Usually the past hangs around when you’ve yet to learn what you need from it.
Don’t get me wrong; the classic cycles of dwelling, obsessing, blaming, revenge plotting and comeback hunting are in no way helpful. And yet, when done correctly, looking at the past is one of our most useful tools.
See, your past has incredible nuggets of info that’ll totally help you learn, grow and create future success. Studying it with purpose + intention is literally your best resource for figuring out what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t.
The trick is HOW you review it.
Here’s the keys to making your past work for you, not against you.
1. Look at YOUR part in the situation.
While fantasizing about saying or doing something different so that other people act differently is totally normal, it’s also a complete waste of your time.
When we pay attention to our part + what we brought to the situation we learn. We grow. And, we move on.
Focusing on anyone’s actions but yours is like trying to change what’s already happened. Instead, use what’s already happened to help create a future + present that you want.
2. Review the choices you made even if they didn’t’ feel like choices.
Here’s the thing: everything we do is a choice. It doesn’t always feel like a choice. And, it IS a choice.
Accept this. And, notice when you feel like you do or when you don’t have a choice. It is one of the most empowering things you can do. It’ll show you where your strengths and weaknesses are. Where your blind spots are. Plus, what totally triggers you.
3. Questions are Queen.
Instead of digging in your heels and reciting the past as fact, ask yourself questions. Boatloads of ’em.
Questions are how we learn. How we digest + understand new things. They’re how we expose old limiting thoughts, assumptions, habits and unconscious beliefs.
Here’s some marvelous questions to include in your lineup:
HOW did you make your choice(s)? With you head? Heart? Gut? Out of fear? Panic? Habit?
Where you acting out of love of fear?
Did this choice take you closer to your purpose or farther from it?
Was this in alignment with who you want to be?
What are you actually avoiding with this choice? What are you creating more of with this choice?
What would it say about you if you felt like you had a choice?
4. Which of these things is like, or not like, the others?
To really learn from your pasts + create a different future look for patterns. Both success and failure leave clues– you’ve just got to be willing to look for ’em.
Keep the questions going + look at the situation from all angles to uncover your clues:
What were the signs (that maybe you missed) leading up to the event?
How was this similar to past experiences? How was it different?
How did you feel heading into it?
How might you’ve missed these signs? What did they feel like?
Did you listen to yourself?
What can you look for + do different going forward?
With the right action plan + focus the past can totally work for you. Next time you’re feeling stuck ‘cause the past just won’t seem to let go, stop trying to out run it and use these steps to turn it into an opportunity for growth.