How can you move forward when you’re living in the past? You can’t, and sometimes you don’t even understand what you’re doing. However, there are ways to catch onto this negative habit.
I catch myself living in the past when I think about my childhood. I also recognize this bad habit when I think about all the positive experiences gone by, especially when the present circumstances aren’t so inviting. It’s easy to escape to a place where you’re living in the past, but it’s not healthy.
Understanding the signs
The truth is, the past can damage the future if you focus on those things. Unfortunately, we have been taught to live like this, and even our genetics may play a part in our mindsets concerning this area.
In case you’re wondering, there are ways to tell if you’re living in the past. You will recognize these indicators by how you react to certain situations.
Here are a few signs that you truly are living in the past.
1. Holding onto childhood, good or bad
If you often find yourself reminiscing about your childhood then you could be living in the past. This works whether you are thinking of bad or good experiences. If you suffered from a traumatic childhood, then you could be rehashing those old insults and wounds.
On the flip side, you could be forgetting present life in favor of your fleeting childhood happiness. Either way, you are denying reality and not facing the present as it is. Let go of the past experienced with childhood and embrace the present adult life.
2. You’re blaming yourself for everything
Have you noticed how often you say that you’re sorry? If you notice that you’re using apologies like breaths then you are saying sorry way too much. This may be coming from a place of unforgiveness for yourself.
There can be many things which cause this sort of unforgiveness where you seek to apologize at every turn.
Whatever it may be, it should be put away for good. Just like everyone else, you deserve forgiveness and a second chance, no matter what has happened in the past.
3. You are a bitter person
Bitterness can only come from past experiences, as the word is derived from this influencer. Bitterness comes from failures and hurts which have not been resolved. It starts with sadness and anger but then grows into something more powerful over time.
Maybe a love interested left you for another, or you lost your job in unfair circumstances – whatever the case, bitterness can seep in and slowly destroy your life. It will start with taking you back to the past over and over, reliving how it all went wrong.
4. You compare everyone and everything to the past
When you’re living in the past, you will compare what you have now to what you’ve lost. Maybe what you have now is not good enough or strong enough as what you gave up. Well, then again, what you have now may be better and you just don’t know it yet.
On the other hand, maybe your past was horrific and you’ve started to see the red flags again, pointing toward the same devastation. The truth is, you’re not always right about these things and making comparisons is hurtful.
You simply cannot base your present circumstances on what happened in the past. Sometimes, it’s just a different story no matter how similar it may seem. If you are making comparisons, you are definitely living in the past.
5. You are terrified of change
Living in the past makes us scared to change things in the present. Even positive changes are frightening. If you notice yourself cringing away from a different job or moving to a different location, then it could be because of the past and its hold on you.
You have to learn to let go of the past and understand that nothing really stays the same forever. It’s just how life operates.
6. You are vengeful
Although, for the most part, humans aren’t evil beings, we still seek revenge at times. One indicator that you might be living in the past is when you start to plan vengeful actions on those who’ve done wrong to you. If you cannot let go of a bad experience with a friend or family member, then you cannot move on.
This places you firmly in the past waiting for retribution. This is another incident where forgiveness is beneficial.
7. You suffer from low self-esteem
Low self-esteem comes from something that occurred in the past. It derives from not feeling good enough or attractive enough according to societies standards. If you’ve failed to move past these feelings, then you could be trapped in the past where they started.
Take a look at yourself and try to understand where your feelings of low self-esteem originated.
Stop living in the past and embrace the future
I know it’s easier said than done sometimes, but it is the key to healing. Until you accept things for how they are in the here and now, you will not be able to let go of those demons.
The past may be dark and it may seem to have a strong hold on your life, but you are stronger. Never forget this and never stop trying!
By Sherrie H.