As a parent, I have been quite adamant about wanting to show my children all the great old movies that I once enjoyed as a child. I am sure that I’m not the only parent who does this. The problem though is this – the movies that I once watched as a child and remember to be incredibly awesome are actually not that impressive today as they may have been 30 years ago.
Seriously, especially some of the old school TV series like The A-Team or MacGyver or the terrifying “V” series. Watching them now has ruined the great memories I had of them. A few movies are still pretty cool to watch but again, many of them have left me wishing I had left them in the past.
Let sleeping dogs lie
This got me thinking about life and how the same rule can apply. Some things just need to be left in the past. There are some who may have had a terrible past – a terrible childhood growing up and there are others who may have had a wonderful past or childhood growing up. The truth is that no matter which one you had, it is still the past. When we get hung up on the past we can create an environment of either wishful thinking or regret within our present or future life. This can become a barrier which holds us back from living in the present moment.
Here are two thoughts that came to my mind when I was pondering the whole idea of leaving the past in the past.
- People living in the past struggle to let things go: This is aimed at those people who have had a negative past experience. Maybe you lived through abuse as a child, maybe you were bullied at school or didn’t have a very happy family life. It’s possible that in your teens you became unhinged and went through a period where you made many terrible mistakes because of stupid and bad choices – choices that you began to regret as you grew older. The truth is that the only way you are going to enable yourself to move forward from these things in your life is to deal with them. You must choose to get the help you need in order to move forward rather than allowing these negative things from your past to keep you held back in anger, remorse and unforgiveness.
- People living in the past struggle to accept change: This is aimed at those people who had a wonderfully positive past. Maybe you had a great strong family and enjoyed many amazing family vacations together. Maybe you were the popular one in school – you played first team sports. These are the people you meet who continue to wish for the “good old days”. The truth is, this group can become just as stuck as the ones who had negative experiences. Continually wishing for the good old days keeps you from accepting the change that is inevitable.
I actually fall into both of these categories above and there are probably many of you out there who also do. I had a wonderful family life and a wonderful childhood, but my teenage years were terribly difficult to navigate and I ended up making many terrible mistakes.
I did a lot of really stupid and even dangerous things and I hurt a lot of people, especially loved ones. After years of searching for meaning, I finally found truth in God and I learned some deeper truths about life and purpose.
This helped me come to the realisation that I am not the sum total of my past mistakes and I can change if I choose to.
There is a stupid saying that we have all surely heard at least one or twice. I actually hate it because it gives people an excuse to stay stuck in their bad behaviours – an excuse to never change themselves or their lives for the better.
“A leopard cannot change its spots”.
In some regards this is true, like I cannot change my eye colour from blue to brown, well I could but it would take special contact lenses to achieve that change – I am not talking about those kinds of changes though but rather about when I hear people say this about behavioural issues – I disagree completely. People can change and I know many people who have changed their behaviours which in turn has changed their lives around. I myself am proof that people can change but only if they choose to. It all comes down to letting go of the past and allowing yourself the freedom to forgive yourself or others.
I found that in learning that I was forgiven by God, I was more motivated to forgive myself and others from my past. It was then that I was able to enjoy my present life and create a new future.
If this post spoke to you or if you are feeling stuck in the past and would like to find freedom, I encourage you to click the link or the pop-up banner. We’d love to help you find a better future.