Leave The Baggage Of The Past In The Past
The other day my son said “I keep wishing I had done things differently back ten years ago” and many people say this and even cry over things from the past and it holds them back. I believe hindsight is 20/20. It is not to keep us bogged down and burden us with guilt and sadness. It should be 20/20 hindsight to help us do things differently for the future.
Forgiving is an essential part of leaving the baggage of the past behind. This means forgiving those that hurt you whether they have asked or not, whether they have apologized or not. AND it means forgiving yourself for making mistakes for we all make mistakes.
We really should not carry our past around and hold on to it with both hands and keep putting it in our present. Our past is to teach us not hinder us.
I love this quote and picture above for it is a very visual thing by using our past and the mistakes we make to learn from by using them as stepping stones. Not as something we keep in the present all the time to make us feel bad but as something that inspires us to do it a different way. It took me a long time to realize this because I held on to the past and probably had steamer trunks instead of baggage. When I learned to forgive, I learned that first you forgive others for what they did to you. This is not saying they were innocent or right. It is forgiving and letting it go and not letting it be a burden on our shoulders and it is learning to forgive ourselves for all the mistakes we made. That was the day I went from victim to survivor. And as time has passed and I continue to work on myself, I have moved from survivor to thriver.
I believe our lives are made of choices but I had to learn that. Most of us were never taught how to make positive choices in life and instead we just stumbled through the best we could. And after much work, I started making choices for my life. Some were good choices and some were not but as I learned, I begin to make better and better choices. This does not mean that I never make bad ones even now because I still do make bad choices but I am quicker to recognize it now. And one of the first choices I made was to resolve my past. Once I had come to terms with, forgiven, and owned the story of my past and decided it was not going to be my present or my future, I was able to start living and not be bogged down with baggage from the past. I want to be the bus driver of my present and future and of course, being a person of faith, I want God as my pilot.
I believe that we hold on to the past because it is familiar even when it has bad in it. We know what to expect so we take a death grip on it and it stays in our present. I think it is fear that makes people hold so tightly to the past because they are afraid of what the future will bring that they might not know how to handle. We do that in relationships. We keep dating the same kind of person that treated us badly because it is what we know and trying to do it differently creates anxiety and fear. But, I can tell you from experience that once you let go of the baggage of the past, you never want to pick it up again. Once you start making better choices, life becomes this wonderful buffet of experiences just waiting for us.
It is like dreams. Many people are afraid to follow their dreams because they worry..”What if it does not work?”….”What if we lose it all?”, “What if…what if…what if?” …and the truth is, the things we worry about are failing or losing possessions. And possessions are just things that can be replaced. You can not replace your loved ones. And when we hold on to the past, we are affecting our relationship with our loved ones. I have told the story before of the two 70-year-old sisters who had been angry and hurt with each other and did not speak for 50 years. Just think of all the time lost as they held on to the past instead of forgiving and letting go. And when asked why they quit speaking, they could not tell you but they remained estranged.
Today is a new day and offers so many possibilities; the possibility of renewing relationships, of healing your heart, of forgiving and of making choices for you that help make your life better. Only you can grab on to those possibilities. No one can do it for you. People may try to drag you along to reach this goal but after a while, they get tired of dragging. So get on the bus and be your own driver and deal with all the baggage from the past and then drop it off somewhere and reach for the future. You can do it. I know because if I can, so can you.
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