and discovering how your past is influencing your current actions. Or, perhaps talk with a trusted friend to help purge old memories and emotions so you can replace them with new experiences and feel more confident and excited over the future you are creating right now.

The Universe is listening. Take positive action steps now to create the future that you desire.

The Universe is listening. Take positive action steps now to create the future that you desire.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Nancy M

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