“Your past is not equal to your future.” Did you ever heard of this statement? While you may have heard it and understand it. Have you really unshackled your past? Are you still being haunted by the past?
I have not.
Recently, a few of my clients are experiencing challenges in life due to their past experiences. That got me reflect on my past experiences. Has any of my past experience held me back?
I was betrayed by my best friend in my childhood days. I must admit that I wasn’t the lovable kid that parents like to have. I caused lots of heartache to my parents. I did all sorts of unethical and illegal activities that got myself into trouble.
One of those were shoplifting. At 11 years old, my friend and I decided to take a toy from our regular shopping mall, and we were successful. After that one time, I stopped that act completely. But my friend continued his adventure. Sure enough, he was caught. His parents was informed.
To reduce his caning, he told his parents that I was the one who taught him. I was punished because of that. Not that I denied my mistakes, but I was angry because this friend mentioned my name for his own benefit.
This experience created an extreme behaviour about me. I won’t let anyone who play punk with me off. I will always attack instead of hiding at a corner to sulk. I will attack first, fast and furious to ensure the person is “dead” before he has a chance to attack me.
On the other hand, this experience also causes me to be a loyal friend. I won’t make a decision that is going to hurt a friend. I will forgo an opportunity if I know that my friend is going to feel unhappy. Or I will clear it up with this friend if I know that I got to make the unfavourable decision.
The effect is that I do not forgive those who betrayed me easily. Therefore, I may be holding too much baggages that slowed me down.
Are you also holding too much of your past that slow you down?
What do you do when you are aware that your past is affecting your current behaviour?
You can make a conscious effort to shift it. You can make a decision to let go of it completely. Sometimes, some past experiences can be let go when you decide. There isn’t any struggle to let go, this is the perfect and ideal scenario.
But what about the times when letting go is not that easy. If that’s the case, you got to raise your antenna to detect any behaviour that is being affected by the past. Once detected, you are able to choose a different way of dealing with it.
For example, I will attack first, fast and furious automatically. By noticing that I’m doing it again because of my childhood experience, I have the power to choose not to attack. At the same time, I also have the power to choose to forgive. My unforgiving stems from the past, knowing that I do not like to be held ransom by my past, I get to choose.
Having the ability to choose, resume power back to you. You no longer are driven by your past but by your choice. With this choice, you break free from the shackle of your past.
So, which past are you still holding onto?