Recently, I had a friend who was so caught up in the past that she would not allow herself to move forward. She was so focused on what/how someone treated her before that she was allowing it to affect how SHE was treating people in the future. And while Donald Trump may be great at holding grudges against others, it’s not good when you are holding someone else responsible for someone else’s mistake. The reality is that we all have experienced things that have hurt us in some capacity before, but if we allow these things to affect how we see the future, it can make everything so much more difficult than it needs to be. For this reason, I just wanted to share three simple steps that I think will help people let the past go and move forward to be able to live their lives completely…or at least stop blaming those who didn’t do it.
ACCEPT WHAT YOU LEARNED FROM IT
The reality is that we are all going to make mistakes. It’s a part of life, and as long as we are willing to take risks, there is a good chance that we are going to make a mistake at something. (Remember that time you tried to cut your own hair in middle school? Yeah…it happens.) The only way to not allow this mistake to drown you, however, is to focus on the things that you learned from it, rather than continuing to wish that you hadn’t made the mistake in the first place. Focusing on that isn’t going to make it right in any capacity, so to do so would be extremely foolish. Instead, it is better to focus on the underlying lessons that you can learn from WHY the mistake happened in the first place. Maybe it would’ve been a good idea to go ahead and pony up that $20 for the barber shop? Once you’ve done this root cause analysis and have a good understanding of what you can do differently the next time, just focus on that and stop thinking about the mistake at all.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR PART
Often when people can’t let go of a mistake, it due to a feeling that someone else was so wrong in how they treated or hurt them. While this may be true, a better way to look at this is to pinpoint what exactly YOU did that put you in the predicament and to take responsibility for that. Think Mariah Carey and New Year’s Eve. I’m sure there were mistakes with the music setup, but Mariah is known to get a little “saucy” before performances. This may not have been the case, but it’s a possibility. When you take responsibility for your part in a mistake, it gives you more of a sense of control of what you can do differently the next time to ensure that the mistake is not repeated. By taking responsibility, you put yourself back in the driver’s seat of your life and don’t need to feel that you are at the whim of other’s actions or reactions. Owning up to something is often the first step to anyone being able to get over or pass something that may haunt them from time to time. By facing it directly and not sugarcoating what part you played, you increase your chances of making the right decision in the future.
REFUSE TO LET IT HOLD BACK YOUR FUTURE
The last tip is to not allow whatever you experienced to hurt or alter the way you may look at others in the future. The 1st step is all about learning and understanding how you’re a better educated person because of the mistake, the 2nd step is around accepting responsibility and forgiving yourself for the mistake, while the 3rd is based on forgiving others for the mistake. When someone has been hurt by someone in the past, they have a tendency to allow that hurt to damage their relationship with other people because they negatively associate what someone did wrong to them with the similarities of them and other people. For example, someone may have been unjustifiably pulled over by a cop and then they use that feeling to say that all cops are terrible. They may have dated someone with braids in the past that didn’t turn out well, so they then decide they are not going to date ANYONE ELSE with braids in the future. Think Usher’s “U Remind Me.” (Pretty good video by the way…if you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here and enjoy). The problem with this is that the person of your dreams just might have braids, and you will miss out on that person because you’re refusing to let go of something that someone else did so long ago. You have to forgive that person and move on, if you are truly going to give yourself the opportunity to live a full life of taking opportunities as they come…and dating multiple people with braids.
The past. It has shaped who all of us are in some form or fashion. The positive things, as well as the negative, have had an impact on who we are, as they should. However, when it begins to hurt our ability to move forward in life because we are still focused on the negative aspects of a mistake, then it needs to be released to lessen the impact it has on our future. By following these three simple steps, one can begin letting go of those things that hurt and embrace those that help.