Something that will really stuff up your happiness and success in the present and future, is holding onto (or being imprisoned by) past negative experiences. If you want to move forward in your life, creating and experiencing joy, peace, and happiness; you must learn how to detach from past negative experiences and learn how to live fully and vibrantly in the present. In this post, I will share with you a few key ideas about how you can do that.
Let me ask you quickly, have you ever experience something that made such a huge impact on you that you just couldn’t shake it afterwards?
No matter how hard you try (or have tried) it just seems to linger in the back of your mind all the time.
For example, are you still hung up about the promotion you didn’t get?
Or, are you still struggling to move past that huge opportunity you missed out on?
Are you still fuming at your ex three years after she ran off with another man?
Listen, the truth is some things in life we go through suck big time.
But, it’s equally true that you and I control how we respond to everything that comes into our lives.
Tony Robbins always says, “pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice.”
What he means by that is, we control our minds, thoughts, focus, and self-talk, and therefore have the power to control how we feel, respond and therefore the results we get in the end.
A lot of people seem to think that simply because there are uncontrollable things in the world, that means they are powerless to do anything about it.
Now, even though it might be true that you and I cannot change the uncontrollables, it is a myth believing that you have no control in all of that.
For example, you have no control over past negative experiences.
No matter how hard you try, or angry you get or upset you are, nothing will change what happened.
But, that doesn’t mean that you have no control over past negative experiences.
The reality is what you decide to do with it, will make all the difference for your happiness, joy, inner peace, and ultimately success in the present and future.
I agree that many experiences are painful, but they are also part of life.
Suffering for years is your own doing.
You have to do certain things to continue to feel bad about experiences that happened years ago.
It’s definitely a skill, just not a productive one.
If you want to move forward in your life today, you must learn a new skill.
That skill is the ability to detach from past negative experiences.
If you can do that you will find the quality of your life improving almost instantaneously.
It will be like coming up for air after you’ve been underwater for a long time.
Here are some ideas of how you can learn to detach from past negative experiences and allow for more possibilities in the future.
Avoid rehashing the past.
The best way to allow a negative past experience to encroach on your present or future is to spend time thinking about it.
There is a principle that says, whatever you focus on expands.
What this basically means is the more we focus on something, the more it will consume our thoughts, emotions, energy and behaviour.
You might try and convince yourself that thinking about past negative experiences is helpful in some way, perhaps even educational, but that will be a mistake.
Learn what you can immediately after the negative experience and then move on.
The more mental energy you give to the past, the more it impacts the rest of your life.
Create new memories.
An effective way to unseat old memories is to create new memories.
The reason this is effective, is because you’re creating a different point of focus.
And as I said earlier, whatever we focus on expands.
Many people are consumed by past negative experiences because they perpetually focus on it.
You can easily interrupt this pattern by giving your mind something else to think about, i.e. a different point of focus.
For example, if you want to get over your ex, find someone new.
Be active with your life. Join a club, make new friends, spend time doing something new.
Make your new experiences so positive that the new memories overpower the old, past memories.
You will be surprised how effective this is.
Make a conscious decision to let go of your past.
There is power in a real decision made with real intention.
Tony Robbins is known for saying:
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
When you make the decision to let go of your past, you might surprise yourself in how easy it is to start moving on with your life.
So many people stay stuck because they choose to stay stuck (even unconsciously).
The danger of holding onto your past is that it can often become like a familiar friend that has an “important” place in your life.
And so you keep them around.
But they end up hurting you.
Don’t make that mistake.
Make a decision to move on.
Proclaim your intention to yourself. Whatever you’re doing (or have been doing) isn’t working.
Make a decision to move past the negative past experience.
You can only start creating a new and improved life once you do.
Make a few plans for your future.
Have something exciting ahead of you that prevents you from looking behind.
A compelling future can be the best medicine for a messy past.
What would you like to do in the next year?
Learn to surf?
Start dating again?
Get a new job?
Start your own business?
Meet new people?
Whatever it is, what are you waiting for?
What are you waiting for?
If you want to move on from past negative experiences, put some positive plans in place and go after them.
Spend more time in the present moment.
Mindfulness has been touted as a panacea for nearly every psychological condition under the sun.
It’s like the fish oil capsule of the mental health crowd.
Dealing with the past is an ideal application for mindfulness.
Mindfulness is simple, but not easy.
For this purpose, simply pay attention to your environment and your current activity.
If you’re walking your dog, you’re paying attention to what you see.
Your thoughts aren’t on your ex-husband, the broken hot-water heater, or the report that’s due tomorrow.
Mindfulness takes a lot of practice to do well, but the time is well-spent.
The absolute expert on mindfulness in my mind is the author of the famous book “The Power of Now,” Eckhart Tolle.
In the video below he teaches Oprah how to silence the voices in your head.
Avoid blaming others.
Blaming is convenient.
You let yourself off the hook for any responsibility in the matter as you’re essentially giving away your inner power to have a say in the matter.
The animosity you feel toward others regarding your past keeps the past fresh in your mind.
And as long as you can stay angry, and blaming “them” for the past, you don’t have to do anything like move on, for instance.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, is much harder because you’re choosing to stop playing that silly game that only leads to inner turmoil.
It’s also hard because forgiving can often feel like letting those that wronged you off the hook.
The reality is, however, forgiveness is letting you off the hook as you let go of your negative feelings.
The past can then move further into the past, and you can move into the future with a refreshed spirit.
Seek out peace.
When you’re upset about the past, seek peace in your body.
Breathe slowly and deeply.
Pretend like every time you exhale, you’re breathing out another piece of the negative feeling in your body.
Allow the past to flow out of your body with each breath.
Keep going until the negative feeling is gone.
When you can think about the past and feel peaceful, you’re no longer under its spell, which means you’ve taken some of your power back on the healing can begin.
Are you suffering because of the past?
Why are you treating yourself that way?
Some things in life don’t work out, but that doesn’t mean they have to influence the rest of your life.
Forgive those that have wronged you in the past.
And look forward to the future and see the exciting things that can lie ahead.
But it all starts with a new decision that YOU have to make.
No one can make it for you.
Allow yourself to be freed today. Open the prison door from the inside. Do not allow a past negative experience to control your life for one moment longer.
We all get one chance at life (that we know of), so make sure yours count for something in the end.
If you have any comments and questions, I would love to hear them so please leave them for me below.
May peace and light fill your life!