When you look back on your past, how does it make you feel?
Now, how does it feel when you let it go?
This past summer, we had a leak in our basement. Parts of our past are now covered in mold and it forced me to come face to face with previous chapters of my life.
So here I am with boxes upon boxes of things I have carried around and clung on to for roughly 16 years. Reflecting on the history of where I came from versus where I am today.
Step 1 – Acknowledge Your Past
When sorting through my past belongings, a few different feelings came up. Everything from ‘Wow, that’s so not me anymore’ to ‘Wow, I actually accomplished that.’ An important part of the process was to recognize and acknowledge the person I was and how that previous version of myself shaped me into the person I am now.
Reflecting on my past made me realize that even though it looked like I was having the time of my life – I was not a happy person. I think I had everything a little twisted, my habits were not in line with anything I currently value. But, I also came across a few of my goals, what I previously aimed for and seeing what I accomplished surprised me and felt really good.
When you take the time to acknowledge the good, the bad and the ugly from your past, then you can begin to move forward.
Step 2 – Appreciate Your Past (shed a tear if necessary)
It’s powerful to look back and be reminded of what you went through, how you felt, how you behaved and ultimately, all the decisions you made. Looking back forces you to look forward and appreciate who you have become, how far you have come and what you actually manifested in your life that you previously envisioned. This shift in perspective will give your past a new found value.
Once you fully accept all you have been through – your childhood, how your parents affected you, past relationships, jobs…
Remember these stories, learn from them, take note of how they propelled you forward – but don’t hang on to them longer than necessary.
Step 3 – Let It Go
Seeing my belongings now physically falling apart – it’s therapeutic to let go.
It’s one thing to think about and reminisce on the past, but to hold it, look at the pictures, read the words you wrote – that’s where letting go can become a challenge for some. But in this way, the freedom is that much more sweet.
It’s easy to get stuck on where we have been, instead of looking ahead to where we are going.
Your history is part of you, it’s something you will never forget. But the unknown is still out there, so remember to look forward not back.
Mike Watts is an entrepreneur, speaker, husband, and father.
Before becoming an all around badass by radically reinventing his own life, he used to work for Phillip Morris. Today, he shows business owners how to expand their choices, do less and create the financial lives they want.