If you want the past behind you, look in the other direction

put the past behind you.jpg

Ok, let’s face it, all of us have issues in our past that we want to put waaayyy behind us! I mean, that’s what we all talk about, “getting on with it” and “moving forward” and for good reason.

It’s definitely a good way to go…sometimes.

But I’m gonna be real with you. Sometimes, the past stays with you for too long and it gets heavier and heavier to push behind you.

Now, none of what I say negates the need for counseling, all kinds of work on managing our traumas and old pain. That’s not what this is about. I’m just saying there’s a different kind of mindset to add to that as well if you’re feeling stuck.

So I may shock you today on this one. But I think the way to put the past away is to put it IN FRONT of you.

That’s right, you heard it. IN FRONT. Not behind. IN FRONT.

Alright, let me explain this mindset shift ‘cause I’m going to break it down all pretty with some neuroscience but first I need you to get on the same page with me.

What I mean is that if your past is getting you stuck, you may be fighting too hard.

You may be fighting with yourself to put it behind.

So….take it and put it front and center.

Shift to realize that your past may be your biggest teacher.

It may be your biggest source of strength.

It may be the exact thing that now makes you shine so uniquely.

Stop treating it like the enemy and instead get curious, I mean really curious, and think of it as a growing, learning opportunity.

“What can I learn from this?” is going to become your mantra my friend.

What if you take your past and say, “Alright, friend, since it hasn’t worked so well to try and stuff you away, I got a different idea today."

You see, the past is the past. It is done. It is over. There is no way to change it. And that’s truth. My tough love for today.

But what we can change is how it controls us in the present moment.

Make friends with it (that just means stop fighting and trying to push it away) and shift it, transform your mind to focus on good jujus, one small (even one micro) step at a time. Those could be good jujus about life in general or some small good jujus even about this past, how it has made YOU who YOU are.

Ok, if I still have your attention, let’s break it down into two so simple steps (now, I said they were simple, not easy-this will take work, I can’t lie- but you CAN do this).

  1. First, It’s important to acknowledge your emotions, it’s true.

    You know I always say that. It’s even one of my 5 tickets in my guide to transforming your life. (You can get it here. It’s free and pretty good if I say so myself.)

    But that doesn’t mean you need to get stuck in them.

    You don’t need to ruminate over them. You don’t need to amplify the negativity. If you’re at that point, you have been with them long enough.

    It’s time to shift and release them.

    So, take your past out (metaphorically) from behind you, acknowledge it was hard, that you are stuck and then DECIDE you are going to shift your present and future moments. Decide you’re going to put that past out in front and say, today is going to be different.

    Realize it’s not your fault that this is so hard. You’re human so you have a large, large bias to the negative. It’s the way our species has survived. The survival centers of our brain like our amygdala are primed to keep us safe. And cortisol, our stress hormone, further sensitizes us, makes us believe the negative even more, and the next thing we know, we expect the negative all darn day. (Familiar?)

    It’s normal to be affected by our traumas, to have anxieties and fears. We’re only human.

    But let’s adopt the mindset that we CAN move forward. Even if you aren’t ready. Just decide you CAN. You’re human which means you can do this. Other humans have done this. So can you.

    That’s the first, most important step.

  2. Now, that you are looking your past issue square in the eye…Decide you are going to find the good every day.

    Literally, how can you find the good each day? Through gratitude journaling, through music, through an appreciation for the small things, however you can do it, do it. Find an activity you love and do it even for just a few minutes. Find a friend you love and call them or go out so you can connect and let out some good ol’ oxytocin, our connecting and tending hormone. It makes us feel GOOD!

    Find some way to appreciate life in big or small ways. And then, let that soak in. Marinate in THAT instead.

    Literally soak in that good vibration. Don’t let it go without recognizing it. You spend enough of the day acknowledging the hard. Now, instead, take a few breaths and really feel all that good.

    See, when you feel good, your brain’s reward centers let out dopamine and it makes you want more of that good thing. So you look for THAT instead.

And then we repeat and rinse, over and over. Over and over.

So let’s summarize.

Notice the rumination, the stuck-ness. Look at it. Put it out in front of you. And say, today is the day this changes.

Find something good instead. Do, think or move in a good way. And really feel it. Don’t do it while you look at your phone. Don’t do it and just rush off to your next thing today. Soak in it. Let' your brain’s good vibe chemicals soak in it.

Just because you have pain in your life, doesn’t mean your life has to be only pain. Fill it with other things, until the pain is JUST one thing.

Place the past in front like a teacher of a classroom and honor it, do the homework, and then let it go like a cap at the best graduation ceremony you ever had.

You see, you feel all these difficult emotions ‘cause you’re human. Yes, that’s true.

But you have the potential and the capacity to rewire your brain and redefine your experience ‘cause you’re human. And that’s also truth. It goes both ways.

(The fancy word for that is neuroplasticity and your brain can do that as well as the next person.) 💪🏽

YOU just have to believe it.

And if you’re thinking, “this sounds really hard” (yep, I can hear you), then realize it’s even harder with pain being so prominent and ruling your life.

You can do this!

Now, as always, let me know how that resonates or doesn’t. Let me know if anything shifts. And most of all, just let me know you’re out there. ‘Cause sometimes it gets lonely behind this computer 😘

Live well,
Tanmeet

Tanmeet Sethi8 Comments