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Your Future Isn’t Behind You-Daily Inspiration

Your Future Isn’t Behind You
Daily Inspiration
By John H. Sklare, Ed.D, Lifescript Personal Coach
Published May 10, 2013

One of the most difficult tasks we encounter in our lives is letting go of the past and learning how to live in the present. Even though most of us tend to do this successfully, being able to let go of old pain, heartache, misfortune and misery is a tough row to hoe for most people.

Some are able to do this with little effort while others spend countless hours and a lot of money trying to accomplish this feat in therapy. And, of course, how easily and quickly one accomplishes this is intimately tied to the severity of the past trauma.

When I was a therapist in private practice, I shared the following phrase with countless people over the years because of its pure simplicity and indisputable accuracy about letting go of the past: “Your future is not behind you.” This is also a personal mantra that has helped me in times of need when my past comes knocking on my door.

There’s great power and true wisdom in the simplicity of that statement. You can almost not help but nod your head in agreement as those words pass your lips and you consider their meaning. The truth is, it’s hard to see what’s in front of you if you’re always looking back. This is true both literally and figuratively, yet we humans have a tendency to do this all the time when it comes to dealing with our emotional pasts.

Events from your past do shape your future, either in a positive or negative way. That’s just reality.

Let me give you a personal example of how I used a negative aspect from my past to improve my future.

I’ll spare you all the details, but let’s just say that my late father didn’t seem to enjoy having children. If it weren’t for my loving and protective mother, there would’ve been total chaos in my childhood home. As a result, I clearly remember deciding that when I had children, I’d be the best possible father on earth. I proudly report to you that I believe I accomplished that feat.

I’m sure many of you have great survival stories as well where you “made lemonade out of lemons.” My point is that the past need not dictate the future.

The key to successfully leaving the past behind lies in facing it, accepting it and then using it to your benefit. Even though I would never have chosen it, I can honestly say that if it weren’t for those difficult years in my childhood home, I’d never have become the man, husband and father that I am today. In an odd twist of fate, I owe today’s happiness to yesterday’s misery.

Turning painful past experiences on their heads and using them to better yourself provides countless benefits, including the following 10 gifts:

  • Freedom from past pain
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased happiness
  • Enhanced overall life functioning
  • More time spent living in the present
  • A strong sense of personal power
  • The ability to laugh more and enjoy your life more fully
  • A greater ability to be emotionally available to others
  • Renewed meaning and purpose to your life
  • More peace of mind and serenity for you and those around you

The present moment is really the only moment that counts. It’s the only one you’re guaranteed to have in this life. It just seems like such a shame to waste even one present moment agonizing about the past.

Since the present moment is the only instant in time where choices can be made and feelings can be felt, it holds the key to solving all sorts of emotional problems and personal issues in our lives.

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