Let the Past Pass.

Many of us go through recovery of some sort throughout the course of our lives. Whatever curveballs life chooses to throw at us, we have to pick ourselves back up each time and carry on. Be it the recovery of the passing of a loved one, the recovery from a physical illness, the recovery from a mental illness, the recovery from an addiction or even just a particularly rough night out.

Sometimes it's challenging to let go of the memories of how we were before recovery. Our behaviour, frustration, low mood or whatever we did when we weren't our true selves can reverberate around our heads long after. And not only that but we if we let ourselves consider those around us who saw us like that, the guilt coupled with cringing can be pretty crippling.

When we choose recovery, we choose to let the past go. But when it's been such a big part of our life, how we can do that?

Acknowledge - Bring awareness to the fact that yes, what happened in the past wasn't ideal but yes, it has happened. Any untoward behaviour, actions, choices or outbursts that came from ourselves during that time are out there. Ditch the denial and acknowledge that when we were under the influence of tough times, our intentions and actions didn't always match up. Insecurity, anxiety or depression impair our judgement. Instead of being ourselves we find ourselves in irritable intolerance for the world and of course that affects our actions.

Forgive - Once we acknowledge that what's done is done, we need to forgive ourselves. Maybe we wish we could take it all back, but the fact is that we can't. And even if we did, it'd change all the learning and growth we'd get out of it now so maybe it happened for a reason. The point is, holding onto guilt or regret weighs us down and like any good airline, we've got to restrict the baggage we carry in order to fly into our future.

Own your choice - Choosing to change is a solid committed choice. When we forgive ourselves for the past we can truly commit to taking control of our present. Recovery is the catalyst to discovering who we really are and transforming into our authentic, happier selves. If a thought comes in about your past let it bounce off the shield of your choice to recover. Stay focused on improving upon where you started, keep moving forward and working at making the past a distant memory.

Walk the Talk - If you're moving on, your actions better match that fact. Back up your words with what you do. If you want to prove to others that you're a different person now, don't try to convince them with talk. Let the recovery speak for itself. Let it ooze from you with the confidence and freedom of someone who has overcome their struggles. When you get really into your present, totally engaged in all that life has to give you now, you have no reason to beat yourself up with your past. Its influence becomes smaller and smaller.

F*ck the Begrudgers - People are always interesting in their reactions to our choices. Some may not believe or support your decisions. Some may not understand. Some may pass uninformed judgement. If others feel the need to bring up your past or doubt your authenticity, believe me it says more about them than it does about you. Move on with those who embrace your present and future and relish in your positive changes. Those that mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind. You know what you're doing.

Learn - The past is for learning. For some of us with colourful journeys, it's almost an encyclopedia of how not to do things, so there's plenty of lessons to be taken. The important thing is to apply these learnings. As the quote goes, 'insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results'. If we don't change anything, then of course nothing changes. Reflecting on the past is helpful when we know we're not going to linger there, we're just going to take the knowledge of our experience and enrich our present with it.

Grieve - As we're closing a significant chapter in life, there is a time where we need to grieve this experience. It's ok to realise that we've been through a hell of a lot and it's natural to get upset for the person we were when we endured that. When we look back and acknowledge what we've put ourselves through or some of the intense emotions we've felt, it's not to be taken lightly. It was dark and sad and now we need to let that part of life go. We need to let go of any guilt, anger or sadness and decide to move on, using the past as just a reference point, not a resting place.

Take pride in choosing to move on and embrace all that recovering will give you. We all have a past and that's what has led us to where we are now. There's no point using it as ammo against ourselves, it's there to teach us and our present gives us the opportunity every single day to write a new chapter of our story.


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