Overcoming Your Past

Vital Steps On How To Get Over Your Past

It is quite tricky to encourage someone from “moving on”, “don’t look back”, or “get over it” because we do not really know how it hurts when we are not involved. However, as you read on, I pray God gives you the strength to move past every negative past and to enable you to create a new beginning.

Furthermore, every person has experienced some emotional pain, and we have dealt with it differently. I want to share a story with you, and hopefully, you will get one or more lessons from it.

As a young lady, I love getting close to older people to draw from their wisdom. I will quickly add here, not everyone advice you get from older friends is good for you. You need to learn how to filter information before implementing them in your life. Moving on, I have this friend, Karen, she is super nice, and lives with her husband and three lovely kids just a little farther from the noisy city.

Karen’s Story…

One day I met Karen in the kitchen whistling one of CeCe Winans’ song she looked happy cutting the vegetables. I ask her to tell me the secret behind her happy home. I even went as far as telling her she always has things figured out.

Karen stopped whistling, and looked at me quizzically and then smiled. Oh dear, you have no idea. I smirked my lips, drag a dining chair, sat beside her, and wait for her to continue.

“Would you be a darling and get me a glass of water?” she asked politely. I shrugged and went to the refrigerator to get water for her. I waited patiently, to as she slowly drank the water. My patience was running out

“Joy, you really do want to know how my family and I are so darn happy…”

Yes! I replied impatiently

Well, thank you for the compliment, I really do appreciate it. She smiled and dropped the glass of water on the table, poured the vegetables into the bowl, she checked the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. All this time, I sat there watching her every move.

She finally took an opposite seat and sighed

You see Joy, it has not always been like this when Derrick and I were courting, I made him see hell… she chuckled as she saw the surprised look on my face.

I was always skeptical about Derrick, every good gesture towards me was suspicious, I always felt the “the real Derrick is yet to be unveiled” he got tired at some point, but unlike the rest past boyfriends, Derrick didn’t quit.

I nodded, I didn’t want to interrupt her even though I have questions for her.

I had emotional baggage, and it was affecting my relationship. I had trust issues and low self-esteem, even though friends around me didn’t see it. I knew deep down I was not okay.

What happened? Why? I managed to ask

She looked at me, not sure if I can handle the next phase of the story.

You see, as a young girl, my parents were unfaithful to each other. Although my Mom said it was anger that made her did what she did, but it was too late. Where I come from, it is a taboo for a wife to cheat on her husband. It is believed that men are polygamous by nature, and we women should learn to be accommodating.

It didn’t sit well with my mom; she felt betrayed by her husband, my father. She started making new friends- women who are no longer with their husbands or unmarried. Their lifestyle got into her, and she started behaving like them. She didn’t care if my dad was seeing other women or not. However, they both loved us. We didn’t lack anything, and the love they showered on us was more than enough to notice the rift between them.

Joy… she reduced her voice; then I knew she was about to say something serious.

 My Mom got sick, and the house was not as happy as it was. My dad tried all he could to be there for her, but death struck, she left this world. Dad was distraught; he wasn’t himself, we sometimes hear him talk to himself, sometimes cry… it was not easy for him, and certainly not easy for us too. Barely a year later, my dad died of stroke. And my siblings and I learned to fend for ourselves.

I got angry with my mom for years; I blamed her for what happened to my dad. I blamed her for not being a “typical” African woman- a woman who bears the pain and the emotional hurts of her husband. I also blamed her for getting sick. My dad too didn’t go scot-free, I blamed him for starting the whole tragedy in the first place, why would he cheat on my mom, all because she wasn’t able to give him a son. I also blamed him for joining my mom too soon and leaving kids to learn to live without parents.

All these events took a toll on my relationships… trusting a guy was difficult, and to be sincere, the ones before my husband Derrick gave me more reason not to trust men. However, I was determined to have a beautiful home void of insincerities, lies, deceit, etc. virtually every my parents showed to each other. But I cannot do this if I married the wrong person- so I became extremely watchful. Once I notice a red flag, I quit… though breaking up was painful, but giving my kids the best environment to grow was more important to me.

When Derrick came into my life, I didn’t make it easy for him. We often quarrel over trivial issues, and somehow, he didn’t give up on me. I pushed him, with my negativity but he was patient with me, he still is- Karen laughed

So how did the low self-esteem crop up? I asked her

You know Joy, Africa is especially, the country I come from, frown on women who cheat on their husband or who are divorcees. Most families will not want their sons to get married to a girl whose mother has that history.

Oh, I see…

Yes, Joy, that is our unwritten rule, although a lot of things are changing now, even their beliefs. I got worried that no man would want to marry me because of my “mother’s sins”. I kept it a secret from my friends. I didn’t want them to see me in that light… it was difficult for me.

So how did you get over your fears?

She smiled and continued – Joy, I am going to give you a few tips, these tips will help you look above your mistakes, your pasts and live the life you’ve always wanted.

How to get over the past

First of all, you need God. We cannot do anything without Him even though we try to avoid Him.

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Despite my salvation, I was still burdened by my past; I didn’t want His help in this area of my life. The Holy Spirit is a gentle Man; He won’t interfere in your situation just because He is the Almighty, He needs your permission to do it. Until you ask for His help, He will not do anything. He can only wish you could see the benefit of His presence in your life.

When I saw how patient Derrick is towards me, I had to ask God for help because I didn’t want to ruin the relationship, he deserved better, and I want to be the “better”. And guess what?

What? I cleared my throat. The aroma from the oven made me realized I missed lunch.

He did! The Holy Spirit came to the rescue Joy.

I smiled, and asked her “So, you are saying the Holy Spirit is here to do EVERYTHING for us? That is cool.”

She shook her head gently and said no.

But you just said we should ask Him for help…I queried

I know what I said Joy, but you need to hear this… every Christian needs to listen to this. “If God had wanted to do everything for us, He would have excluded the brain when creating” Our Heavenly Father wants us to take responsibilities, instead of shoving every little thing at Him to solve.

I nodded my head

Back to the topic, the Holy Spirit gave me the strength to journey through the healing process.

So what exactly did you do to get over the past?

You are getting impatient I see…

No, I am curious… I said shyly, deep down she was right, I wanted to hear the secrets.

Here are the things I did, and I hope it will be useful to you when you or the people around you

Stop The Blame Game

I realized blaming my parents for their actions, and the reason for our situation will lead me nowhere. They both had a choice to make a difference, but they did not.

Blaming other people but yourself will hurt us more than we think. We anticipate the “moment of apology” when someone did something,  or they have wronged you in some way that mattered to us. If we don’t get that moment, we plunge into self-pity and anger. I blamed my parents for leaving us, for not taking the right decisions, and it made lose focus on other essential things…

Important things like? I asked

Well… for starters, I have my siblings. God kept us, even through the hard times, and some of the people He brought to my way to help us per time.

Listen, Joy, the more we focus on our past, the more we detest our present, and lose a glorious future.

So are we not supposed to feel bad for what we have gone through?

Of course Joy, we are humans… we get hurt by friends, loved ones, colleagues, employers, strangers… we are allowed to cry, feel the pain, be angry, but we are not allowed to dwell on the issue for too long. Just because something terrible happened in one chapter does not mean you stop reading the book.

Make A Conscious Decision To Let Go

You may find it difficult to drop everything, and let go. One of the tricks I used is to tell myself “I know it happened, I cannot do anything about, so I am letting go” it was weird talking to myself, but it worked. Now the mistake people make when they are trying to forget their past is conditioning the mind to forget the past. It is not healthy, even if you succeed, something someday may spark, and the memories will flood your mind. Letting go is not deleting what has happened in your mind, it is acknowledging the fact that it has happened, but that is not “the you” anymore.

It Is Okay To Express Your Pain

We live in a world where people do not want to see “the making of the movie” they just want to watch the movie. A lot of people really don’t care about how you arrived at your position today, all they want to see is the glam. It has made several people conceal their hurts; they feel it makes them weak to cry or express their pains.

When my dad died, at first, I didn’t cry. I just went to meet my sister who was crying profusely, I told her to keep cool, that it is okay. I tried to shield the pain brewing inside of me. I hated the world for what happened to us, I disregarded God and anyone who would preach to me. But thank God for His infinite mercy, He was there with me, I just didn’t know it.

One day, I couldn’t hold it anymore, I cried like never before, I wept because our lives will never remain the same again. I cried for my younger ones because they are about to enter a phase none of us had seen coming. After everything, I was relieved, how to quickly pass that stage became my goal. Those who express their pain may seem weak to the world, but watch it, as soon as they get over it, they become the strongest people anyone can imagine.

Everyone Deserves A Chance

My parents’ infidelity, as well as my ex-boyfriend,  affected my dealings with Derrick. Anything he could not be trusted, I believed his kind and romantic gestures would only last for a while. Anytime we quarrel, I would ask him “are you tired? It is okay to leave if you want to, I won’t hold you back.”

It was awful, but I didn’t care, at least I pretended not to care. He would leave, and wait till I cool off before he calls back. One day, when we were arguing about something… really can’t remember what spiked the argument, he said “Karen, everyone deserves a chance. Stop I am not your ex, I am me” I keep quiet for a while, he left without saying another word. Derrick was right; I will not be able to move past the past if I keep seeing him as my ex. It was a difficult pill to swallow, but I know that if I must fulfil the plan and purpose God has for me, I need to get over my past.

For young people out there, just because you had a soured relationship does not mean every other relationship will be soured. You have to give your partner the chance to love you.

Forgive Yourself

One of the many tricks of the devil is to subject us under the law. Listen, God loves you, He knew you even before your conception. He knows your flaws that is why He sent His Son, Jesus to die for you and me. If our Heavenly Father can forgive us, who are we not to forgive ourselves? Unfortunately, God cannot help us to forgive ourselves, it is something we all need to do. Your mistakes and other people’s mistake are there to guide us when making decisions. The mistakes have been made, learn from it, and be better than you were.

Beep! The timer gave a quiet beep as if it was trying not to disturb our conversation, and at the same time reminding Karen about the turkey in the oven.

The lessons I got from Karen that day has helped me, and I hope it will help you too.

Let me quickly add here, the Holy Spirit is our friend, comforter, teacher, to name a few, but He will not help until you ask Him to; He is a Gentleman according to Karen. If you are tired of doing things by yourself, seek His counsel, and He will help you.

Encourage Yourself: Lastly, you deserve to be happy. Do not let your past detects your future, but you can use the lessons to improve your future. My sincere prayer is for you to see how God sees you, and not how the world sees you.

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