As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, I’m taking part in a blogger collaboration project. My friend, the infectiously positive and positively inspiring Tajwarr, is the creator of this collaboration. She asked a group of bloggers to write about the effect loss has on our lives. Why loss? Well, as Nicolle so wisely said, “Nothing is permanent, therefore, experiencing loss is inevitable. Everyone goes through it at least once.” Loss can come in many shapes and forms. I chose to write about change and how the end of an era can feel like a great loss.
Tomorrow, today will become yesterday.
All eras eventually come to an end. Like it or not, change happens. It doesn’t matter if you welcome it with open arms or hide from it under the bed, change happens all the time, all around us. The drop in temperature at the end of the day is a change you feel when your skin suddenly prickles with goose-bumps. A ray of sunlight filtering in through your bedroom curtains, signaling the start of a new day, is a change you see. You probably don’t give these changes much thought past grabbing a sweater to stave off the evening chill or pulling a blanket over your head if you’re not a morning person.
Tomorrow, today will become yesterday. Today, I want to talk a little bit about the past.
We all look back sometimes. That’s normal and it’s okay. It’s fun to bring out and dust off an old memory once in a while. I have a mental box of great memories that I like to revisit every now and then. Good memories are a gift but if you’re constantly looking back, thinking about what used to be, then you’re in trouble. There’s a big difference between appreciating a happy memory and clinging to the past. You can’t live your life in a box of yesterdays, no matter how good they were. Doing that robs you of your present and the ability to shape your future.
What’s done is done. There’s no going back. The past is unchangeable. At some point or another, we’ve all heard those platitudes. Most of us are fully aware that we can’t undo what we’ve done, go back in time, and change the past. We also know that we have to let go of the past and live in the present. This can be easier said than done. Believe me, I speak from experience. If you’re struggling with letting go of days gone by, I have a few tips that might help you.
Go Back To Move Forward.
Do you want to move on with your life? Yes? Then consciously go back to the parts of your past that you dwell on most often. Acknowledge them. Give them a moment. And then let go.
The next time you find your mind heading back to a part of your past that you’ve already acknowledged and resolved to let go of, say this, “This is the past. My present is what matters now.” I want you to say it every time you catch yourself dwelling on things you’ve made up your mind to leave behind. In time, it will become a habit. You will eventually start believing those words and, as weeks and months go by, your past will have less and less power to interfere with your present.
Move On Even If Others Can’t.
I’m no angel. That’s right, I’m only human. I’ve made mistakes. Less than others, more than some. I haven’t always done the right thing. And there have been times when I wasn’t the best person, friend, and daughter I could be. I’ve let myself and others down. I’ve hurt people and I’ve been hurt. But now I’ve moved on. I’ve forgiven the former version of myself.
If you want to move on, then you too have to forgive the former version of yourself. Life is about trial and error. We all make mistakes, some of which deeply hurt other people. You can’t undo anything you’ve done but you can apologize. There’s a chance your apology won’t be accepted, of course.
So what do you do if your apology isn’t accepted? Quite frankly, it isn’t your problem anymore. If the person on the receiving end of your apology refuses to let go and move on, that’s his or her choice. He or she is free to keep dwelling on old hurts. That’s their choice. The only person you can control is you. Accept that and move on.
Strike Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda From Your Vocabulary.
If I made a list of all the things I should have, could have, would have done differently or better in the past… well, it would be a long list. Making such a list would also be a criminal waste of my present.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda is a “what if” game. Nobody ever wins that game. What you did or didn’t do yesterday is of no consequence today. Focus on what you can do now. All you have is now and it’s a gift. Don’t waste it.
Yes, I want to move on, but something terrible, painful, and really sad happened to me.
Did you just say that?
Guess what? We all have sad stories. Some are sadder than others. How long are you going to keep telling your sad story? If you’re reading this, then you have survived whatever terrible, painful, sad thing that happened to you in the past. It’s over. Now you need to close the book on that story. Move on. You can choose to let go and move on. The power to do so is yours if you take it.
What’s done is done. There’s no going back. The past is unchangeable. Those platitudes are also words to live by if you want to enjoy the present and create a better future. As I said, I know from personal experience that letting go of the past isn’t easy. Nothing worthwhile in life is easy, though, is it?
That’s all from me for now. Carpe diem. Tomorrow, today will become yesterday. Make the most of this today.
P.S. Below you will find a list of my fellow collaborators in this project. Click on their names to visit their sites.