We all want to find love, acceptance, security, meaning, connection & an understanding in our relationships that we can TRUST. For most of my adult life, I carried the burden of a past that had seemingly robbed me of the ability to attract and feel worthy of such an impossibility. The result? Stagnation. I could never evolve because I held onto grudges, memories, details, moments, words, pain and experiences from my past that had reduced the present moment into what felt like a never ending prison sentence. I wanted to love again, feel again, LIVE again and emotionally exhale once and for all – without the anchor of what was and the ghost of f*cktards past weighing me down.
What I learned the hard way:
Until you let go of the past (and the heartbreak, angst, grief & unfinished business associated with it), you will never be able to fully love and trust (yourself & others). You’ll also never be truly loved and trusted the way that you want and deserve to be.
& because we ultimately attract relationships that reflect the one we have with ourselves, you’ll become a relationsh*t magnet.
By continuing to allow the heaviness of the past to weight down the bar that you’ve consistently decided to set for yourself, you’ll never be able to attract anything that remotely deviates from the how low that bar has become.
I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted trying to outsmart and negate the above statements. For years, I engaged in a pattern of gravitating toward “project” lovers and friends that I had to be “good enough” for so that they’d choose me, change for me and I could be the exception to their rule.
Why I stayed on this wash-rinse-repeat cycle for so long:
My low self esteem, society, school, friends, family, etc., had me convinced that I just needed to get “stronger,” so that I could better carry the burden of a heavy past. The majority of my life was thus occupied with trying to “build the strength,” to carry the past on my emotional back… as opposed to taking off that way-too-heavy, out of date backpack for good.
That heavy backpack had become my adult pacifier. Yeah, I guess could have gone without it for a minute, but I always had to know that it was within reach.
I couldn’t recognize the badassness & STRENGTH that the pain of my past had birthed and therefore, never had the courage to let go of it, trust and love again.
Although it was painful, I was more comfortable “telling my story” to anyone that I thought could potentially rescue me and remaining a victim to events that had ALREADY come and GONE.
And as much as I didn’t like to be in pain, there was a certain level of comfort that carrying the pain of my past provided. Continuing to subscribe to the pain (and the self-limiting beliefs it bred), soon gave me the one thing I was never able to constructively give myself: an identity.
The past (and my pain/beliefs associated with it), became my identity and thus, ultimately detracted everything that I claimed to want and become in life. The more abandoned and alone I felt, the more I’d hang onto the past (and a corresponding identity), that did nothing more than and solidify the pain of my reality.
When I finally learned how to let go, I started to live a life in spite of a painful past, as opposed to one that was sabatoged and plagued by it.
Here are 5 steps to letting go of the past (once & for all), so that you can live, trust & love again:
Acknowledge the payout.
As humans, we will only continue to engage in something (no matter how destructive or negative the impact), if there’s a part of us that truly believes there’s a payout which supersedes the impact in some way, shape or form (whether it be logical or illogical). The first step in letting go of the past so that you can trust and love again, is to acknowledge that some level of fulfillment is extracted from holding onto it. I know that for me, I found more solace in the justification that the past provided for the subpar, lackluster life I was leading, than I did in facing my fear of constructing a positive belief system (& ACTING upon it). I couldn’t take being abandoned, rejected; being made to feel worthless or failing AGAIN, so I gravitated toward a past that had not only already checked all of those proverbial boxes, but that defined me as such. So, when I received the blows that life inevitably threw my way, I went right back under the comfort blanket of a painful past. What are you holding onto? What’s the payout? I’m here to tell you that choosing to subscribe to an inflated belief system that’s fertilized by a painful past (and low self esteem), will do nothing more than rob you of joy, gratitude, luck, your LIFE and your potential. If you want to trust and love again, acknowledge the payout and access if it’s really worth it.
It can only be given life support & propelled. It can’t be changed.
You obviously can’t change the past, you can only continue to keep it on life support, perpetuate it and allow it to poison the present moment by CHOOSING to subscribe to a story that is based on making assumptions and taking what happened personally. I have the honor of talking to people everyday that have been through the most horrific spiritual breakage and pain one could ever imagine. This however, is not the reason that they continue to find themselves in pain. The reason that you can’t escape from the pain of the past is because you make the decision everyday, to hit the “I’m-not-good-enough” pipe in the form of subscribing to an identity that you’ve allowed the past to construct. And because habitual consistency breeds expertise, you soon become an EXPERT time traveller – not only time traveling at any given moment, but choosing to give life support to what has (and will always be), behind you: the past; what was. Putting the past on 24/7 life support is EXPENSIVE. The spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical costs are far too great. Make the decision to pull the plug now before it’s too late.
Identifying your identity.
The reason that I took so much comfort in allowing the pain of the past to shape my identity, was because it justified all of the poor decisions I was making in my romantic relationships, friendships, familial relationships and in my personal & professional life (payout !!). I loved complaining about how everyone and everything was holding me back when in reality, I WAS holding me back by DECIDING to allow the belief system that the past had bread, to override my free thinking mind.
My “aha!” breaking point moment came when I faced, honored and acknowledged my pain instead of allowing it continue to take on a life of its own. No matter how comfortable I was holding onto my past for dear life, there always remained this little, un-dimmable light of hope that no amount of trauma could ever fully shut off (if there wasn’t that very same light within you, you would not be reading this right now). You CAN trust and love again. The mere fact that you’re searching for a way to let go of the past means that you eventually WILL – it’s just up to you whether you decide to do it now or down the line (after more invaluable time has been lost).
The greatest propellant of all time.
I used to blame what happened in the past for all of the bad in my life; for the fact that I felt like I could never trust anyone and love again. Now, I “blame” the past for the trust, success and love that I emanate. If I had the perfect childhood, the perfect family, the perfect upbringing, etc., I wouldn’t have had such a burning desire for BETTER. Finally facing the past put a fire under my ass that propelled me into living the kind of life that I never thought I could call my own.
Use the fire as FUEL, the pain as MOTIVATION and allow your actions to prove that cynical audience in your head WRONG. It’s never too late.
You are so much more than what’s already come and gone.