Dwelling on the Past vs. Looking to the Future

Throughout our lives, our experiences play an integral part in how we behave and look at the world.

Evie Stamps
February 21, 2022

Our past shapes who we are. Our experiences play an integral part in how we behave and look at the world throughout our lives. This may not seem like a big deal, but it can become a detriment to our success in certain circumstances. In addition, keeping our focus on our past can actually negatively affect things in the future. From our work life to our love life, even our day-to-day activities can be affected by an inability to move past negative experiences. 


It's perfectly normal to feel sad after a breakup and even spend some time licking our emotional wounds. When we continue to focus on relationships that have run their course, it is an unhealthy way to live our lives. We can sabotage our future love life by idealizing our ex. Setting up a standard in our mind that future romantic interests cannot meet. This robs us of potential opportunities for what could be even more significant relationships. However, each romantic relationship has something valuable we can take from it. Allowing the relationship's lessons to be learned and granting permission to allow ourselves to move on is a healthy way to move forward. 


Most fears are caused by prior experiences. For example, people afraid of dogs usually have had a bad experience with a dog. Likewise, people who avoid eating certain foods likely had a nasty reaction to that food when they tried it. While a rather indirect way of dwelling on the past, fear can close us off to new experiences. 


Grudges can run deep. If a person feels that someone has wronged them, they could be hard-pressed to let the person attempt to atone for their mistake. Anger seems justified in a lot of circumstances. However, forgiveness is a significant part of the healing process resulting in a massive restoration. People who were once alienated after a falling out can let bygones be bygones and start fresh. 

Keep the Past in the Past:  

After a particularly negative experience, it's human nature to put some emphasis on it. It's important to remember that tomorrow is a brand new day. We can choose to start off with a completely blank slate. 

Emotional responses are expected, and grieving is necessary for tragic circumstances, but remaining stuck in that state is dangerous. Emotional wounds begin to heal when we move forward with our life after a time of grieving. It is equally vital that we make an effort to live in the present and create a compelling future while taking time to recover from negative experiences. 

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our life. Choose to keep a positive outlook, even after a bad experience. Learn the lesson that the experience offers, file it away in your mind, and make the choice to head in a positive direction. The past has value and should not be discarded entirely. When it comes to the past, learn the lessons, mine the benefits they offer, take what you now know, and use it to move forward with an optimistic attitude in the direction of your dreams.


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