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Ways to Make Peace With the Past

Updated on June 20, 2021
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Cristale Adams is an online author and publisher. Her articles vary in topics and focus on real life. She always enjoys learning new things.

The Past

The formal definition of the past is the totality of an earlier time period that once existed, but no longer currently exists. The past can also be referred to as history. The past consists of time, but also of events, moments, and experiences. The human concept of the past comes from the linear way in which human beings experience time. The past is only accessed through a person's memory through a recollection of an earlier time period that is no longer current. The past is the main object of certain scientific fields like fossils, law, and styles. The past is always contrasted with and defined by the present and the future. The past is continuously ending, which then becomes just a memory for the present and future times.

The Present

The present, which is typically called "now", is a period of time that is directly associated with the moments and events that are occurring for the first time. The present is not a recollection of memory like the past is. The present is not a speculation or prediction like the future is. This period of time takes place immediately after the past and right before the future. The meaning of the present can vary from an instant to a day, or even longer. The present is always contrasted and defined by the past and the future. The philosophy of time states that presentism is the belief that only the present exists, while the past and the future are unreal. The present time is honored and valued by many different cultures and religions, including Buddhism and Christianity. Sometimes the present is referred to as eternity since the present always exists.

The Future

The future is an indefinite time period that occurs right after the present time, which makes the present time now the past. In the linear concept of time, the future is only the portion of a timeline that is projected and anticipated to occur because it has not happened yet. Many different cultures and religions refer to the future when they address certain issues, like karma and life after death. Futurology is the scientific study, art, and practice of postulating possible futures by utilizing forecasts, probability rates, and predictions. Human anticipatory behavior is the result of a psychological outlook toward the future that includes feelings of optimism, pessimism, and hope. The future always remains unknown and is always just a hypothesis until the future becomes the present. The future can consist of tomorrow, but also of weeks and years ahead of the present.

Having Peace With the Past

Every person has a past that consists of both positive and negative memories, experiences, and events that have once occurred and now are no longer in current existence. A person's past plays a very important role in who they are and how they feel at the present time. Everyone has experienced good and bad times throughout their life, although sometimes the experiences are not dealt with properly or even at all. Some people are proud of their past while others are not. The past does define a person, but only to a certain point because a person should never be judged on their past. People can change over time and their past can be a motivating factor for certain changes to happen. Many people can dwell on their past, allowing feelings of regret and guilt to consume their present and future. Holding on to the past is the most negative way for a person to live and love because the past can not be changed.

Every person can also be at peace with their past. It is not an easy task, but it can be done with hard work and the desire to do so. It is never fun getting over the past, especially when it was filled with negativity and traumatic memories. But it is the only way for a person to live a happy and more fulfilled life. Changing certain emotional habits and altering the perception of certain past events is a healthy way to live and to love during the present and future times. When the present finally does become the past, it will be a more peaceful one that can be happily remembered instead of a hurtful one that is simply built upon. Having a peaceful past is the most important key to a happy present time with a bright future ahead.

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Ways to Make Peace With the Past

There are certain ways and steps for a person to utilize to make peace with their past, no matter how traumatic and unpleasant it may have been. Making peace with the past comes from within and accomplishing certain tasks can make it possible. Hard work and different attributes are required daily, but it will be well worth it when the present and the future are happier and brighter. Listed below are creative and unique ways for any person to make peace with their past. These ways are easy, simple, and helpful but only if exercised daily for an improved way of living. Making peace with the past may seem impossible for some people, but it can be done. Using the ways listed below daily can ensure a person's present becomes more fulfilling with the future being less depressing.

1. Forgiveness.

The first way to make peace with the past is to forgive yourself for the mistakes and the bad choices that were made during past events. This can be difficult for anyone to accomplish when feelings of regret, resentment, and guilt are constantly consuming the present time. Forgiving yourself is much harder to do than forgiving others. This means accepting the decisions and outcomes that happened and moving on peacefully. Tell yourself every day that it is okay and that you love yourself. Forgiving yourself will bring added and new confidence that was not there before. It can also reduce anger and hurt, which can increase a person's heart and mental health. Since everyone is human and will make mistakes, this includes ourselves. Accept the fact that mistakes will be made, but it's how they are dealt with and learned from that matters the most in life.

Being unforgiving is carrying hate and resentment for a person or situation, which is emotional baggage. Forgiving others is the most efficient way for a person to make peace with their past, especially when a person can't move on because someone has hurt them so bad. This can affect a person's life and their love life by preventing them from trusting others or thinking negatively about all people due to one person's actions in the past. Forgiving others is a positive way to break out of the bondage of negative feelings that are carried into the present and future times. Forgiving a person in your heart, not necessarily out loud, is a way of increasing mental and heart health by eliminating negative feelings.

2. Acceptance.

Acceptance of the past is difficult when the past was unpleasant. There are many different things that people wish they could change about their past, such as certain events and circumstances. Accepting the past creates closure and helps a person to move on peacefully. Accepting the past includes accepting and acknowledging other things also. Some steps to take when attempting acceptance include:

  1. Accept yourself.
  2. Accept imperfections.
  3. Accept life, in all its forms.
  4. Be honest.

3. Learn From the Past.

This means not living in the past, but only learning from it. Humans are a species that learn throughout their lives. Learning from the past ensures that past mistakes will not be repeated and will increasingly enhance the present and future. Examine what went wrong and why then acknowledge what can be done presently and in the future to avoid those incidences from reoccurring. Dissecting the past can get to the root of the negative feelings, so they can be acknowledged and dealt with in a healthy manner. Learning from the past is a continuous process that never stops until death. Every day is a crossroad, which is a chance to either learn from the past or to repeat it. Make the best of every day by learning and accepting the past.

4. Re-Train the Mind.

Humans have always been a creature of habit. The way a mind thinks and reacts is based on past experiences, but also a habit. Re-training the mind can be accomplished with daily practices and self-discipline. First, observe your thoughts to notice when there are negative thoughts about the past. This can be the root of the problem and can be fixed, but it must be a realization first. Secondly, repeat uplifting phrases throughout the day. Pick one, like "today is a beautiful day", then repeat it throughout the day to focus more effectively on the now time. Finally, make a list of things from the past that you are thankful for. This can allow a person to realize the positive things that the past has to only remember.

5. Focus on the Present.

When a person focuses mainly on the present time, this can ensure that the past is in the past for good. Focus all attention on what is going on in the "now" time period. Making good choices and remaining motivated today will help any person to create a more peaceful past with a bright future. By setting attainable goals for the present time and working toward them each day, a person will start to remember the past less and start living in the current moment of time. Some helpful tips to focus mainly on the present are:

  • Stop over thinking and over analyzing.
  • Stop dwelling on the past.
  • Stop worrying about the future.
  • Find beauty and opportunities in every day.
  • Live one moment at a time.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Cristale Adams


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