“The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.” – Steve Marboli
Have you ever ran into someone from years back and found yourself surprised about their present life condition, whether it was a career path choice or simply their mere presentation? We may never admit this to anyone, but in various occasions we probably have all experienced this at one time or another. Perhaps we were the topic of the discussion. It’s kinda like looking back at a yearbook and recalling who was the most or least likely to succeed or fail miserably, but once you encountered them years later everything was quite different from what you could have imagined. The perceptions we carry about how someone’s life should turn out based on what we thought we knew about them can often be totally off the mark. In these cases we tend to make predictions or presumptions based on real life experiences or things we may have learned through family or friend interactions. Whether the information is based on facts or not I have learned that it really doesn’t matter. It’s what we’re doing now and how one chooses to live their lives in the present moment that counts. In other words our past should not necessarily define our future, but sometimes in life we seemingly inherit a bag of crap that follows us for the majority of our lives, like having a monkey on our backs. We respond to circumstances as predicted by others until we essentially re-write our own script for living a life of gloom and doom, all based on a mindset that we believe is ours to own due to past predicaments.
It is certainly true that we all have a past that we may not be proud of, and would rather not disclose any of it, but what happens when the world does know? What happens when our bad business hits the streets by no fought of our own, and we have to face it head on? Do we then choose to live a life of shame, disgrace and endless embarrassment or do we allow our past to predetermine our future actions? Many of us have been there and have had to make the best of the aftermath, and we realize that life does go on. The key is how we choose to live and show up with the rest of our lives?
At some point we must refrain from apologizing and return to living our lives with purpose and meaning. It’s not that we don’t have remorse or even regret the steps we took that introduced pain into someone’s else’s life, but at some point we have to begin again. We have to live our lives as if they matter and are significant no matter what the majority has to say. This decision requires three things for success in my opinion. They are as follows:
1. Courage – A quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear. When we have to face a past that isn’t filled with dignity and honor, one of the hardest things to do is to own up to it. No one really wants to do that, but true courage is about doing just that. It’s like an inner strength that defies naysayers, self-doubt and a guilt-complex. As a lion is top of the food chain and displays no fear in the jungle, so must you become during this time. Fear will ruin any opportunity you have for hitting the reset button in your life. There will always be someone or some thing that reminds you of what you were, but the key word here is, “were”. And until you come to the place where your past is truly behind you, a life of consistent limitations await you. Ready to declare what you cannot accomplish and believe any longer. This decision is not for the faint of heart, for you must own the negative aspects of your life in order to move towards the positive ones that await you. Courage exemplified will not only take ownership for the past, but it causes you to be hopeful towards a bright future, despite all circumstances.
2. Humility – A disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride. Humility is critical with moving forward because by definition it means you that you typically have taken or are ready to take full responsibility for your actions. In turn this can also initiate the healing essential for making progressive steps towards a better future. Humility says, “Yes, I did this”, but it also allows for release and restoration, which is imperative for obtaining better tomorrows. Humility helps to remove the guards and walls that divide us from recognizing the raw truth and allows for transparent conversation and more importantly self-reflection that lead to steps toward positive action and engagement with others.
3. Endurance – The power to withstand hardship or stress. Endurance may be the most important one of all three, because without it we will fall short of accomplishing the ultimate goal, which is to live our best lives despite our past. We must be in this for the long haul, for the temptation to quit will always be at our doorsteps. Even when we get tired we must not relent to what seems simpler, for this decision possibly returns us to a place of doubt, guilt and fear. Endurance says, “I am here to stay, and I will not give in to what was once me.” The ones that still choose to remind you of your past will eventually lose their effectiveness to be persuasive or significant. It will be your job to never quit and remain hopeful to what lies ahead.
As you enter the stage of your new beginnings with courage, humility and endurance, I pray that you will find peace as I have. I emphasize these steps are not for the faint of heart, for they require a level of commitment throughout the journey. Things will certainly get difficult and sometimes these things get worse before they get better, but this may be the road you are destined to take. Prepare yourself for it, because it is worth every step that you take.
So as you’re tempted like so many of us to check the rear view mirror of your life, be assured that you are not your past. There can always be a potentially a brighter future before you, but yes it depends on you. One that recognizes that we all fall short, but also realizes that life is not nearly over following a set of poor decisions or mishaps. To the contrary, life as you know it could be just beginning. And maybe it’s only you that has finally realized that the guy or girl from times past who was destined to be a failure in the minds of many has turned their life around. Now as you step on the scene as the past “least likely” the world must recognize the new and legitimate you that embraces the courage, humility and endurance essential for not being defined by your past.
At the end of the day always remember that you are more than your past. There is a bright future ahead of you. The most difficult part is not achieving what is destined to be yours, but the belief that it actually can be.