How To Forget The Past and Forge Ahead With The Future

Today is the future you worried about yesterday...

     This post was requested by carsma.

A brass elephant, a miniature New York fire hydrant and a champagne cork.

These are all in my Memory Box.

We bought the box – an old wooden print box with lots of tiny compartments – in Italy. I loved it because it was so old but we bought it to keep our memories safe.

Every time we travelled, here or abroad, we brought back a small ‘something’ to capture a memory. There’s a happy story attached to each one, and when I look at the box on my wall I am right back in those  memorable moments.

We’d like to forget many events of our past. Tragedies, illnesses, dark days filled with worry. Strangely, the bookshops are full of misery memoirs, telling every detail of abuse, neglect and hopelessness in people’s past. It’s the bad news of other people’s miserable lives that attracts some readers, not the good memories.

Here are my thoughts on:

How to Forget the Past and Forge Ahead with the Future.

  1. What does the past mean to you?
  • This will be different for everyone, obviously, but I believe the past plays an important part in our lives.
  • The past is where you learnt to live, to grow, to develop.
  • The past is where you ‘fell over’, made a fool of yourself, treated your parents badly, were rude to your friends, married foolishly – I’m sure you could write a book – I know I could…
  • The past helped to create the person you are today.

2.   What can you do if your ‘bad’ feelings about your past    are  affecting your life in the present ?

  • The past should not be forgotten. It happened. You can’t change it. But what you can change is: your attitude to it.
  • The past shapes your future. You try to leave your mistakes behind, to learn from them, but it’s hard to do. That’s just the way it is. You tend to dwell on the things you’d rather forget. But you need to remember that it wasn’t all bad.
  • You need to tell yourself that much of the past was good. There were plenty of happy times, champagne moments, celebrations, amongst the bad times.

3.   The future never comes.

  • The future only exists in your head.
  • You make plans, you make decisions, you make choices today.
  • You can affect your future, by taking wise actions today.
  • You can forge ahead with your future by learning from and listening to the past.

4.   Forge ahead with your future, today.

  • Perhaps you’d like to start a Memory Box. Choose a container that delights you whenever you look at it and keep it where you can see it, not hidden away in a cupboard.
  • Look around the house for those ‘happy memory triggers’. Photos, receipts, empty perfume bottles, cards, letters, an acorn in its shell (one of my memories), a cork. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.
  • Perhaps writing about the happy times would work for you. Choose a pretty notebook and keep it ready for jotting down those memories as they come to you.
  • Remember… tomorrow never comes, it’s always today.

If your past is mainly dominated by painful memories, you need to make sure that you focus on the happier times however few you think there were.

It’s impossible to make the past ‘go away’ but it is possible to focus on the positives. They are there, you just need to search them out and keep them safe.

How do you deal with your past?

What strategies do you use?

Please tell us in the comments.

Header image by cursedthing and post image by U-g-g-B-o-y, both on Flickr.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “How To Forget The Past and Forge Ahead With The Future

  1. I can see a great future with your post today!
    I started my blog for the main reason of overshadowing the pain of the past with happy things that it may become insignificant in the times to come. My memory box then is my site and it will show that sometimes I slip back but most of the times I leap forward — that is a significant progress, I would say. Here’s to celebration, everyday! 🙂

    • A great reason for a blog, Rea. It is possible to put the pain of the past out of our minds but it takes an effort sometimes, I know.
      Glad you’re ‘leaping forward’!

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