Moving Past Our Past Into A Better Future

Have you wondered how we get past our past? In truth, we begin to live life forward in from an emotional, physical, mental and spiritual healthy state by understanding it backwards. “Our past isn’t for re-living but for remembering” (Gary McIntosh, Look Back, Leap Forward, 2001) only as it assists us moving forward to become healthy in all of the above dimensions in our lives. Here are three ways Michael suggests that people attempt to deal with their past.

  1. “You attempt to move forward in your life by pretending your past doesn’t exist either by denying it or suppressing it. You may attempt to move forward through sheer grit or determination, with staying fit, [ or substance abuse] all of which are methods of masking our past.” The truth is that unfair, bad, tragic things happen to totally innocent people through no fault of their own and yet they may feel guilty, ashamed, and this ghost from their past haunts them daily. Please do not assume guilt or shame that rightly doesn’t belong to you or as our books author puts it, “Don’t empty the trash can with the trash that isn’t yours.”
  2. You determine that you have to accept what has happened to you and so you must suffer through your life with this load of guilt and shame. You have surrendered to a helpless and hopeless mindset that says, “What was shall always be,” (author) ‘que sera, sera,’ or ‘it is what it is.’ “Are you aware that your past behavior is the greatest predictor of your future behavior, and what a person did is the most accurate predictor of what that person will do again?” Clearly these first two ways of dealing with our pain, shame, and guilt from our past are not the best ways to a healthy life. So let’s look at another more healthy way to address our past.
  3. We accept what has happened to us as a terrible tragedy, but we do not allow than incident or person(s) to control our lives presently nor negatively influence or impact our future. Our painful past can be something we use to assist ourselves in moving forward in a healthy way while assisting others who experienced similar pasts become overcomers in their lives. We can choose to use our painful past to honor God and help others move past their past. Michael states that “Hidden within life’s messes is a message. What is the message that God has for you that will make you smarter, stronger, better, and a more healthy person in all facets of your life. Do you see your past as a series of lessons that have made you wise?” He goes on to say that, “the reward for every struggle is the strength for our next struggle.”

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