Many people equate the past with baggage being carried around wreaking havoc on a person’s ability to move on. While weeding my garden, I thought to myself, it isn’t baggage at all. It is an overgrowth of weeds in one’s mind causing one’s inability to thrive.
Anything rich and nourishing is being choked out by what is old, musty, and continually spreading and dominating one’s thoughts and reactions to situations and circumstances. These weeds of thoughts will come back, and it is up to us to prune our thinking in a positive, empowering direction versus a negative, depleting direction rooted in the fear of reliving the same things over and over again.
Do any of these sound like you?
Past Experiences: Have you had experiences in your past that have caused you to avoid venturing into the same territory again?
Whether it is dating to realize a romantic relationship, new friendships, or a new business relationship, we have all had experiences we wish not to repeat.
A past experience for me caused me to not date for more than five, almost six years. I professed I needed a break, when the reality was I was fearful of not being able to trust again. Don’t allow negative past experiences to taint your future ones.
Past Influences: Are there people you have been involved with in your past who have negatively influenced your biases with others?
While no longer in your life, you are reminded of them by a word, a situation, or a similarity, and you immediately assume that the person with whom you are currently engaged in interaction will be just like that person from you past. Then all of the sudden, without you even realizing it, you are placing the whole persona of the past person onto the current person unjustifiably.
The people who hurt you in the past are no longer in your present. You let them go for a reason. Don’t bring them back to the present in your thinking to encroach on a relationship rich with possibilities and potential.
Past Behaviors: How have you behaved in your past that now no longer serves you or is who you are or desire to be today?
Have you truly let it go into the abyss of your past, or does it pop up out of nowhere in the form of guilt, shame, self-persecution, or self-preservation? Whatever occurred in your past cannot be changed, however, the fact that you chose to change how you behave now is something to celebrate and continue to nourish so you can flourish.
Often, when you get too caught up in past behaviors reoccurring, they find a way to reappear to sabotage you when you focus all your attention on them. Then the relapse is viewed as an inevitable part of who you are when it was actually a choice you made now—just like it was a choice you made then—realizing negative consequences.
Past Regrets: Are there things you have done that if you had to do them all over again, you would do them differently?
Guess what? If it is something you still hope to do, then instead of regretting what didn’t happen and staying focused on what was lost or not realized from the past, how about embracing the insights learned so you can do it again, without the mistake made previously?
Can you imagine how gratifying and satisfying that will be to have learned and grown from the regret instead of being stunted and stuck in limbo? Instead of regretting, try “regetting,” which means reflecting on it for the learning versus the yearning.
Past Unknowns: Are there things from your past that you find yourself saying, “If only I had done ________, then maybe ______ would have happened.”?
This is different than regret because you didn’t actually do it or are only imagining it could have been something amazing if you had only taken the chance or shifted slightly in what you had done.
Perhaps you were at a crossroads once in your life and you took path A and you find yourself continually focused on what path B would have been like, feeling like the current path you’re on is like a treadmill, getting you nowhere.
Leaving the weeds of your past behind requires nurturing your confidence. Chances are there are things you are passionate about that had an impact on why you are no longer in those past situations, with those past people, or behaving in that past way.
It may also be your passions that can light a fire under you to live with no regret moving forward and to embrace the unknown instead of feeling there must always be an either/or choice.
Your confidence is rooted in your passions. Nurturing the seeds that you plant in your head begins with pulling the weeds of the past and continually discarding them. The key here is recognizing that the weeds will continue to find a way to spread into your thinking.
By being aware when it is happening, you will be able to yank them quickly and painlessly, and refocus on what is nurturing, enriching, and fulfilling. Only then can your possibilities truly take root and flourish, while you stop to smell a few roses along the way.