We spend far too much time looking backwards at events we can no longer change. What’s happened has happened. It’s time to move forward in the direction of your business goal.
Dwelling on the past is like driving a car whilst looking in the rearview mirror. If you drive this way for long enough you’ll crash, yet why do we do it? The answer is that memories are part of what makes us human. Also, we look back because we’re looking for emotion and certainty.
It’s not just noticing the negatives once that’s the problem, but it’s continuously playing them over and over in your mind. By doing this you’re causing a change in your emotions and your feelings, you’re changing the associations linked to the event, and ultimately you’re changing your state.
See our minds are a record of the past, and what happens is when the majority of people wake up in the morning their first thoughts are on the past, and typically negative events from the past. As a result, they start to feel upset or sad, and this then leads to a change in state. Therefore, right from the outset of the day people are negative and sad.
From your mind’s point of view, there’s no difference between experiencing the actual event that you’re dwelling on and thinking and the event that you’re dwelling over. The more you think about a negative event the more negative you will feel. You see your brain is designed to keep you safe. It’s designed to keep you safe from a past negative experience repeating itself. Your brain would much rather you’re comfortable and don’t try to push and challenge yourself, hence it reminds you of what happened last time. It tells you to not do this again or you can’t do it, it didn’t work last time.
I trust you’re getting some value from this information. Keep reading and I’ll share with you questions that you can ask yourself in order to move your life forwards.
It’s important to learn to let things go so that you can reprogram your thought processes. You don’t want to have a negative experience of the past affect the potential of a future positive experience. You don’t want to be chasing after something big, like starting a business, trying to get a new job, starting a new relationship, and then have your mind interrupted with negative thoughts of the past or words telling you that you can’t, you shouldn’t, you’re not good enough, you’re too old, etc.
Now, the good news is that you can change your thought processes. If you want to stop dwelling on the past and make a change in your life you need to start. Then you need to put in an effort, and not just once, but on a consistent basis. Making the conscious decision to let it go also means accepting you have a choice to let it go. To stop reliving the past pain, to stop going over the details of the story in your head every time you think of the other person or event.
There are KEY QUESTIONS that you need to answer in order to start moving your life forwards
1. What are you dwelling on? What is that negative experience that’s consuming your thoughts? Why do you think you’re dwelling on whatever it is that you’re dwelling on?
2. Who or what are you blaming? It could be someone else or others, or it could be yourself.
3. How is dwelling on the past serving you? To some, being a victim can feel good. Poor me. Perhaps it brings you attention, albeit negative attention, but attention nonetheless. Misery likes company.
4. What is the opportunity of moving forward? By letting go of whatever is holding you back, what will you receive? What will you open yourself up for?
5. What are you going to do? Practice forgiveness. We may not have to forget the event or the other person’s bad behaviours, but virtually everybody deserves our forgiveness. Sometimes we get stuck in our pain and our stubbornness, we can’t even imagine forgiveness. But forgiveness isn’t saying, “I agree with what you did.” Instead, it’s saying, “I don’t agree with what you did, but I forgive you anyway.”
So if you’re finding yourself dwelling on the past I want you to ask yourself the key questions that we went through:
What and Why are you dwelling on?
Who or what are you blaming?
How is dwelling on the past serving you?
What is the opportunity by moving forward?
What are you going to do?
The other action is to accept responsibility and stop blaming others. If I think back to my Ice Cream café disaster, I blamed everyone and everything for this failed venture. But if the truth is known, had I have done more research up front I would never have built a shop in that location. Also, I should’ve taken more responsibility for the running of the day-to-day operations. I learned so many valuable lessons that I take with me today.
Another great tip is to get mindful. When you focus on the here and now, you have less time to think about the past. When the past memories creep into your consciousness (as they are bound to do from time to time), acknowledge them for a moment. And then bring yourself gently back into the present moment. Some people find it easier to do this with a conscious phrase, such as saying to yourself, “It’s alright. That was the past, and now I’m focused on my own happiness.” Or “I’m focused on love.” Or whatever it might be. Or you can also consider practice of mindfulness, or being in the present moment. Instead of dwelling on painful memories, a focus on the present moment (such as attending to your breath, focusing on what you can currently see, smell or hear) can help break a negative cycle.
There’s only 3 reasons that you want to look backwards:
Keep Looking forwards in the direction of your business goal, now get out there, let go of the past and start moving forward with your life.
These tips are essential for you and your business. If you’re looking for business coaching that delivers results, Tony Meredith Coaching (TMC) is your partner in success.
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