It is important to leave the past in the past.
As much as I am never one to hold a grudge, I do still hold onto many things from my past. And unfortunately, not in a good way.
We always can learn from the past. The key, however, is to not take it with you into the present and on to the future.
Let me explain in more detail.
When I went to college I began with zero direction. I jokingly told my father I intended to major in procrastination and hesitation with a minor in bureaucratic red tape. Despite choosing an actual major and a couple minors along the way, I do believe I may have gone with the hesitation aspect of that jest.
I majored in theatre. Didn’t enter that particular job market. I minored in art history and audio production, focused on radio. Tried to enter professional radio, but I was unwilling to relocate to the boonies for any-old job I might get as a DJ. Apart from interesting trivial facts, only made some use of the art history minor in my hobby.
I bounced from job to job after college. Never really found a niche for myself that made me happy. One or two jobs felt they have had potential but they either didn’t pan out for some reason or turned out to be something otherwise. My resume is a hodgepodge of experience that to some potential employers shows a multitasking mastermind while to others it’s an erratic generalist who might be a jack of all trades but a master of none.
Over four years ago I began to explore this concept of Pathwalking. I decided I was done just going along and doing whatever and being unhappy and I wanted to make my own way. A lot of good has come of that. I got into a stable relationship and am now married, for example. I have completed and published several books. Overall I have been happier with my life than I had been for a long time.
Recently I have been struggling some. Last week I mentioned my anxiety issues. I’ve written about dealing with depression. I am coping with a couple situations that are causing me considerable consternation, and I think one of the reasons for this is past outcomes I am not letting go of.
My work history, for example. Apart from one job, I have never really worked in the same place for more than two years. The one job that is the exception I have been at for 12 years. However, that involved long periods of being part time or on-call, consulting with them, but also about 3 years full time. Relatively sporadic.
I have written out what to me would be the perfect job. And low and behold I actually landed it, or so I thought. Started out as I envisioned, but quickly turned to something very different. My supposed conscious creation was not what I wanted, and while its ending upset me, it was for the best.
I’ve manifested what I needed and wanted before, because in those instances I wholly focused on the present and let go of the past. There was only the now, and the outcome I wanted.
What about the past is blocking me right now? Let’s look at what I think it is.
Imposter Syndrome. In certain circles there are people who see me as a success. In others I am viewed as knowledgeable and capable. I have won respect and good will from disparate people who see what I believe to be a façade. What if they see me for my past inconsistencies? What if they take a closer look and call me out as an imposter? Why yes, this is a fancy disguise for fear. Fear of rejection, fear of pain, fear of failure, and I would even suspect fear of success.
Second-guessing. Was leaving the higher-paying job I disliked such a good idea? Should I have gone with the business opportunity I didn’t? Should I have put more energy into the partnership that didn’t work out than I did? What if? Past mistakes and past perceived failures cause me to get stuck in the present and not move forward.
Anger. How dare she fire me? What was that BS all about? Why did she expect me to be a mindreader? Nobody will be good enough, but I wasn’t either. How come when you knew what I wanted from this gig and I could do it you still didn’t offer it to me? The vast amount of anger and resentment I find myself holding onto seriously cripples me in the here and now, and I need to let go of it all.
The conclusion I have reached is that in the present I am dragging along with me the three-ton weight that is these three past matters. I know they are having a negative impact on my present, and they are effecting my attempts at conscious creation. Between imposter syndrome, second-guessing and anger stemming from my past, it’s no wonder I’m feeling stuck here in the present.
So what do I do with this? First and foremost – I have to forgive myself. I write weekly about this Pathwalking thing, and then get displeased with myself for failing to live up to it completely. Hey, self, nobody’s perfect, dust yourself off and move forward. You are allowed to not live up to your own standards, just accept that you’ve done that and LET IT GO.
Second, now that I’ve identified it, take the steps I know to fix it. Imposter syndrome? Just don’t. Put on the suit, armor up, and be that guy they think you are. Alright, Titanium Don, be that successful, knowledgeable and respectable guy. Second-guessing? Just don’t. Can’t undo the past, asking what-if will just frustrate you, so stop analyzing it and take the lessons learned and leave it behind. Anger? Write letters to those people who have angered you and burn them.
I know how this works. Instead of getting mad at myself for failing to live in the now and let the past stay in the past, take these actions and MOVE FORWARD. The past only effects the present for me if I allow it to.
I’ve got this. The biggest obstacle in the way of my path is me. Suck it up, buttercup, and be present and just make it happen.
Do you leave your past in your past, or carry it with you?
GOAL LOG – Week 12:
Diet: I continue tracking my intake, and am working to cut back my carbs and sugars.
Exercise: Fencing happened, and I got to the gym three times. I also took a walk around my complex. I exceeded my goal, and am happy about that.
Writing: Six days of writing and editing. Goal exceeded!
Meditation: I spent at least 3 minutes meditating seven days last week. I am working to keep this a daily practice.
I am going to add one more process to the log. Gratitude. I need to use the app on my phone to express gratitude for 3 to 5 things a day.
This is the two-hundred twenty second entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life. I share this journey as part of my desire to make a difference in this world along the way.
Thank you for joining me. Feel free to re-blog and share.
The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available here.
If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.