# 3 Steps to Freedom From Your Past

By: Mike Dennison

We all experience events and traumas in life that leave a lasting impression on us and may even shape the person we become. Those events become a part of us and part of our story. Some of those events may even been heinous and something that no one should have had to go through. When those events happen, it is natural for us to point to them in the narrative of our lives and use them to explain behaviors and thought patterns.

We may say things like "I'm afraid of dogs because I was bitten by one when I was five" or "I don't like water because I fell into a freezing lake when I was a child." Usually these event shape both our past and future. How many people have hesitated to enter into a relationship because "my last boyfriend was big into football too and didn't have time for me" or "the girl I dated in high school was aloof and pretty cold, this one probably will be too." These are just examples of projecting past experiences onto future relationships.

The good news though is that you do not have to let the events of your past dictate the course of your future. There are concrete things that you can do that will enable you to help yourself move on to better things in life.

1. Forgive -- Forgiveness is one of the most powerful things that you can do to move from the past to the future. It will not be easy and ironically, it will not really even benefit the person that hurt you. The thing about forgiveness is that it is really about you and what you are willing to do to obtain healing. When you forgive someone you are really releasing yourself from the hurt that you have been holding onto. You put your desire for vengeance and your tendency to examine how you were wronged aside in favor of healing and having a future.

2. Move on -- At some point, if you truly desire freedom from your past, you have to move on. You have to stop letting it be what defines you. You have to make a conscious effort to change the habits and patterns that you have in your life. If something in your past makes you be drawn to people who are bad for you, decide to stop hanging out with people who are bad for you. If some trauma from your childhood makes you cope with your problems by eating, decide then when you want to eat for comfort that you do something else in its place. Stop making your past your most passionate story. Nobody wants to hear how your father beat you and your mother did not love you. People would rather hear about how you took that adversity and used it to help others.

3. Talk it out -- I am not referring to just recounting your story. I am talking about finding someone you trust, a friend or counselor, and really going deep inside to discover how your past makes you feel. When you have done that, work with that person to come up with a plan for changing your behavior and empower them to hold you accountable. If you choose bad men, give them the right to veto your choice of dates. If you eat because you are lonely, let them clear out the junk food from your house and hold you accountable for going to the gym. Have these people around you to hold you accountable.

Freeing ourselves from the past is not an easy or quick process. There are no magic bullets or quick fixes. It takes time and you may even find yourself covering the same ground over and over again. It can be a frustrating and extensive process, but it is worth it because the destructive patterns you are engaged in can be changed to something much more positive and beneficial. So put in the work to free yourself because it is a poor way to live in the present if you are always looking over your shoulder at what has already gone by.

Mike Dennison is the author of "365 Self Help and Motivational Tips for Living." After having gone through several traumatic experiences in his adult life, Mike reinvented himself and now shares his experience of healing with others. For more information and a free sample of Mike's book, visit http://www.BuildingTheBestYou.com.