Sometimes the way forward is looking back


I have come across several motivational books and quotes that enthusiastically advice  you to let go of your past, and keep striving ahead. Never look back…

You know..,those kinds.

However, I have learned you should look back. Not to dwell on the mishaps or mistakes of the past however, but instead to regard introspectively the steps that led you up to those points in your life. So that you do not repeat those same processes, endeavors or associate with those certain kind of people again that brought you there.

Remembering is hard, especially a painful past. But when we take the time, despite the pain from our setback, we see clearly those things we should not have done. Sometimes these are things we knew would have repercussions but we were so engrossed to fully acknowledge it. Other times, we never knew such endeavors would have consequences. Realizing these mistakes as much as they are painful, is somewhat cathartic, as it is a step into solving the problem of actually healing.

You feel relieved for knowing where you went wrong, although some may not feel the relief immediately. Nevertheless, It always comes.

In essence, you face the risk of reliving history in a different context when you heedlessly carry your unlearned lessons with you into the future. And why so? All Because you can’t really move forward without learning from the past.

And that almost always happens – when you don’t learn.

“But however we remember it––or choose to remember it––the past is the foundation that holds our lives in place. Without its support, we’d have nothing for guidance. We spend so much time focused on what lies ahead, when what has fallen behind is just as important. What defines us isn’t where we’re going, but where we’ve been. Although there are places and people we will never see again, and although we move on and let them go, they remain a part of who we are.
There are things that will never change, things we will carry along with us always. But as we venture into the murky future, we must find our strength by learning to leave things behind.”    ― Brigid Gorry-Hines


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5 thoughts on “Sometimes the way forward is looking back

  1. Very well written and motivational post! I just have one thing to remark on; something he quote says… it says that what defines us is our past… but what if you’ve made mistakes in your past and you don’t want to be judged based on those but rather on who YOU feel you are inside and who you’re aspiring to become (and consequently are becoming?

    • Thank you Norah 🙂
      The past defines us in the sense that certain events in your past have determined how you ventured into the future, or rather influenced some choices you have made presently. Take for example, one wants to start going to a drug rehab centre. Why? Because he knows he has a problem and has figured a way to solve it. If he did not have an addiction problem, he wouldn’t have such an intention. So basically, whether we know it or not, believe it or not, our past played alot on who we are now. Learning from it removes the ugly traces or hold it has on us, which means the past had an indirect contribution towards our change. Also, being judged is from people who refuse to see that one can have a bright future despite having an ugly past. There may also be that tendency to also judge yourself. Nevertheless, you have to give yourself the benefit of the doubt that you can become better, and if others don’t see that, you and God know you’ve tried.

      lol. I hope my reply isn’t too long 🙂

      • I agree with you completely, and it’s not the image you have on yourself that I’m remarking on… it’s that; being judged by others. Whether you like it or not, it’s kind of human nature to judge one by his/her actions… and if you’ve made one bad choice, that’s going to overshadow all the good stuff you’ve done. I mean just think about how we judge movie stars based on rumors…

        I have made some bad choices in life and I know that I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience from them… however I can see on some people’s faces what they think of me. They don’t see me as I see myself today and they don’t see the potential I see in myself. It’s really hard to prove yourself to people.

        • True. Very True.
          But if we keep hoping people notice how much we have changed, then we will not feel the totality of that change. Also, our change won’t seem like we are doing it for ourselves, rather we are doing it for their approval!
          I know it’s hard, some of these people are family members or even used-to-be-friends. A time will come, however, that they will(some grudgingly) will be forced to accept that you are not the same person you used to be. And this may not even be a conscious effort, and their acknowledgement of it may never be acted out.
          Nevertheless, we have to tolerate what we can’t change, and that may have to be done by either moving on without these people(not possible in all cases), or keep being the new you until time forces them to notice.

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