At least once in our lives, we have experienced or witnessed regret. In most cases, guilt tags along. The worst part about this combo is the heaviness that weighs you down. Guilt or regret is popularly defined as a lump in your throat, a knot in your back, and an unsettling sorrow that pulls our mind into an abyss of nothingness.
Oh, how you wish you could Alt-F4 your life when it all starts to go downhill and resume from the last checkpoint. You’d instead do it all over again if you were given a second chance. But, sorry to break it to you, it doesn’t work that way. However, you’ve got an added advantage. You get to take a piece of lessons from each experience and use it to your benefit to create history. And what is history? Learn from the past.
Why is it important to learn from the past?
If anyone here tells me they’ve never dozed off in history class, then I’m going to have a hard time believing it because I, too, have done that. I have always questioned the role of history in my life, and the most common and obvious answer is “learning from your mistakes.” Whiny me wanted to retort with, “But those aren’t my mistakes.”
That is not the point. Any nation or species has only shown to grow and progress together. We are all humans and prone to make similar mistakes in relationships, business, parenting, or life as a whole. We have evolved from the Stone Age to probably the pinnacle of success and the highest point in human history.
The same implies to personal growth. Any person who has succeeded in life has never had it easy, and that’s precisely what made them. Their past plays a crucial role in the grooming of a personality. How is that so?
- Your past helps you evaluate the change. It enables you to see how much you’ve changed and what the circumstances were.
- Nelson Mandela was driven by the cruelty of his people to fight for himself and his people. Your past helps you locate your roots and motivations to keep you going.
- Your past is a Rolodex of memories, preserving some of the most profound stories and experiences.
- Whenever I feel hopeless and exhausted, I go over all the struggles I have been through. I realize that I have been through worse, and what is yet to come is only a part of it. Your past inspires you to be a better version of yourself.
- Have you ever had the gut feeling about something? You just think it’s not right. Our past also has a big hand in it. Our mind becomes wired to call out danger when it senses it.
However, sometimes we get stuck in the past instead of learning from it. Now there’s a huge difference in letting the past define you and you defining your past. Life is a complex web of relations, hardships, and heartbreaks, and escaping it is an art of strategy.
“A very wise man once told me that you can’t look back – you just have to put the past behind you, and find something better in your future.”
– Jodi Picoult
Only when you look past what has happened can you focus on what needs to happen. Dwelling in the past will also let your present slip away, and while you’ll try to fix that, you’ll be left behind. So let’s start putting yourself first and heal that broken mind. When you start looking out for yourself, you’ll automatically weave a path for yourself to escape the past for good and close those doors behind you. Here’s why you should learn from the past to make a better future.
Your Future Is a Blank Page
You tell me. Is it easier amending what has already been done or starting from scratch? Do you recall that excitement of shifting from pencil to pen in school? But in time, we realized that what has been written cannot be rubbed out. You can overwrite it, cancel it, write it out, but you could never really eradicate the mark.
If you’re so adamant about living in the past, be aware that you can give your exes a second chance, you can expose yourself to the same toxic work environment, and you can choose to live in an unhealthy family again. Still, in the end, it’s going to be even messier than before. And this time, you can’t just tear off the page and start again.
So how about we change what we can? Our future.
Your Past Is a Part of You Not a Definition of You
You know this statement sounds so concise yet explanatory. But it’s not all that easy to implement. It can be challenging to draw a line between unnecessary emotional baggage and what needs your immediate attention.
However, noting down all your past grievances and anxieties in life can help. Now evaluate – how many of those do you have control over, how many are those misunderstandings and unresolved issues, and how many of it can you change. You will see that it was not even as complicated it seemed.
You will find yourself liberated from stuff that you’ll realize were self-created.
Nobody Is a Stranger to Loss and Mistakes
I won’t say that you’re not the only one facing the loss of a loved one or heartbreak. I’m not going to tell you to get over it. I want you to realize that each and everyone gets their share of regret, which may or may not be similar to yours. But what’s to be highlighted here is that you’ve made it through it. You’re still fighting what has been haunting you, and you’ve not given up.
Are you ready to bash yourself to the ground? Your efforts and your perseverance to go on are commendable enough. Just don’t give in to your broken mind. Don’t let the regret consume you. You must emerge triumphant so that you can learn from the past to make a better future.
Reset Means Also Giving Up the Good Things
If I told you that I could give you one chance to go back and change one thing from the past, but every person you know and all the memories you’ve shared will be deleted permanently, what would you do? I don’t know about you, but I would instead safeguard these handfuls yet extremely dear memories.
When it comes to this point, you will eventually see that no matter how few good memories you may have, they will always weigh more substantial in your heart.
So gather yourself and recombine your brain to view each experience as a learning opportunity and practice positive thinking.