Something I’m not good at. For the sake of explanation; it could be anything – moving away to a new town, a favourite colleague leaving a workplace, a relationship, even a point in time. I guess all of these could be bundled under the gruesome heading of “Change”. And I am riddled by endless overthinking about it all. It must be a form of grieving.
Things I don’t process well historically have been situations where I have had zero input or control over and/or that result in situations never being quite the same ever again. Of course nothing is ever as good second time around. Memories are unkind like that.
Perhaps it is a positive to embrace life in the way I do, deeply and loyalty. I just struggle to accept, or let go and move on. Often I harbour extreme nostalgia (aka rose tinted spectacles), hurt feelings and rejection for years. Literally….I know! I seem to take things very personally. People often seem disloyal. I’m sure it’s just that everyone else simply moves on and puts themselves first, as they should do. We can talk healthy emotional boundary setting another time!
When I look back at how much time I have spent ruminating over the past, it makes me realise something major has to change. My attitude. It is holding me back. Good or bad events in the past are holding me back. As Einstein once said, choosing to live in the past is tantamount to depression.
I can choose to be defined by shoulda, coulda, wouldas. Or I can try to make peace with the imperfect, the things I can’t change, feelings of failure or rejection or any situation that was less than perfect. Learn to love the imperfect. Life is messy but it is too short to live in the past.
I love the Japanese analogy of the vase. A broken vase is not disposed of, but lovingly repaired in a way to show it is no longer perfect. The restored vase is coveted as an item to be proud of and display front and centre. It becomes much more valuable – its changes and flaws show it has a rich history from which wisdom inevitably flows.
Ironically, a modern philosopher of a different sort (the deceased rapper, Tupac) believes in leaving those (metaphorical) broken pieces on the floor and not looking back at them as a way to move on. This is a visualisation that I also find helpful to meditate on, albeit some might say it could be the equivalent of sweeping stuff under the carpet. It does seem to work, or provide some short term relief anyway.
Do you have a favoured approach to letting go of the past?