Lesson 38: Leave the past in the past

I have said before to take the good things and learn from the bad things.  I stand by that.  If you don’t learn from your mistakes, all you will do is repeat them.  That being said, it is important to treat each relationship as a new beginning.  When I say to leave the past in the past, I am referring to treating the person you are currently with as you would if they were the first person you have ever been with.  They deserve a clean slate, and so do you.  Whatever happened to you in previous relationships is not their fault.  It has nothing to do with them.  It is a difficult concept, but if you want to be happy, you need to learn to move on and start fresh.

Past relationships may have shaped you into the person you are now, but it is entirely up to you as to who that person is.  Do you want all your relationships to go the same, or do you want things to change until you find the best situation to be in.  Take the things you liked from the previous relationship, and move away from the things you didn’t.  If there are certain actions or behaviors you will not tolerate, make it known.  Communication is important, but more important is the content of that communication.  You don’t have to justify or defend your relationship preferences to anyone.  If you are with the right person, it will be a smooth and easy conversation.  If there are any issues with what you have to say or what you want, take note of the red flags and act accordingly.

Whatever happened in your last, or any previous relationship, the person you are currently with (most likely) had no say or control over.  Maybe previous relationships ended well or maybe they ended horrifically.  Either way, you need to learn to move on.  The person you are with is not (likely) any of your ex’s.  If they are one of your ex’s but you decided to give it another chance, this would still apply.  Whatever the reason, and whoever you are with, this is an entirely new experience and you need to treat it as such.  There is nothing to be gained by opening old wounds so leave them shut and give the fresh start a chance to thrive.

You can’t undo the past, nor should you ever forget it.  That means you can’t alter what has already happened by trying to fix that old problem in a new relationship.  I am not saying to forget what has happened.  Learn from it.  Allow those experiences to influence what it is you are wanting from the next relationship and leave it at that.  Maybe your ex was a liar or a cheater.  Maybe they were dismissive or abusive.  Those all really suck and I am sorry if that was the case.  The key word there: was.  Be with the person you are with now and remember, that wasn’t their fault.  Don’t punish them for it and don’t hold it against them.  Let the new relationship grow unencumbered by the tragedies or hardships of the past.

Learning to take responsibility for your actions is one of the hardest things to do.  It is so much easier to assign blame to other people or other circumstances rather than face the fact that everything is a result of the choices you have made up to that point.  Once you are able to accept this as fact, you would be amazed at how much easier it is to get past difficulties moving forward.  You will stress out about fewer things.  You will find yourself less anxious when times get tough.  One of your greatest weapons in making things work in the future will become adaptability and the courage to face hardships head on.  Best of all, each hardship faced becomes a lesson learned so that future encounters with similar issues will be more manageable.  

Takeaways:

  1. You both deserve a clean slate.
  2. Who you were doesn’t have to be who you are.
  3. Don’t punish people for past events they had nothing to do with.
  4. Have open communication and don’t ignore the red flags.
  5. Take responsibility for your decisions and face the consequences head on.

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