“People’s ability to make something work has everything to do with their ability to let go of something that does not work, grieve it, and move on.” ~ Dr. Henry Cloud
We cannot inhale the future if we do not learn to exhale the past. By holding onto past hurts and wearing our old battles scars like a badge of honor, we cannot actually know true joy and satisfaction that life has to offer. So, what does it mean to exhale the past? It means not only letting go of what no longer serves us but also letting go of what does serve us by playing a victim and getting sympathy votes for things that cannot be change and choices made – consciously or unconsciously. It means we accept what cannot be altered – the past.
Unfortunately, people continue the victim or martyr role by reliving past mistakes and hurts because, there are caretakers in their life that will continue to feel sorry and to do for him or her, what they should be doing for themselves. By feeling sorry for people, we do not help a person grow, we stifle his or her progress from moving into the future by trying to make up for their past hurts. We can be a friend and listen, but we cannot solve problems for others or change people; we can only solve our own problems and change ourselves.
Evidently, it takes time letting go of the past after recognizing we are holding ourselves back from a brighter future. By inhaling the future, we embrace the positive aspects of our past and release the negative into the atmosphere. When old pictures in our mind show up, we can change the photo by realizing our present and future does not have to be a replay of past events. By becoming aware of our thoughts, we can introduce new ideas of positiveness for a brighter future. We can find resources on how to become more positive and write down sentences to reference when negative feelings and thoughts arise.
Understandably so, people have experienced horrific events in life that take an enormous strength and courage to overcome or manage the feelings that arise from such events. With that said, people should always seek professional counseling if emotions and behaviors are preventing a person to function or move forward. Keep in mind, you are never alone, and there are amazing stories of individuals, like yourself, who have triumphed over adverse situations and have come out better on the other side after processing and dealing with it healthily. Never be ashamed of your past, whether or not it was by choices you made or circumstances beyond your control. By surviving through it up to this point, you are braver than you give yourself credit for it.
Therefore, if the past is holding you, hostage, find ways to break free, grieve, and move on. Seek help and guidance from others who have overcome the difficulties of the past. Never let the past define you by holding on when it is long overdue to let it go. Learn from the experiences of the past. Grow from it. When you get to the place that you no longer experience overwhelming feelings about past events, healing is taking place, and you are living in the present moment – here and now. What a beautiful place to be. You will be able to inhale the future and anticipate the good things in life.
Just for Today
I will learn to inhale the future and exhale the past. I will break free from thoughts of the past that hold me back and keep me down. I will do whatever it takes to get out of the victim role and step into a victorious role. I will not be overcome by emotions of the past; I will be an overcomer. I will not shut the door on the past, because I may need to reference a point in my life where, by getting through a difficult time, I can get through a current, difficult situation. By inhaling the future, I will not get stuck in problems but find solutions. Above all else, if I need to make amends, I will do so. If I need to forgive someone from my past that has hurt me, I set myself free. If I need to forgive myself, I will do so and move on.
By inhaling the future and exhaling the past, I give myself the chance to receive and appreciate a precious gift – living in the present moment.