The desire to set objectives, design strategies and move forward is a familiar feature of modern living. From personal initiatives to organisational targets, the focus is very much on the future. The past is so often forgotten or brushed over because our sights are set on what’s next. But, as the old adage goes ― you don’t know where you are going, until you know where you’ve come from. There is then a lot to be said for integrating the past.
Looking to the past
The purpose of looking to the past is not to wallow in it, but rather to integrate it so that we can wholeheartedly embrace where we want to go in the future. Integrating the past is about deeply acknowledging what was and taking with us any wisdom arising from our experiences.
All of us have had difficult or painful experiences in our lives, and some of us more than others. Having the courage to look at these experiences and say “that was very difficult for me” is the starting point for integrating the past.
And, by acknowledging the past we allow it to stay in its rightful place ― the past, so that we may move on. Unwillingness to work through and integrate difficult experiences can often result in what is unresolved resurfacing in the future.
Remembering the joys
The same way you avoid dwelling on difficult past experiences, you might also brush over nurturing and energising ones. Experiences that have had an important imprint on who you are. Recognising the joyful and inspiring times from your past is just as important as drawing strength and wisdom from your tribulations. Together, these have shaped the unique qualities and skills you bring as a human being.
Busy urban living can often make you feel like you need to constantly look to the future. Sometimes, taking a step back to consider where you have come from and simply acknowledge what was, can be very powerful. It can allow you to integrate the past so you can leave it where it belongs ― in the past.
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