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‘ You’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on ‘

This is a quote from the movie Forrest Gump, attributed to Forrest’s mother. See the movie if you have not already done so, it is full of wisdom.

The past can be a big drag on us to a much greater extent than we realise. We can talk ourselves into thinking that we ‘have put the past behind us’ when at an emotional level this may not yet be the case.

Examples of baggage from the past that affect us today are :
– past hurts inflicted on us
– our own shame and guilt for past actions
– old thought/feeling patterns
– past attachments to people and things eg ‘the good old days’ remembered through ‘rose tinted spectacles’

There can be a certain comfort in the familiar, and this applies to our habitual thoughts and feelings, even if we can easily see that they do not serve us now and maybe never did.

What is often behind our hanging on to the past is a fear of the future and the unknown – the logic of ‘the devil you  know is better than the devil you don’t know’. The trouble with this is that fear based thinking  limits us and keeps us from the very happiness that we long  for, and is there for the taking if we only have the courage to reach out and grasp it.

Of course, setting out in new directions can be daunting. Once we open the Pandoras box of possibilities who knows where it might take us. Try to be ‘ok’ with this,  replacing ‘fear’ with ‘excitement’ at the prospect! If we square up to our demons they are usually not as bad as we have assumed.

But how can we be sure that we will be doing the ‘right thing’ by letting go? The simple answer is that we don’t and it may be a gradual process.  Sit with the possibility until it feels right to move on.  In the end the change may come naturally and there will be a quiet peace and certainty associated with it.


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