Making Peace With the PastSep 06, 2021
“Peace begins with you.” - Manhee Lee
Whether we like it or not, our past experiences shape who we become. These events can help us learn, lead happier lives, but they can also leave us with loss, shame and regret. The first thing you need to accept is that the outcome of your life today has been largely shaped by you. The decisions you made. The ideologies you chose to live by. How you learned to adapt and respond to situations in your environment and so much more.
It can be difficult to see past the result of what your past generated your current reality to be. We look at our previous relationships, the “bad” choices we made, the moments we weren’t living in our values, and are often not happy with what we see. The immediate response is usually blaming external factors or people instead of focusing on nourishing yourself. Yes, the past may have exposed you to harsh conditions and crappy situations, some of which may have been out of your control, but if you continue to live with the bitterness and resentment of the past, you’ll miss out on the joy of living in the present.
When we focus on accepting that what happened, happened, and yes it wasn't right, however, then move on to attending to our own needs, we start to see positive change. Like a tree producing bad fruit, our primary focus is to address the root of the problem rather than focusing on treating the symptoms. Be at peace with the past and do what you can now to create the reality you desire.
Deal with past trauma
Almost everyone went through different kinds of trauma, be it physical, emotional, verbal, domestic, or childhood abuse and trauma. Unfortunately, most people's needs are not met by their primary caregivers, despite our expectations. I don’t say this to place blame (we don’t know what we don’t know), but this has resulted in a generation of people struggling with all sorts of invisible, yet visible problems.
These include struggles with an identity crisis, self-worth, low self-esteem, constantly not feeling good enough, perfectionism paralysis, self-sabotage, imposter syndrome and so much more internal turmoil that throws our outer experiences into a roller coaster of chaotic experiences.
Ultimately, we can see that even though we are alive in the present, we are also very much attached to the past in a negative way that is no longer serving us. One will be entangled in all sorts of destructive coping mechanisms that often do not work; in most cases, they lead one to re-living their painful past.
Face the past, carry the lesson with you forever but not the past!
To evolve into becoming the best versions of ourselves we all need to face challenges. The attitude that we embrace is what will determine whether our past will make or break us. To be at peace with the past, one has to consciously decide to actively attain that peace. The following insights help aid one to finally be at peace with their past.
Awareness is the art of being mindful and enlightened about a particular thing. In this case, taking time to understand our past will help one to understand their present reality and take the lessons necessary. It frees one from being entangled in unhealthy behavioral patterns due to one's adverse past experiences.
An example of this can be someone who finds themselves in repeated “toxic” relationships with partners who end up trampling on them and not serving their needs. This pattern could be a result of growing up not learning how to love yourself. As a result, that person's past influences the individual to have dysfunctional relationships because they lack self-worth and esteem, which ends up affecting every other relationship that person has until they decide to learn to be aware of their past. Once they work on healing past traumas, they can apply the relevant remedies in the present and be at peace with their past, no longer hostage to re-living the same painful experiences in the present
Forgiveness, letting go, and moving on
Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different. Accepting that it has happened to you. This does not mean accepting that it was okay for it to happen, or letting some. It simply entails accepting that life will not always go the way we want it to and choosing to acknowledge that fact, and be at peace with it.
Letting go of the hurt frees you from being a prisoner of the past. It allows you to move on. Letting go is empowering and helps you be at peace with your past and invest more energy into your present. This way one undoubtedly takes back their power they would have given away to the past events or people still causing them to suffer.
Don't cheat on your future with your past, it's over. Choose peace, you can do it!
“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.” - Rupi Kaur
True self-love is one of the most profound lessons, and is able to nourish people's lives in profound ways when it is properly cultivated. It stems from the understanding that you cannot give what you do not have. The relationship you have with yourself will influence all other relationships you will have, be it with family, friends, your significant other, or strangers. To love others, you must love yourself first. It is also impossible for others to love you or treat you as you ought to be treated until you learn to take the lead and decide to love yourself first.
Or as Ru Paul said, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
Discover your true identity and purpose, dare to live it!
The two most important days in a person's life are the day you are born and the day you discover why. It is no doubt one of the biggest tragedies to have lived most of your life not knowing who your Creator created you to be and why. Wholeness and peace are attained when we become enlightened about who we truly are and why we were created. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to acquire that knowledge from your maker to be at peace in this life. Remember, you are not your story, your past, or your achievements - you are your values. By assessing your values, and living from that place, you will find clarity in your purpose and in turn, find peace.
Check out this blog post: Who Am I? Discovering Your Identity