How to Let Go of the Past

By In Life How To's, Lifestyle — April 12, 2016

We all had a childhood bully. There was a person that could make us feel like the scum of the earth.  They seemed to know exactly how to get under our skin.

We still remember those people sometimes.  Not the people, exactly, but the things they used to say to us.  In our darkest moments, their words seem to echo through our heads.  We resent those people.  They embody our greatest esteem issues, our greatest fears.

Let’s name our collective bully “Albert.”

We all have imagined our revenge.  Ten years from now, we happen to run into Albert.  Albert is fat, ugly, and single while we are driving a Lambo married to the hottest spouse imaginable.  (I’m not the only one who’s had that fantasy, right?)

Every time we achieve something we think to be impressive, we may think, “Well, what would Albert say now?!  I sure showed him!” even though we have no idea where Albert even is.  Albert isn’t our bully, he’s just the name of our greatest struggles.  Albert is the face of our fears, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

One of the most essential parts to living a fulfilling life is found in the ability to let go of the past, or more importantly, to learn from our past.  The key to both of those things is recognizing the mistakes that we made, forgiving ourselves for those mistakes and forgiving others for the mistakes that they made against us.  That means forgiving Albert.  Even though Albert was a jerk.

Additionally, we need to stop looking at our current fears and struggles as Albert.  Albert is a person too.  He doesn’t deserve all of our negative thoughts being channeled toward him.  We need to learn to identify those fears and struggles as they really are: our greatest weaknesses.  It is only in identification of our weaknesses that we can even begin to face them and turn them into strengths.

An army must know who their enemy is before forming a strategy to vanquish that enemy.  In the same way, we must clearly identify and define our weaknesses before we can even start to learn how to defeat them.   We can’t keep naming and blaming those weaknesses as Albert.  Most of us don’t even know Albert anymore.  We can’t keep playing Albert’s victims.  We have to be victors if we are ever going to move on.  We have to be strategists if we are ever going to become better people.

Whenever Albert comes to mind and I start to feel anxious, insecure, and frustrated about the words he used to say to me, I must force myself to stop and analyze what it is that I am currently afraid of.  What is my current insecurity?  Why is this insecurity present?  How can I reduce this insecurity with assurance?  I must force Albert from my mind because he represents a past time, not my current situation.  Albert is just a distraction from the real problem.

If we want to live more fulfilling lives, we must all learn to let Albert die (not literally of course, Albert is a person too).

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