I read a book one time about ways of discovering your life’s meaning. It was informative, and filled with lots of ideas and methods of taking your existence into positive territory. And one of the areas I enjoyed most was an exercise in listing at least ten of your biggest moments so far—those trinkets in time helping shape who you are and that left the greatest impressions. For everyone, those experiences can be both, good and bad; a divorce or bad breakup, childhood bully, death of someone you loved. Or maybe it was the thrill of graduating from college, getting your first job, meeting “the one,” beginning bike ride, or in my case, first solo flight in an airplane. But, no matter what yours mean to you personally, every single one leaves a lasting mark upon your mindset.

The question is: are you letting your past influence your future in a positive way?

We all endure disappointments and challenges as we age. It’s just life, and part of our individual plans. How we learn from, and apply these to our future is about our ability of letting the past remain in the past.

I’ve known people who cannot let disappointments and upsetting moments fade away, no matter how long ago they happened. One even said to me recently “the past is your future.” That was quite a statement, and left me believing they were allowing former misfortunes to dictate their future. Not, in my opinion, a healthy way of living and serves only to keep from moving beyond negative experiences, therefore, seeing the world through dim-colored glasses.

When something negative happens that haunts us, pulls us off course, makes us angry, causes us to loose faith, even draws us into depression, you never forget. But, rather than continuing to hold grudges or remaining upset or angry, I prefer using them as something to learn from, and move forward. Our future is all we have, and yesterday’s experiences, although we never forget them, should remain behind us.

Holding onto past distress and anguish is a form of self-inflicted torture which can cause serious health risks as well as emotional scarring. The truth is, when you’re clinging to the past, you’re internally changing your present.

How can something you’ve kept inside for so long be let go? It’s not easy, but it can be done with a little effort and self-reflection.

In personal relationships, learning to forgive and forget is the best way of moving forward. It may sound easier said than done, but forgiving someone who has hurt you can be extremely therapeutic. Strive to let things stay in the past and don’t allow them to affect your present. Once you learn to forgive the ones who’ve caused your pain, you will find it much easier to heal and move on with your life. Probably the best way of doing this is to confront those who’ve hurt you, let them know why, hopefully get an apology, and continue on.

At the top of the list of moving forward is forgiving the past. If you can’t change the past, you might as well learn to accept it and move on. You’ll be glad you did once you see how bright your future can be while regaining control of your life.

In our professional lives, disappointment is literally waiting around every corner. Maybe you had a boss that kept you from achieving your full potential, a co-worker that backstabbed you, a contract that should’ve been yours, or a company laid you off for reasons beyond your control. Things like this are never fair, or easy to accept. But taking from, and learning from these experiences in a positive way can help keep them from happening again.

Negative situations and being around negative people can destroy a person’s future more than anything. The trick is not allowing them to infiltrate your life. If something or someone isn’t supportive, helpful and mutually respectful or isn’t bringing something good to the table, find ones that do and gravitate toward them. Life is way to short to be surrounded by voices and circumstances not having your best interests at heart.

Looking at the future in a positive light makes life rewarding and worth living; anything else is a waste of time, and only serves to disrupt our potential.

Thanks for listening…

To read more of Randy Mitchell's writing, visit his website @ www.theinspirationalwriter.com

His novels are available on Amazon.