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Shred the Past   Leave a comment

A popular plot in movies involves a person, or persons, who are able to go back into the past to change something.  The movies generally end one of two ways.  First, the person somehow makes a change and returns to the present and finds a ton of unintended consequences, like in the Butterfly Effect.  Second, the person tries and tries to change the past but no matter what happens the future seems immutable.  The person might create minor changes but the future that is meant to be will be, like in the Terminator series.

Both ways teach us one thing, the past is the past.  And it really needs to stay the past.  Bringing the past into our present (or making your present the past) never ends very well for us.  Thankfully, movie plots aside, you can’t actually change the past.  However, as many prove, you can live in it.

Every time you made a decision, the decision led to a result.  Some good, some bad.  Take me for example.  In the past I decided to eat what I wanted and not exercise a lot.  The result was I put on  a lot of weight.  Other examples might be you have had an unpleasant disposition in the past.  The result is nobody wants to be your friend.  Maybe you were very poor, or just had little skill in managing your money.  The result is you experienced a lot of lack in your life.

The thing is that when you look at these traits you used to have, sometimes you identify with them in the here and now.  Even if you’ve made a lot of changes in that area.  You might have, like I did, lost a lot of weight via dieting and exercise.  Or you’ve learned to be happier.  You’ve created budgets for yourself so that your obligations are met and you aren’t in debt anymore.  All of these are good things, but you won’t be able to move forward if you’re still stuck in the past.

If you identify yourself as always fat, always lonely, or always poor even after you’ve made all those changes you’re definitely living in the past.  And no matter what progress you make if you keep your focus on your past self you’ll sooner or later bring your past back into the present.  It’s the Law of Attraction.  What you think about and dwell on most will be attracted into your life.  In psychological terms it would be refered to as self-sabotage.

Maybe it’s time to get rid of those past beliefs.  But how would you do that?  You can shred that past.  Here’s how it goes.  Take out a piece of paper and a pen.  I think this exercise works better going old school and actually writing it out because it’s more personal when you move the pen across the paper.  Having said that, if you won’t do it other than on a computer and printing it, by all means do that.  It’s better to do it that way than not at all.  Now start writing out past qualities about yourself that you feel you’ve moved away from.  Include things you’ve done that you regret doing and wouldn’t do again.  Avoid writing down things you know still are in the present.  Like if you had a habit of needlessly complaining, and don’t complain nearly as much any more, but still find yourself complaining about things sometimes, don’t include that.  It all needs to be things you’ve moved on from.  Anything that is in your past, you know isn’t relevant in the present, and you don’t want interfering with your future.  You don’t have to make sure and get it all down on paper.  So don’t wrack your mind and stress yourself out making the list.  Also, keep in mind these are past qualities that don’t apply to you anymore.  So make the list without judgement.  This is who you were, not who you are, so no need to judge at all.

When you’ve jotted down your list and feel good that it’s complete enough, hold the list in your hand.  Tell yourself (out loud or in your head, whichever your prefer) that this is a list of the past.  Tell yourself that as it’s the list of the past you, it holds no weight in the present.  These are things that don’t apply to you anymore and you don’t need to carry with you anymore.  Then walk over to your shredder and shred it.  Or if you don’t have a shredder, walk over to the trash can and rip it to shreds and toss it away.  Shred your past.  I’ve heard of doing the same thing by burning the list as well.  If that’s how you’d prefer to destroy the list, feel free, just be safe doing so (preferably in a fireplace or fire pit designed to contain the fire).

Once you’re done shredding (or burning) just let it go.  Relax.  Take in a deep breath, then breath out.  It’s gone.  Destroyed.  Out of your life.  Keep it that way.  If you feel the past is creeping back in again, repeat the process.  Every time you remind yourself the past doesn’t control your present.  Remind yourself enough of this, and you’ll be more positive about your future.  Have a great day.

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