5 Keys to Releasing the Past

Book and handcuffs with keys
Book and handcuffs with keys

When I was going through my transformation, one of the hardest things I had to learn to do was to stop beating myself down for things I did in the past. I had to learn to release the past. To truly do this I had to do a couple of things. I had to acknowledge certain things about myself and start taking action to release my past, restore my voice and reinvent my life.

First, I had to acknowledge my pain, by naming it. In order to let something go, I had to acknowledge there was something to let go of. Which meant I had to do some introspection to see what was preventing me from moving forward. I had to clearly state what my pain was. My pain was a string of broken relationships which left me single and childless. You see, what I wanted most was what my friends have, a family to call my own. In all off my broken relationships, I never verbalized this to the person I was with. I assumed (you know the old saying about assumption) they knew. Well, guess what, "closed mouths don't get fed." In my mind I knew what I wanted I just never asked. We often do this, thinking that people know what we want and need without us saying it. People are not mind readers. I learned that lesson.

Second, I had to verbalize my feelings about the past. Who did I have to verbalize this to? Myself. I had to look myself in the face and be genuinely honest when I said, "I'm jealous of what my friends have." Talk about being raw and real. I love my friends and I wanted what they had...a spouse and children. I wanted to come home every day to that special someone. I wanted to go to sleep and wake up next to my best friend. I didn't realize how long I had been holding on to this, jealousy. Jealousy will eat you alive from the inside out which is exactly what was happening to me. I was holding on to relationships that were not conducive to my well-being, in hopes that it would lead to marriage and a family. When I verbalized my feelings, the fog started to clear and I was starting to see that I was playing the victim role. No one made me stay in my relationships, I chose to stay.

Third, I started to ditch the victim mentality and started to take responsibility for my actions. I took responsibility for allowing people to treat me however they wanted, they treated me that way because I treated myself in a lackadaisical manner. I didn't give my all to myself. I started to understand that I was a volunteer in my life. If I wanted better, I had to do better which would pave the road to me becoming better. I had to take control of my own happiness and not rely on others to make me happy. In order to do this, I had to learn what made me happy. I spent so much time making others happy, I forgot what made me happy. I started to take myself on dates. I started to do things by myself so I could get to know myself. I was starting to loosen up and enjoy being with myself. Once I started taking ownership I stopped looking back and started letting go. I started letting go of the hurt, pain, and anger I felt towards others that mistreated me. I started feeling light, no longer burdened by negative emotions because I was letting them go, and giving them an eviction notice.

Fourth, I stopped recreating the past and the stories I created from events which took place in my life. I made the choice to feel better and started creating a brighter future for myself. Now that my tenants, hurt, pain, and anger were evicted I had to replace those negative emotions with new tenants. I replaced them with peace, joy, amazing, awesome, and started creating possibilities for my life. Whenever negative emotions attempted to creep into my head I looked at what story I was creating about a situation/circumstance and I would choose to see the situation/circumstance from a positive perspective. I no longer looked at challenges as a negative. Instead I viewed challenges as an opportunity to enhance my character, all the while knowing that this will not last forever, this is only for a time. I repeated to myself, "pass the test." I realized, God will not give me more than I can handle. I was no longer a victim, I blossomed into a vic-tor. Part of being a vic-tor includes forgiveness. It was time to forgive myself and others for how they treated me.

Fifth, it was time to let go of the past and forgive those that mistreated me. I had to forgive myself for beating myself down and speaking to myself as less than a person. I learned that forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of great strength. I showed myself that I had the strength to go on with life despite the challenges that attempted to stand in my way. Once I forgave myself and others, I got clear on what I wanted for my life. It was no longer about what others wanted for me. I understood the reason I was not married was because God knew I was not ready. He had to renovate me from the inside. He had to grow me up. He showed me, I had to become what I wanted. He showed me in order to have a relationship with others, I had to first, have a relationship with him and then a relationship with myself. I was being transformed and when God was ready I would present a different me, to the world.

Letting go of the past is never easy. Letting go of the past is necessary! If I'm always looking behind me how will I see what is ahead of me? How much time and energy will I dedicate to something I cannot change? I decided to take that same energy and focus on what I could change...my life. And oh, what a life it has transformed into. Once I released my past, I was able to restore my voice, and reinvent my life. I committed to myself and moved forward with my life.