3 Signs You’re Letting The Past Hold You Back
Are you chronically stuck in the past? Are you allowing your history to knock your present off track, much like a skipping record? That’s the question we’re posing today.
First, it’s important to note that while the things that happened to you in the past are distinct, individual moments in time, the idea of “the past” has no such distinction. It is impossible to completely compartmentalize the people and events from your past. Because, even if you no longer think of a specific moment in time, it is still there. You may never on call on the memory of it, but in some way it either a) taught you something, or b) reinforced something you already believed, effectively planting itself in your present, whether you know it or not.
But how do you know if your past is overtaking your present?
Today we share 3 Signs You’re Letting The Past Hold You Back
1. You cling to nostalgia
Do you find that much of your free thoughts are spent thinking about good old days? No matter how old we are, we all have periods of time in our lives that we feel were pretty great or special. The problem is when we begin to wish we could go back or attempt to recreate that time in our current life.
People are constantly morphing into new people – we get older, our habits change, our friends change, our beliefs about ourselves and others change – and attempting to force people and situations into what they once were is a recipe for failure.
Try this instead: Think about what it is that is drawing your back to that particular time. Maybe you crave a particular kind of happiness or closeness. Maybe you had a lot of friends, but don’t anymore, and you miss the busyness of going out with friends. Figure out what it truly is that you miss, and then find a way to get it in your current life.
2. You are hurt by imagined wrongs.
Has a friend ever said something that you took as an insult, but was in no way meant to insult you? Maybe they commented on the size of your house and you immediately thought they were calling your house small. Maybe it pisses you off when your mother-in-law stops by and goes right to cleaning your kitchen, because you feel she’s silently saying that you aren’t doing your job of keeping the house clean.
Try this instead: Look at the situation objectively. Is this person really trying to insult you, or is something from your past trying to bubble up. If you can recognize that the latter is happening, you can stop it. Remind yourself that you are not what this emotion is telling you. Try to think why this person is saying what they’re saying. Maybe your mother-in-law isn’t making a statement about your cleanliness – maybe she noticed that you have a toddler clinging to your hip while cooking dinner and thought she’d help out and take one task off your to-do list.
3. You continue the same thought and action patterns despite knowing they aren’t working for you.
The past is familiar. And we tend to like what is familiar. Only sometimes, familiar is what gets us into predicaments.
Take weight loss, for instance. Have you ever tried to lose weight, but get caught up in resentment, toward those to seemingly get to eat whatever they want or toward your younger body that never used to gain weight. We begin to get frustrated when we aren’t losing fast enough, and then give up. We do this again and again, ad infinitum, and come to the conclusion that it can’t be done. Except our conclusion is based on faulty logic, incomplete data, and half-hearted attempts.
Try this instead: Instead of basing decisions on past occurrences, take note of the facts (not opinions) about the current situation. Instead of relying on what you think you know, take the time to really look objectively at the situation. Using the example from above, instead of assuming you just can’t lose weight, look at the steps that got you there. Did you really eat as well as you thought? Or did you happen to “forget” the nights of snacking in front of the tv? Keep analyzing everything until you get down to the root of the problem. It’s not that you couldn’t lose weight, it’s that you couldn’t lose weight doing what you were doing.
Photo credit thaoski.com