Ditch The Baggage Of Past Experiences
What’s slowing you down?
As we go through life, we collect experiences. These experiences teach us many valuable things: how to interact with other people, how best to succeed at work, what to expect from relationships, etc. Each experience that we have shapes our reality and how we interact with it.
Have you ever found that negative experiences really stuck with you? Whether it’s one from a past relationship or a more recent one at work, the bad ones really seem to stick out.
Negative experiences become emotional baggage when we give them too much of our energy. The more we mull over them and the—usually false—expectations they give us, the more they weigh us down.
If you’re feeling too attached to something that has passed, here are a few thoughts on how to ditch that baggage and move forward.
Recognise that you’re being held back
The first and most important step to moving forward is seeing that you’re stuck. Are you constantly reliving that time you received negative feedback in your head? Do you look for the same negative events of an old relationship in your new one? Do you always self-criticise because someone once said you weren’t good enough? Find what’s keeping you in a mental and emotional rut!
Accept the situation for what it WAS
Research shows that focusing on a problem (or a negative experience) isn’t helpful and, in fact, can be harmful. By mulling over the same negative thing, we are reliving it, causing our brain to strengthen the neural pathways associated with that situation and its feelings.
Once you recognise the things you are holding onto, accept that they are in the past. Recognise that there is nothing you can do to change what has occurred. Don’t miss out on the opportunities you have to influence what will happen in your life.
It doesn’t matter that you once received hurtful criticism. Take what lessons there are to learn and do better next time.
It doesn’t matter that your past partners were scared to commit. Separate the stories of those partners from your current one.
Find freedom in letting go
Once you have flagged what’s holding you back and looked at it for what it was, you can finally let it go. This gives you mental and emotional freedom to experience your life in the present.
The more you strengthen this process of recognition, acceptance and letting go, the more you’ll feel a sense of ease with life. After all, if we remained stuck on every negative experience we’ve ever had, we would miss out on all the good in life!