When The Past Becomes The Guide
People tend to rely on the past as a means to prepare for the future. While it is true we need to learn from our mistakes, are we allowing the past to control our future?
Picking a time in my past that was riddled with mistakes and completely altered my life course, I ponder on how things could have gone differently. We tend to focus only on the negative and often times allow that negativity to guide our present and future decisions. Unfortunately, this way of thinking doesn’t help us resolve the conflicts or problems that haunt our memories.
If we use the past as a guide and look for the things that went right instead of focusing on the negative, we have a valuable tool at our disposal. Using what we know today and incorporating the positive things of the past helps us make better future decisions.
I recall a matter between an individual who was very close in the business sense as well as being a close friend. I trusted this person with my back in every sense. I knew he was going through an extreme amount of turmoil in his professional and family life. I too was caught up in my own personal life struggles. While we were very close, we really didn’t know each other like we thought. If we could have looked at the struggles each of us was facing, together, we might have avoided a head-on clash of wills. A clash that would last for years. An unfortunate error called “being human”.
We each had our own set of values for life, complete with its checks and balances. But were those checks and balances flawed? Could either of us today remember the real story the way it really happened or did we just reflect the story as it related to our own concept of reality? The pictures we have of life are often murky when we are facing difficulties. Truth too often gets in the way. Our anger and our feelings of being wounded cloud our better judgment.
Letting the Past Guide the Way
The upside to many of our past problems is knowing that the past is also filled with things that went right. Things that are good and bring light and happiness to the faces of those who care to remember. If we use the things that went right we can help make the present much more relaxing, and the future peaceful. Letting go of our flawed memories is a good start.
I acknowledge that some things in the past need to stay there. But for the honest mistakes and misunderstandings, the old saying Let It Go applies. When the past becomes the guide you are on the path to regaining those valued relationships. Trust can be re-established and friendships renewed, but it’s a focus on what went right that will get you there.