What to do with the past? Embrace it. Here’s 5+1 Steps to show you how.

There is no denying the fact that we all have a past.

The big question is what do we do with it?

DON’T waste your time and energy lamenting over what happened, what might have been or the way things should or could have been.

DO start right now, at this very moment, seeking with awe and wonder, to embrace all that has gone before. The healthiest, most supportive and most productive solution is to Embrace the Past.

Here’s 5+1 steps to help you do just that, Embrace the Past.

But before you read any further, it is imperative that you follow this instruction without fail…

Love yourself through each step!

#1: Acknowledge & Accept the past. Put it in its place. Recognize its place and where it belongs, which is in the past. It is pointless and futile to try to deny, change or rehash events of the past to produce a different outcome. It happened. So, go ahead and acknowledge and accept that it did.

#2: Remember the past. The past cannot hurt you in this present moment but it could bring you joy. Memories can be painful or precious. Memories can bring tears of sadness while others may bring tears of laughter and joy. It is ok. The events are not now, they happened in the past. To aid in remembering the past, ask yourself these 2 questions:

            What is your most painful memory(s)?

            What is your most fond memory(s)?

As the answers come, welcome and allow them to flood your mind, knowing that these are just memories from events that happened in the past.

#3: Understand the past. Use your answers from Step #2 or any others that have come to mind, to identify patterns, themes or key events/moments that have made a lasting impression. You may be experiencing a range of emotions from remembering. This is wonderful because to feel means you can glean understanding and heal. In fact, you must feel to heal. Stay with the feeling(s). Take a few deep breaths, be filled with courage, and then ask,

What am I making this mean for me today?

What do I want to experience more of?

So often, we get stuck in the same story but now we get to stand in the present looking back for understanding. It is often helpful to examine it from other perspectives as well. Ask,

How would someone else (friend, co-worker, family) view this same thing?

            What else could it mean?

#4: Forgive the past. Deep down we all know that to hold a grudge or harbor resentment is unhealthy and unproductive, we could even say destructive.

So, Forgive.

Yourself.

Others.

Who specifically must you forgive?

What must you forgive?

DO NOT FORGET! It is next to impossible to forget anyway and it goes against Step #2. So, just wipe the old saying “forgive and forget” out of your vocabulary. Forgive, yes. Besides, magic happens when you forgive. Test it and see.

#5: Learn the lessons of the past. Now this takes some courage. Take everything uncovered in the previous steps and challenge yourself to now discover what you can learn. Complete these sentences:

            Because of __________________, I have learned ___________________.

            Because of __________________, I have developed _________________ skills.

            In what other ways has the past impacted who you are right up to this moment?

            What else have you learned?

+1: Use the past to support your future. A wonderful coaching principle is that there are no mistakes. My mentor coach says all things are a divine design to grow and cultivate our wisdom. Here’s where your sense of wonder and awe comes in. Ask,

            How has this been serving me all along?

Now, use all you’ve learned to undergird, love and support yourself going forward.

I invite you to share what comes up for you and any shifts you have from thinking about the past in this empowering way. I look forward to hearing from you.

Abound in grace, Karen