Everyone Says Forget The Past – But No One Tells You How

But Kevy Tells You How He’s Doing It

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.”Isaiah 43:18-19

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,” – Philippians 3:13

Most people would agree that we should not live in the past. It makes sense not to. There is nothing in the past that we can change, therefore it is sensible to not waste energy dwelling in it. Living in the past can give power to pain, and make us feel inadequate today, when compared to reflections of past accomplishments, and joy. Living in the past shuts doors to new opportunities and adventures for it distract us from realizing that those doors are right before us.

Clearly, I appreciate these sentiments about the past. When folks tell me to let go of the past, I get it! Often I’m told about my living in the past, including by family members who’ve hurt me. They’re all misperceiving me, though, and my relationship with the past every time they do so.

To me it’s obvious that I am not ‘living’ in the past, as evidenced by my new life in Colorado. The past has ignited my spirituality, volunteerism, helping others, and my creativity. The past has led me to access tranquility through meditation and prayer. My past is taking me on an adventurous journey of creating and discovering my future. The past does not necessarily have to be a dismal reflection. Since I’ve how to manage it, it has become an inspiration.

But ‘remembering’ the past and using it to navigate my truth is ‘not living in it’.

Those who may not reflect well in their past, want us to not remember it, when they say forget the past. But, the past can be used to define the future. My past molded me into becoming a more humbled, courageous, faithful, and creative man. I thank the past for its exquisite orchestration of these elements in my life today. I remember the lessons learned from my past, minus the emotions, to guide me. The emotions of the past is what can weigh on me, but wisdom has never hurt anyone. So, if wisdom resides in the past, I draw from it. And, it always does. This is consistent with ancient civilizations drawing from the wisdom of their ancestors, in the past.

17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; – 2 Corinthians 5:17 – 5:18

But in most cases the past is sprinkled with both joy, and pain. Resolving the latter is not easy, and is personal. My past is filled with many painful moments. No one can tell me how and when to get over this pain. That’s totally up to me, according to my plan. No one knows how deep my pain runs. Only I know that. Most importantly, no one knows how and if my past negatively impacts me today. I do.

In my case, the stresses of solely caring for my mother, while exerting my body, mind and spirit to unimaginable lengths, took a physical toll on my body that I must contend with today. So, how do I get over past harms that affect me today? How do I forget something from my past that slaps me in the face every morning?

How does anyone have the audacity to tell a person ‘don’t live in the past’, when they don’t acknowledge how you’re being impacted today, or even that they may have caused the harm?

This is a very tough dilemma that requires God’s intervention, in my opinion. Getting over a past that drains your present day can’t be accomplished on your own. It requires a process, a plan, and spiritual guidance.

The best example of this dilemma is with racism. As a black man, I’ve been told or overheard comments about blacks ‘living in the past’, with regard to slavery, discrimination, and racism. Well, I agree that we should not dwell in this ugly past, except to maybe inspire us to excel beyond it.

But it’s not easy to get over the pain of living in black skin, while witnessing and experiencing racism today. Take a look to look at statistics on the black community in the United States, provided by the Center for American Progress. For a black person, it can be a bit discouraging.

Below I’ve made an attempt at not just telling you to ‘stop living in the past’, I’m going to suggest how to do it, even when it affects you today.
Here goes:

  1. Acknowledge the joys and pains of the past. Do not deny them and keep them trapped within.
  2. Forgive your perpetrators, and yourself, but don’t forget your past. Note: I have found it easier to start out by just praying for the tormentors in your past first, then eventually forgiveness will come. Praying for then implies that they require God’s assistance, which implies that they too are victims.
  3. Acknowledge that the past has seeds of inspiration in them that can define and guide your present and future. Discover them, ask God for guidance. There will always be treasures buried, beneath the ashes.
  4. Meditate and pray to erase bad memories of the past…reset your mind and emotions.
  5. Define your own time for getting over the past. There is no standard, but your own.
  6. Assess and eliminate what wisdom tells you to has contributed to your past mistakes and pains. Eliminate those people, places, and things from your life, until you feel they are worthy of your time, if ever.
  7. Develop a plan and strategy for moving forward from the past. A plan will not appear on its own, and without a plan, you won’t know where you’re headed.
  8. Establish a defining milestone or event for ‘closing the chapter’. For example, in my case, exposing my vulnerabilities through the blog, testimonials, and writings is closing the chapter on some of my past pains.
  9. Piece-by-piece, like completing a puzzle, create a new life, different in every way from the life that brought you pain, but more accentuated in the ways that life has brought joy. Don’t do this too quickly though. Remember, God likes order.
  10. Share your story, including lessons, wisdom, mistakes, and victories with others. This act of proclamation may help others, and may fulfill God’s reason for leading you to triumph through your past tests. Doing so also puts your ego on full alert, letting it know passionately that you have turned life’s lemons into Strawberry Lavender Lemonade.
  11. Get over the past in your time, feeling no guilt if it takes a long or short time. Get over the past when you feel so in your mind, body, spirit, and soul, and do not feel driven by outside pressure.

Below, I am sharing various articles and videos on getting past….the pain of the past.

How to Let Go of The Past (The Secret Guide to Moving Forward) *MUST SEE* – 127,944 views – Infinite Waters (Diving Deep) – Published on Jun 3, 2015

LET GO OF YOUR PAST – Motivational Video – 438,715 views – MotivationGrid – Published on Jul 1, 2016

How to Forgive and Let Go of Your Past – 383,144 views – 100huntley – Published on Aug 15, 2014

Bible teacher and New York Times best-selling author Joyce Meyer shows us the biblical and Godly way to move past your pain and hurts.

Leave The Past Behind So You Can Focus On Your Future (Motivational Video) – 1,068,678 views – Team Fearless – Published on Dec 5, 2016

You should be grateful for your past. The good times and especially the challenging times, because all of it formed who you are today.

How to Leave the Past Behind – Expert Reviewed – WikiHow

Troubling memories from the past make make it hard to live in the present. If you are having a hard time moving on from something that happened to you, you can begin to heal by accepting how your past has shaped you into the person you are today. Read More

To Grow as a Person, Selectively Forget the Past – Harvard Business Review – Vijay Govindarajan – MAY 12, 2016

For 35 years, I have used the Three Box Solution framework in my work with corporations. This practical approachintegrates (Box 1) current business performance with (Box 2) selective forgetting of the past and (Box 3) creating the future. But it’s not only business issues that can be solved with the three box approach — some executives with whom I’ve used the framework tell me that it applies equally well to personal transformation.

As an example of how to think about the framework’s application to an individual’s struggles and challenges, consider the remarkable transformation of a single individual, the late Nelson Mandela, who went from embodying black South Africans’ armed resistance to apartheid to becoming a dominant force for racial reconciliation and national unification. During his 27 years in prison, Mandela thought about and discussed the future with his fellow prisoners. He came to see that the nation’s future could not be built on anger and recrimination — no matter how justified — over the brutalities of the past. Instead, it needed a foundation built on forgiveness and reconciliation. Mandela embraced a new identity, embodying change by becoming a man who, at his 1994 inauguration as South Africa’s president, invited his white prison guards to stand with him. Read More

Donald Lawrence Go Get Your Life Back – 77 views – Li’CalHon – Published on Oct 17, 2016

Question: What are your tips for eliminating past pains?

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13 thoughts on “Everyone Says Forget The Past – But No One Tells You How

  1. A very thoughtful and practical post! Thank you for sharing how this relates to your experiences with racism. I know resentments about the past got in the way of my happiness, but as you explain, healing is a process. First I prayed for the willingness to begin to forgive. When I finally felt real forgiveness, the pathway to happiness cleared and doors opened. I like that you acknowledge lessons from the past and encourage people to work through this letting go in their own time.

    1. I am so happy that my message on the past resonated with you.

      Thanks sincerely for contributing to the discussion.

      If you ever have a story to repost on my blog, I would be honored.


      1. Yes. That’s why I don’t post daily. I need at least a couple of days off. Feel free look at my categories list on the right. Take care, Kevy!

      2. JoAnna I will check your posts out.

        I will be posting for the next 3 days and plan to include one of your posts in them. I am grateful for the offer.

        Please appreciate that my story is a painful one to tell, with regard to my care giving experience. I will write more about ot this weekend. Sometimes emotions cause me to have to pause.

        Therefore, if I don’t post on of your article by the weekend, I definitely will next week.


      3. Thank you for sharing that with me, Kevy. It is a lot of emotional work to write about some things. Blessings and peace to you.

      4. JoAnna I checked out your blog and saw beautiful art and stories.
        You speak ‘much truth’ from what I’ve read so far. So much to read, though.
        Please, please pick a post that you would like for me to repost. Did I say please?
        I used to own a t-shirt company that promoted Love, Peace, Ecology, and Self-Love.
        One of my favorite designs was a shirt that simply says, Antyhing’s Possible. I designed it.
        The accompanying image is of a road that leads towards beautiful scenery and majestic mountains.
        I wear it all the time, namely to convey this message to others that may read it, while I am in public.
        I believe in this sentiment because anything is possible through alignment with God. ….even the seemingly impossible.

      5. I’m smiling at the image of that T shirt and knowing that it’s true. Aligning with God is the key. I’ll look for a post. Thank you for the encouragement!

      6. Thanks. Give me 1 – 3 days before posting it.

        I know what you mean, when you said that you need off days.

        I read and write so much, I need a break every few days


    1. Remember that this (leaving the past behind) is an evolutionary process that doesn’t occur in an instant. It’s not like you cross a line, then you’re in the present.

      It lingers over time, always with you. Setting this realistic expectation, can eliminate holding too high of an expectation that you may never attain.

      Accept that the past, especially pain, has already changed your life. You are now licensed to rebuild it.

      Over time, you will leave the pain, like breadcrumbs, on your path, and be left with only the wisdom.


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