Okay, if I got a song from a popular musical stuck in your head, I’m sorry. We all know the past is in the past, right? But does this mean we should just let it go? (Okay, okay, I’ll try to omit song lyrics from the rest of my post!) I’m not sure that it does mean that.
Parts of the past, for almost every human, is painful in some way or another. For some, there may be minimal pain, but still some memories they would rather forget. For others, the death of a loved one or a pet, a tragic life-changing accident, or onset of a debilitating illness is something in the past that would change their life forever. And then for almost every person there is at least one neighbor, classmate, friend, or even family member who treated them horribly and betrayed their trust in some fashion. Whatever is a part of your past may be truly painful for you and come back to haunt you in ways you never could have imagined, whether or not you could have prevented some of the hurt.
However, even the most painful memories have lessons in them that we’ve learned, even if it’s learning not to be too trusting or learning who we don’t want to be like. We needn’t dwell upon scary memories like abuse situations, but at the same time, remembering some of the life lessons we have learned from our experiences can be a very positive thing.
Don’t forget that there are some amazing memories in every person’s life too! Almost every person has at least one good memory to look back on, and hopefully many more than that. Oftentimes our good memories are mixed right in with memories of a bad period of our lives, but the good memories are still worth looking back on. Life isn’t always easy, to be sure, but it comes with adventures that make the journey worthwhile.
One way to ensure more pleasant memories in the future is to create your own happy memories. Making memories doesn’t have to be costly or involved hours and hours of planning. Taking a moment to do a random act of kindness for a family member, friend, or even a total stranger can go a long way to brighten both your day and theirs and give you both something to remember later on. If others don’t take the initiative (which, trust me, a lot of people don’t, even if they love you a whole lot), you take the initiative to call them and let them know you’re thinking about them, to pick some wildflowers for them, to set up a time to get coffee, put down your phone, and show a genuine interest in the other person. Perhaps you didn’t have the best childhood. It won’t be easy, but if you’re a parent, work to be the best parent you can be and to show your children the love and tenderness you may have missed out on when you were a kid. Perhaps you haven’t been the best friend you should have been – why not call up your friend(s) and ask how they’re doing and show that you care about their life?
There are so many memories just waiting to be made! It’s up to you to seize the opportunity and make the most of today. Don’t just let the past go – learn from it and then make memories that you can treasure later.