Have You Ever Wanted to Leave the Past Behind?

There are moments or long stretches of time we’d all prefer to leave in the past. One of the toughest things to do is distance ourselves from painful memories. Our recollections are not selective. In fact, some of the very things we want to forget most are the things that stick around the longest. Some of us rehash events and ruminate over those unpleasant events to the point that we let it shape our future.

Bitterness, injustice, regret, embarrassment – can overshadow the joy and peace we are meant to have in life.

Picture yourself walking along a beautiful beach. After an hour of sloshing through the frothy waves and listening to the birds you let your cares drift away. You pass dozens of families building sandcastles and reading beachy novels when you turn around. As you squint past all the sand, bodies, and sea gulls diving about, you can’t even make out where you started.

Not only can you no longer physically see it, your experiences along the way have layered over the beginning of your walk. It’s the same way with our journey through the good, bad, and ugly sandpits of life. If we direct our attention forward by creating new experiences that cover the unwelcome past, we dim those old views. Mistakes or painful past encounters don’t define us. They should teach us how to cope and strengthen our resolve for the future. In fact, some of the parts of my life I once wanted to forget are not so unpleasant after all. Perspective is everything.

Setting short and long-term goals ensures you are adding to your life, not trying to erase things. Making intentional choices to move toward the enriching, positive life we imagine builds connections in our brain that adds that distance we need. Instead of belaboring a rift with someone, consider increasing your social network. Actively making forward strides does put distance between you and those less than healthy memories.


Learning from our past, seeking insight to cope with trauma or pain, and moving toward the great things ahead help make that rough spot very hard to see. The neurological connections in our brain strengthen with repeated exposure and experience. In effect, we are wired to be able to shape our future with what we desire most. The adage is somewhat true: Time heals all wounds. BUT there are so many individuals unable or unwilling to do that. I know a lady who continually talks about her painful experiences and has lived in that stagnant past for years, focused on her pain and rejection.

I have found it is peaceful to forgive others and yourself. Look ahead in life – there are so many wonderful ways to find meaning in life you may not even be aware of right now!


Take away:

The further you walk ahead, the harder it is to see behind you.


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