The past can be flapping wings, propelling you into a bright future…or it can be a heavy chain, holding you back and preventing you from moving forward with your life. Usually, though, it’s a little bit of both, pushing you ahead while your feet drag, shackled.
But what can you do when your past is weighing you down so much that you’re stuck and can’t have a successful future?
Well, there are two things. Cut the chain and grow the wings. These are difficult tasks to accomplish, but they can be done, especially with the help of a professional therapist.
Cut the Chain
Many people believe that their past defines them, whatever that past may be. Breaking the chain is cutting the link between you and your past.
That doesn’t mean denying that it happened or pretending that it didn’t and doesn’t have any effect on who you are in the present. It just means that who you are today is not tied to what happened to you—or who you used to be.
You’re not the ‘girl who gets cheated on’. You’re not the ‘battered victim’. You’re not the ‘loose woman’.
Things may have happened to you but they do not define you. You define you and who you are in the present can have as little or as much to do with what happened in past as you want it to.
If you were cheated on in the past, and are resigned that it will inevitably happen again—or living in a frenzied state of trying to prevent it—then instead of assuming your man will cheat and obsessively checking his cellphone and email, remind yourself that this is a new man and a new relationship.
Just because you were cheated on before doesn’t mean it will happen again. You left the cheater and are with this new guy for a reason.
Sure, he might be cheater…but he also might not be. So why destroy the potential for a loving, faithful relationship with paranoia?
If you can’t date someone without fearing that they are or will be cheating, then you’re still chained to your past. Until the past stops harming your present and future, you’re not ready to be in a relationship.
And that is a good thing. Being single is the time to prepare yourself for a future relationship. This is the best time to cut the chain.
Tell yourself every day that the future is not set in stone and neither is who you are as a person.
You can find a man who won’t cheat or abuse you; and, also, if you’ve made mistakes in your choice of partner, that doesn’t mean you can’t choose the right man in the future—or that you’re unworthy of the right name.
It will take a while to believe this, but eventually, you will. Time does heal most wounds and it’s good to put some distance between your present and your troubled past.
When you finally feel that you are no longer defined, or tethered, to you past, then the chain has been broken. It is time for the next step.
Grow the Wings
So the past is the past. It’s behind you, still there and unforgotten, yet it doesn’t define you or control you.
But how to you put the past, especially a dark past, to work in your favor? How do you turn a broken chain into wings on your back?
By turning bad experiences into good lessons.
History is not always doomed to repeat itself—especially if you learn from past mistakes and past experiences.
If you previously dated cheater, abusers, or those just looking for sex, you now know what signs to look for in potential partners. If something they do tips you off—or you just have a gut feeling—that they might be like the other ones, then you can stop seeing them without having to go through the heartbreak of another bad relationship and equally bad break up.
And if you previously ruined a past relationship with your own behavior, you can recognize what you did wrong and stop yourself from doing the same thing in future relationships.
The past can not only be used as a ‘what not to do’ guide, but also as a ‘what to do guide’, as well.
Maybe there were some traits about your exes that you really liked. Maybe you weren’t sure about what you want out of a relationship before, but now have learned what you’re looking for in a partner and a partnership from prior relationships.
Use what you now know you like and want as a measuring stick for future partners and relationships. These lessons and insights into yourself will push you forward into whatever you want to make your future into.
The past will always be behind you. But now, instead of chain slowing you down, it is a pair of wings pushing your forward.