Many of us have pain and negative circumstances in our past. We have failures. We have regrets. We’ve had people treat us in ways that we wish we hadn’t been treated. We’ve made mistakes. We’ve felt pain. We’ve done things we wish we hadn’t done. We feel like we’ve had a lot of failures and been through many challenging experiences.
When we think about these experiences, we often become discouraged about the future because we are defining ourselves by our past. What if we took an alternative approach?
Just play with me here. What if you looked at your past as if it were perfect? What if it happened exactly how it was supposed to and there were no mistakes? What if your past was just education and preparation?
There is no reason to argue with the past or wish it were different. It’s already over. It already happened the way it was going to and no amount of emotional energy right now is going to change that.
What if you used your emotional energy towards something that you can impact? Your future! Imagine the possibilities if you let go of the idea that your past somehow determines your future.
You can let go of self-defeating thoughts such as, “That’s just how I’ve always done it.” “That never works for me.” “This is just how I am.” “I’ve never been good at [fill in the blank].” All those thoughts are focused on the past.
Everything that has ever been accomplished on the planet wasn’t done in the past. You learned to walk when you had never walked in the past. The printing press was invented by someone who had never invented a printed press in the past. The computer was invented by someone who had never succeeded in making a computer in the past. What if Apple never made an iPhone because it had never been done in the past? We would be missing out on so much if everyone allowed the past to dictate their future.
While it is useful to learn from your past and grow from the mistakes you’ve made, it’s not useful to define yourself by what you haven’t accomplished yet. It’s time to focus on the future. The past is over. You can’t change it. You can’t get any younger. No matter how hard you try.
Stop wasting time mulling over the past, wondering how it could have been different, and making up scenarios in which things would have worked out better if you had just made a better choice (who knows, things might have turned out worse if you had made that decision). The past is over.
"The time has now come to turn about and face the future. This is a season of a thousand opportunities. It is ours to grasp and move forward." (Gordon B. Hinkley Oct. 1997)
The future is yours for the taking. It doesn’t need to repeat the past. It doesn’t have to look anything like your past. It is your current thoughts that are creating your future. What do you want to think NOW? What do you want to think now about your past? What do you want to think now about your future?
You choose the story you tell yourself about your past, present, and future.
What if your past was exactly what it was supposed to be and your future is unlimited?