Four Steps to Embracing the Past
It’s funny how negative past experiences seem to have much more depth than positive ones. However, people must learn to embrace them all the same. Emotions play an important role in the way memories stick around. Thus, here are four steps to embracing the past and transforming the negative emotions that surround them.
To do this, you must keep in mind that your life history has a lot to do with who you are today. Your experiences have shaped you. People shape themselves with certain characteristics and temperaments that make them either introverted, neurotic, nervous, or optimistic.
In reality, personality requires more time to come out, and, in the meantime, you’re also molded by many other external factors. Some events also impact you more than others. Everyone has experienced more or less harmful situations on a daily basis. These events often make one’s world collapse, and violent events lead to trauma.
Embracing the past
People sometimes look back to the past and the memories produce the kind of pain or discomfort that’s hard to describe. Things that didn’t go as planned, experiences with bad people, and, in many cases, the feeling of having made a mistake.
All of this has a weight in day-to-day life and some of us aren’t even aware of the fact that it partly directs our lives and decision-making. On many occasions, people travel through life with too much baggage and carry the shadow of guilt, shame, fears, and frustrations. All of them produced by past events.
This is why it’s so important to review your backpack. To do so you can put into practice these four steps to embracing your past, healing it, and going on with your life with lighter emotions.
“Today is tomorrow’s yesterday.”
Rehashing the past
Re-evaluate the events that happened in the past by remembering them. Then, try to see them in a new light and from a different perspective. It may be that you didn’t have the right tools or that you didn’t have the life experience you have now when they happened.
The human being evolves and only the emotion associated with an experience remains oftentimes. The same experience, seen in the present with new eyes, may seem different now. Perhaps it’ll even make sense. This is one of the four steps to embracing the past: don’t be afraid to remember.
This is because bringing painful memories into the present and looking at them again, with all of the details and in a completely honest way with yourself, can help you see things clearly. Thus, forgive yourself, forgive others, and erase the bad experience somehow.
Resolve the anger of unmet expectations
The second of the four steps to embracing the past is about life experiences you may have stored in your memory. The ones that make you angry just by thinking about them.
The obstruction of your desires or expectations can lead to great anger and generate much confusion in your memory of the event in question. This memory is clouded by a kind of deceptive fog. Discerning whether an event makes you angry because it was frustrating helps you understand it was just that. You wouldn’t be so angry if the same thing happened today.
Embracing the past by strengthening the power of memory
Mindfulness plays a very important role in the exercise of bringing memories into the present. Pay strict attention to the experiences you remember and analyze the details. Then, link one idea to another as it helps you find points of similarity and connection with other events. As you can see, this is a good way to understand the nature of the memory and the negative emotion. This is because you carry part of it on your back.
Always remember the good things
Okay, so far you’ve read about memories of negative experiences and you’re aware of how these still affect you. In contrast, begin to bring positive memories and pleasant experiences to your mind. This is because limiting your memory is a way to limit your life.
Indeed, the good times make you feel good, but you’re erasing much of the essence of your own life when you allow bad experiences to deeply affect you. If you think about it, a balance of good, pleasant, and positive experiences considerably outnumber the negative ones.
Finally, cleaning your memories is an important step to travel the world with good memories. Some say only memories remain at the end of life. Thus, it doesn’t hurt to go through that suitcase from time to time and make sure your memories are good because they fulfill you. As you can see, embracing the past is really about living in the present.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Kensinger E. A. (2009). Remembering the Details: Effects of Emotion. Emotion review : journal of the International Society for Research on Emotion, 1(2), 99–113. doi:10.1177/1754073908100432
- Wielenga, Cori. (2013). Healing and reconciliation after violent conflict: the role of memory in South Africa and Rwanda. Acta Academica. 45. 209-231.
- Scott, Elisabeth (2018) 3 Ways to Savor Your Experiences and Get the Most Out of Life. Verywell Mind. Recuperado de https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-for-savoring-life-3144478
- Ananda (2015) Remember Only Good Things. From lessons and articles. Ananda, Joy is within you Blog