My mother and I were having a conversation the other week about the past and why I was having so much trouble letting it go. I was wondering why we all have so much trouble with letting go of the past. Why we glorify it so much in the present and why it holds us back from moving forward in our lives today?
My mother perfectly summoned up the answers to my questions with one analogy: the difference between a house and a home. Ok. So that must not make sense to you just yet, but listen.
When you think of a house, what comes to mind first? Somewhere to live. A physical place. A place where you put your stuff. But when you think of a home, what comes to mind is more than just somewhere physical. A house can be something temporarily lived in, unless we begin to make it more permanent by turning it into our home.
Now a home is something deeper. Mainly a sense of security and comfort. Where you place your identity in. Sometimes your worth. Your family. Whatever you love. A home is more of a metaphor that describes your sense of refuge. It is a sanctuary. A safe place. Somewhere you can always turn to or know you can go back to. Home does not have to mean a physical place like a house, but it can be a person, or your family, or your job, or anywhere that you find comfort.
How does this relate to the past? Well think about it. When we think of the past, we often have thoughts of nostalgia, comfort, and security associated with it. We think of the past as somewhere safe because we knew it well. There were no unknowns. We were familiar with every part of it and the familiar is always something that’s comfortable to us. And even if the familiar was something not good for us, we still tend to run to it because ultimately we fear the unknown more than we fear what we know is bad for us deep down.
This is why it becomes so difficult to let go of the past. Because we have wrongly made the past our home and the present our house (something we are just temporarily living in the moment). By doing this, it keeps us from truly living our present lives. We won’t enjoy things in our present because we are only thinking of them as temporary or not as great, because the past is truly where we feel most comfortable. This will not only affect our moods, but it will also affect our well being. It will make us feel regret or longing for what once was because we are glorifying it to be greater than it really might’ve been. It’s truly unhealthy.
But yet so many of us do it. Why? Because of fear. Because we are so afraid of moving outside of our comfort zones. Because we don’t want to explore out into the unknown but would rather stay in the known even if it’s something that is completely bad and unhealthy for us. So we stick to what we know and we cheat ourselves out of living out new opportunities in the present that could possibly make our future even better than the past ever was.
Her analogy truly helped change my mindset. For awhile, I was believing that I could never move on from the past and that the present was just such a terrible place. But in reality, I was making it a terrible place because I was only viewing it as something temporary and deluding myself that soon I would be able to find that past comfort again, that it was only a matter of time. I think a lot of us believe that. That one day the past will return. But in reality, the past is the past and it is never coming back. Sure, we may have similar experiences, but in reality, the past can never be repeated into exactly what it was.
So I vowed to change my thoughts on the present and my future. I vowed to create my present into my new home and find comfort and security in it once more. I would create that familiarity once again, because in truth, everything that was once unfamiliar will eventually become familiar with enough time and effort put into discovering it.
Ever since changing my mindset from house to home, I’ve come to feel a new sense of hope rather than one of emptiness. I feel like my future is bright and there are new possibilities out there for me. I feel that maybe, with time, I can begin to find that same sense of comfort and security once more. Sure, each moment is only temporary, and things are always changing, but we can also choose to make the best of our present situations by making it our home, rather than believing that the good times only lay in the past.
Daily Self Love Challenge: Let go of the past, start making the present your home.
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