Placing the Past in the Past

Learn the lessons and keep moving forward.

by Amanda LeBlanc

We are easing our way into the New Year. I know that for me, last year was a year of many questions. It was a year that tugged at my soul, begging for answers, truth and a new way. I have been so grateful for all that I have accomplished, but suddenly my success felt empty, losing all of its meaning. I could have easily felt sorry for myself or walked away from my passions, but I know that life is about cycles. No one life is all roses. With each New Year comes knowledge and wisdom. If we are smart, we take the previous year, look at all the experiences we had and we use them, good or bad, to grow and become better at this thing called life.

My advice to all of you who have faced trials and tribulations over the past few years is to leave it in the past. There is no good or prosperity that comes from bringing old baggage into the present.  One of the hardest things to do is to forgive those who hurt you, whether they have asked for that forgiveness or not. I recently read an article about the pain we allow others to inflict upon us. The article, written for young girls, discussed the damage this pain can do to our lives. The writer explained that the best lesson for young girls to learn is that when people lash out or try to hurt you, it has more to do with the other person and the pain they have in their own lives than with you. This should make it easier to let go and forgive those that hurt us, but it’s always easier said than done. What we need to remember is that holding on to the past hurts; it holds us back today from achieving our fullest potential. I spent some time over the last few weeks of 2012 letting go of past hurt. I realize that it does not mean continuing a relationship with those individuals nor does it mean forgetting the lesson learned, but it does mean freeing myself from that pain in order to have the best 2013 that I can have.

I remember all too well the sadness I felt as I left my teenage years and entered my 20s. I was so sad to leave what I thought was the end of my youth. At 36, I now laugh at the thought. When I entered my 30s, I was so glad to see my 20s behind me. I believe that part of your life is nothing but lessons and hardships. Those years can be a confusing and scary journey to find yourself, filled with a lack of confidence about who you are. I breathed a sigh of relief as I entered my 30s, a little more aware of who I was and what I believed. I see now that this era of my life contains its own set of hardships and lessons. I have to stand firm in what I believe and learn that it is sometimes hard to do that, especially not knowing who you are. I look fondly at my friends in their 40s who have an attitude of “Kiss my ass! I am who I am and I love it!!” I look forward to those days and I better, because at the pace life is flying by, I will be there in the blink of an eye.

Overall, I believe that for this year to be successful, you have to let go of the emotional clutter in your life. You have to forgive those that suffer so much pain in their own life that they look to hurt others. You have to embrace all that you have learned and use the knowledge you gained to make you the best you of today. Above all, you have to learn to love you and accept yourself for all that you are.

This year, make the choice to be happy and follow your dreams. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, so you need to live today to the fullest. This too is a lesson I have learned in my 30s. It doesn’t mean quit your job and go on a sending spree; it means love those around you, prioritize how you spend your time and with whom you spend it.

If tomorrow never comes, know today that you lived with your morals, ethics and priorities the way you felt was right. If you have regrets or have wronged someone, know that it makes you a better person to apologize, ask for forgiveness and right your wrong.

Here’s to the best year of all; the year for you, 2013.

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