“My momma always said that we got to put the past behind us before we can really move on. And I think that was what my running was all about.” Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is a classic movie that is filled with life lessons. I stumbled across this quote and wow did these words of wisdom hit home for me.
How many times have you tried to run from the past? Have you attempted to ignore the past or tried to hide from it? Perhaps you have struggled to forgive or to just let it go?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone.
The past holds great power and in truth, if you cannot put the past behind you it is incredibly difficult to move on with your life.
Everyone has a past but the past does not have to define who you are. Is it a part of you? Yes and quite honestly, it is a necessary and important part of you. However, and please hear this again, it does not have to define you.
Far too often, humans become trapped in the tangled webs of the past. We find ourselves playing the same tapes over and over again. Sadly, the tapes we focus on the most are filled with bad memories and toxic emotions. It is easy to think about the negative things that have happened in our lives versus focusing on all that is good.
Sadly, the past can lead us to a deep, dark place that is overflowing with shame, remorse, guilt, regret, anger and despair. It is a place that holds us prisoner for far too long and keeps us stuck in places we no longer want to be.
I know this dark place really well. It was difficult to forgive myself for mistakes made and I found myself chained to the past drowning in guilt and regret.
The shame was, at times, suffocating. My life was falling apart and I often felt like I couldn’t breathe. But, instead of finding healthy solutions and making changes in my life, I continued to beat myself up. The past became a crutch and I kept making the same bad choices hoping to numb out the pain.
Eventually, I hit rock bottom and I knew that something needed to change. I faced the past and stopped running from it. Forgiveness was key. I worked on developing healthier coping skills and most importantly, learned to love all of who I am. Shadows and all.
Life is filled with choices and so many of the decisions you make in life are up to you. It took me a long time to embrace my past and to learn that while the past does not define who I am today, it will always be an important part of me.
There is wisdom in the wounds and we can learn amazing lessons from our mistakes. I have come to believe that mistakes can shine a bright light on who we want to be but more importantly, on who we don’t want to be.
It is impossible to outrun the past. It will always be with you and just one step behind. You cannot escape it and you cannot hide from it forever. That is exhausting.
Stop running and embrace the past. Find the courage to forgive yourself and others. Forgiving holds the key to freedom and can unlock the cell that holds you prisoner.
Learn to love ALL of who you are. Sometimes we need to experience darkness so that we can finally find clarity and see all that is light. We all have shadows and things we regret. Become self-aware and learn from your mistakes. You will be amazed at how many lessons are buried in the past.
You are stronger than you think and you have the strength to change those things that are causing you pain. Develop new coping skills, make better choices and learn to manage your demons. You are in control.
Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Focus on all of the good in your life and live true to the person you so badly want to be. You can do this.
The past is not the boss. You are.
Forrest ran and in part, he was trying to run from the past. It is easy to run away and to hide behind masks. However, you cannot run forever and like Forrest’s mom said, “we got to put the past behind us before we can really move on.”
The past cannot hold power over you unless you allow it. Take your power back and reclaim your life. Do the next right thing and fall asleep at night with peace and love in your heart. You deserve it.
And once you stop running you will be amazed at all of the beautiful and amazing things you will experience and find.
In Peace and With Love,