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How many of us are holding onto things from the past that we no longer need? We all have baggage that we carry around from the past; indeed, our past is part of what makes us uniquely us. We all have a combination unique experiences, memoires, hard times that we've faced and triumphs we've celebrated that we share with no other person on the planet.
However, isn't it true that while our past guides us and informs us, at times it may also prevent us from moving forward?
Sometimes, our past prevents us from viewing the world from a fresh and exciting lens; instead, we look at it from a weary and suspicious one. Your past can make you afraid of confronting your future and of enjoying your present.
Think about it this way; haven't we all at some point or another had a difficult relationship? With family, with friends, with lovers, with coworkers? And sometimes, when forming new relationships, don't we tend to be pessimistic about the outcomes based on these previous relationships?
Another scenario; maybe your past hasn't been the most ideal. You had a difficult childhood, a career that always seemed like it took more out of you than it gave you, no real friends to confide in and a family life that was less than fulfilling. Finally, things start looking up. Maybe you get a new job, you finally start to have real conversations to make peace with your past, and you meet people you realise will be with you for a while to come, for better or for worse. How many of us in such a situation would start to self-sabotage, would start to think we don't deserve this happiness, that it couldn't possibly be real? How many of us, in such a situation, tend to focus on one negative over twenty positives? Stop and think about it for a second; your experiences in your past are wrongly influencing your experiences in the future.
How do we get around letting the past drag us down? Don't give your feelings more importance than they deserve. This may sound weird, but remember that cognitive biases are a very real thing that influence us every single day!
Forgiveness is important. Not just forgiving others for what they might have done (or not done), but forgiving yourself, too. Loving yourself and being kind to yourself are the first steps in allowing others to do so too.
Don't completely forget about the past; appreciate it. Be grateful for it. Appreciate the good times as well as the bad times, because they've all come together in a uniquely beautiful way to teach you in a way that only you could benefit from.