Have you ever taken a moment to think about how much the past and future affect the present when it comes to your thoughts, actions, and how you engage in life? Humans largely use their past experiences as an educational tool to take with them into the future. Perhaps you had a bad relationship. You’re likely to avoid a person of similar characteristics in future ones. Maybe you were able to land a client with a certain sales strategy. You’ll likely repeat that strategy in the future. In this article, I’d like to share a store with you about Bob and Mary and how Bob’s relationship with the past, present, and future affected an important milestone in his life.
Trouble in Paradise
Bob and Mary got married in November and flew to Hawaii for their honeymoon. Bob was working at the bank as a loan officer at the time and experienced a lot of stress in his high-pressure job. He often felt overwhelmed.
The idea of flying to Hawaii with his new bride was very exciting for Bob. But it also worried him. In the past, when he had taken time off, Bob had returned to upset customers and staff.
The week before they left for Hawaii, Bob focused on making sure all potential problems were anticipated and that he had plenty of help while he was away. He got completely caught up on his emails, returned all calls, and proactively reached out to his staff and borrowers to make sure everyone knew what to do and what to expect in his absence. There was not a single “t” left uncrossed, not an “i” undotted.
The honeymoon was everything Bob and Mary had hoped for. The day before they left Hawaii to return home, Bob was snorkeling in the warm water and looking at the beautiful fish. But his mind was already back in his office at the bank, imagining the fallout from being gone for a week. Bob was unable to enjoy what he had been so joyfully anticipating just the week before.
What can we learn from Bob about the relationship of the past, present and future?
Bob’s thoughts about the future had an impact on how he experienced his life. In one case, Bob imagined the honeymoon and felt empowered. He had all the energy and mental focus he needed to button things up at the office so he could leave it all behind during his honeymoon. In the other case, Bob imagined a disempowering future event (returning to work). With his focus on this dreaded future, he was unable to enjoy paradise.
Put the past back where it belongs
When we expect an undesired past to repeat itself in the future, the effect is always disempowering. Our bodies react energetically to whatever we are focused on.
If we haven’t completely let go of our past, some version of the past is what we expect in our future. When circumstances trigger a memory of the past that still holds a negative emotional charge, we react to that emotion and recreate the past unconsciously. This is predictable and automatic unless we let go of the past. Until then, the past will show up to impact our thoughts, feelings, actions and results.
How to let go of the past
To let go of the past, what is unfinished must be accepted or finished. To do so, you must…
- take responsibility for what you contributed to the experience,
- forgive others for what they are responsible for,
- make amends where necessary,
- feel what you haven’t been willing to feel, and
- say what you haven’t been able to say.
You will know you have let go of the past when you forget to resist or avoid that person, circumstance, situation or thing that you have been avoiding. By doing the work to let go of the past, you are free to imagine and create a future full of whatever you want for yourself.
Let the future guide you
When you let go of the past, the future opens to new possibilities. You can envision a desired future and experience empowerment, ease and flow. Your body will react to your imagined future with plenty of powerful and efficient energy.
THE MORE POWERFUL, CLEAR AND COMPELLING YOUR VISION IS, THE LESS IMPACT THE PAST WILL HAVE WHEN IT SHOWS UP.
A compelling vision will motivate you to be who you must be and to do what you must do to have the life you want. Getting the results that you want by living intentionally into a desired future makes the effort, discipline and hard work of completing the past a very worthy endeavor.
Let the future guide you.
With a completed past, the future is open to what we want to fill it with. When we focus on an imagined future that we desire, we experience ease and flow. Our bodies react to those thoughts with plenty of powerful and efficient energy. It is critical to design a future that is empowering if we are to live it.
What are you doing to create the future you want? Are you ready to begin the process of letting go of your past so that you can invent the life you want to be living in the future?
Would you like to learn how to create a vision of your future life?