We’ve all heard that we can’t be stuck in the past and that we have to move on with our lives, but have you ever stopped to think about it? Why should you move on from the past? Well, frankly, because it can affect nearly every other aspect of your life if you don’t.
Few people devote time to thinking about how focusing on the past can be detrimental to their present and future. In this article, we’re going to provide you with, hopefully, all the arguments you need to persuade you to stop letting the past dictate your future.
What’s so bad about focusing on the past?
Focusing heavily on the past, whether in a negative or a positive way, is detrimental to you and your ability to move forward with your life. Let’s talk about the negative first: holding grudges. Holding on to a particular moment or event in the past due to a negative experience stunts your emotional and mental growth.
The more you focus on that, the less attention you have to give to what’s happening in the present. On the positive side of things, if you’re fixated on one particular positive event that happened in the past, you’ll miss all the positive and great things happening in the future. You also run the risk of comparing everything that happens from then on to that one “perfect” event.
This fixation can lead to a few negative outcomes in your future. The more you focus on the past, the less you witness the present. You have a tendency to miss special occasions or important events. You move through life in a more distracted manner. The worst outcome of them all, though, is that you stunt your development and growth.
How can focus on the past dictate your future?
As we said before, focusing on something in the past can manipulate how you view present moments. It can make you distracted during events you’d otherwise be fully immersed in or cause you to compare them to another moment on from which you can’t move.
These fixations can cause you to turn down new opportunities either because you’re afraid they won’t live up to the past experience or you don’t want to be taken away from it. Focusing on the past can negatively affect every decision you make, dictating your future.
How do you stop focusing on the past?
The first step in putting an end to this behavior once and for all is to resolve to let it go. We know, it’s easier said than done, but you have to first consciously decide to do it before you can actually successfully let the past go. Letting go of the issues or moments you’re holding onto will allow you to finally move forward with your life and grow as a person.
Fixated on a positive past event
If you’re fixated on a positive past event, letting go doesn’t mean the same thing as it does for those holding onto a grudge. Letting go in this sense is to stop comparing other events to this one. It doesn’t mean that you have to forget the moment you’ve held so dear, but it does mean that you continue to experience and enjoy each new moment, rather than comparing it to and being distracted by said moment.
Fixated on a negative past event
If you’re holding a grudge or fixated on a past event, letting go is typically forgiving the person and moving on from the event. This can be very difficult, but the only person that can put an end to your holding onto the past is you. You have to be the one to forgive, let go, and move on. You’re only hurting yourself, otherwise.