A Window into the Past

“Sometimes we reflect so we know which direction to go in the future.”

Photo by Lucas Bravo from Unsplash

By John Dunia
Our past holds many stories from our life. A mixture of many and varied emotional experiences, there is no denying that they are a complete and total sum of who we are today. While some would give anything to go back and undo the ones which might haunt them, to date no time machine has been invented to allow this.

Many attempts have been made at making inspirational quotes about the past and interestingly enough, contradictions abound as to whether or not it’s sage advice. Patrick Henry, one of the founding fathers of the United States, famously proclaimed, “I have no way of judging the future but by the past” and for this very same reason many study history so prior mistakes aren’t repeated.

There are, however, quotes which state “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way” or some more poetic version proclaiming there are more important ways of spending your time.

So what is the hidden truth about looking and reflecting back on our lives? Is it helpful or detrimental? Will it stop us from moving forward or prohibit future mistakes? It would be great if the answer were only a simple yes or no, but as in most of life’s predicaments, it’s not quite that cut and dry. It’s best to examine into the positive and negative aspects of both.

Many of my articles emphasize the importance of self-reflection but that is not possible without examining one’s past. However, its purpose is not to be stuck there or paralyzed by it; otherwise, it becomes an excuse for not progressing as a human. It should be a constructive technique to enhance self-confidence and contribute to becoming a better person.

The other day I was discussing this with a good friend of mine and her thoughts caused me to stop and reflect on what she had just said. Bettye eloquently expressed that sometimes if we don’t consider our past, we can tend to forget the struggles we faced which in turn could cause us to be less forgiving and perhaps think more highly of ourselves than we should.

Looking back also can be very helpful and healing if we understand how to do it correctly. The downsides and drawbacks occur when we are trapped in our past. Unfortunately, some examine their past only to find ways of blaming others for their misfortunes. Although some were abused or horribly mistreated, the key is not to allow that mistreatment to be the excuse for current and future failures.

Please know that in no way am I attempting to minimize or dismiss anyone’s past abuses. Truly the grievances and injustices which many have suffered were tragic and have been huge roadblocks. The key, I believe, is in healing from these difficulties and learning to overcome those injustices.

In next week’s article, we’ll discuss some ways to heal from these troubles and techniques to overcome the stains caused by these occurrences. Should you wish to discuss this more privately, feel free to contact me directly. I look forward to your comments and thanks to Lucas Bravo from Unsplash for the beautiful photo.

Since 2007, John Dunia has written for many local Las Vegas publications. In 2013, he began blogging and sharing his thoughts on overcoming adversities with his unique approach in assisting the reader towards better self-awareness. In 2015 he completed his first self-help-style book, “Shame On Me – Healing a Life of Shame-Based Thinking” which was a semi-autobiographical account of how he overcame and heal difficulties from his past. It inspired him to branch out in other directions. He now consults with people one-on-one to help them find their own breakthroughs. He also is a guest speaker on the topic of shame and effective ways to heal. To find out more, visit www.gcegroup.net.

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