Throughout your life, you’ll have some bad experiences. These negative experiences can hold you hostage or make you stronger. It doesn’t take much effort to let your past suppress you, ensconce you in misery, and turn you into something just as unpleasant as your terrible experiences. It takes much more work to positively channel negative experiences. But it can be done.
Remember that the past has already happened but the future has not. It’s important that you don’t forget where you came from, but you should also remember that a world of possibilities lay ahead of you. The past is the past; you cannot change it. But the fact that you’re still standing means there’s hope for the future.
Accept that you’ll never forget the pain you endured. Your negative experiences will never disappear from your memory. The trick is to minimize the amount of time you spend remembering them — living in your head for too long will detach you from reality and clinging to past hurts will only stunt your growth.
Learn to put things into perspective. You can’t move forward unless you acknowledge the role you and/or others played in creating your dilemma. By admitting where you went wrong, you’re less likely to duplicate your mistakes. Understanding others lets you see them for who they are and makes it easier to abandon resentful thoughts.
Believe that you deserve a shot at happiness. Adverse situations from the past may leave you feeling worthless and hopeless, as though you don’t deserve to be content. You may blame yourself for what happened to you, developing a lack of self-love and a fatalistic mindset in the process. Unconsciously, you may even seek negative experiences, thinking that’s all you know and deserve. On the contrary, no one is exempt from receiving happiness.
Cultivate wisdom. No matter how weak you were in the past, you can still become a prudent and strong person; and no matter how harsh your experiences were, you can always learn from them. These experiences can give you deeper insight into your surroundings, your own vulnerabilities, and the motivations of others. Use this knowledge to become a wiser person.
To key to shedding the chains of your past is to use them as a platform for growth instead of regression.