Are you trying to walk backward into the future? Are you holding on to aspects of the past that prevent you from moving on? There’s no doubt about it, it’s hard to move forward when you are looking backward. To one degree or another we often define ourselves in terms of the past.
Change is always accompanied by loss. Indeed CBS news on May 6 reported a study by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development found that a result of the deep recession that began in December, 2007, two out of three people either downsized or felt their lives were wrecked or devastated.
Even when you are looking forward to changes in your life, there are things that you must give up in order to move on. We each have a level of change that we can tolerate comfortably. Whether it stems from our upbringing, personal experience or our genetic make-up, some of us enjoy lots of radical change and others of us like things to stay pretty much the same over our lifetime. Your comfort level with change and the degree of change you need or want to make determines how easily you can direct your energy to move in a new direction.
The only way to say goodbye to the past is to go through the mourning process. Sadness and sorrow are healthy responses to a loss of any kind, forced or chosen. Grief purges our feelings of loss.
Our lives tend to move in whatever direction we put our energy. To get an objective picture of where we are headed, we need only look at how we spend our time, our money and our energy. Think about how you spend your time, what you talk to others about, and what you spend your money on. The answer to these questions will reveal where your real interest lies right now, and whether your future is likely to look more like the past, the present or something entirely new.
Holding on to past hurts, anger and injustice are the most common “hang-ups” that prevent us from being able to say hello to a new life. Depression often results from holding on to a painful loss, and is a signal that you aren’t expressing the grief, pain and anger you feel. You can’t and won’t be able to get on with your life as long as you’re depressed. If depression is chronic and severe, professional or medical assistance is most likely essential. If the depression is mild you can help yourself get out of it by expressing your feelings.
Remorse over things past can also keep us from moving ahead. Our regrets can become a life-long punishment. That, however, is not the purpose of regret. Regret is meant to tell us when we’re off track and to help us to see what we need to do differently to get back on track. We must accept that we have made mistakes and despite these mistakes or shortcomings, we deserve to move on and give ourselves another chance at having a good life. We need to forgive ourselves. Can you forgive yourself now for whatever you may have done in the past so that you can create a new tomorrow? Dealing with issues like blame, regret and resentment frees up a tremendous amount of energy once they no longer imprison you. And unlike many other emotions, once truly resolved they rarely return. This is the power of acceptance and forgiveness.
To move forward, fold what you appreciate about your past into a small packet and put it in a special place where you can remember it. Now, say goodbye to the life that has been your past and turn around to face your future. When you put the past to rest, you are free to go on with greater perspective and a more solid foundation upon which to build the future.
If you don’t know where to begin in breaking your goals down into a manageable strategy, there are experts that can help you… counselors, business consultants and personal coaches. The best route to finding such assistance is through personal referrals, but if you can’t find help that way, check out the web or contact us directly.
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