When the Past becomes Present and Future

“The first recipe for happiness is: avoid too lengthy meditation in the past.” ~Andre Maurois

“Do not brood over the past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future.” ~Swami Sivananda

“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” ~Maya Angelou

“There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it.” ~Eckhart Tolle

“The future influences the present just as much as the past.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Every day we are faced with choices, some are big and some are small. These choices will determine the conditions of our life and have a direct impact on our overall level of health and happiness now and in the future.

past, present, future

What most people don’t realize, however, is that many of our choices are being made by our past conditioning, hurts, traumas, failures, disappointments and the fear of reliving these again in the present.

We make these past-influenced choices on a subconscious level, not even aware of how our past is steering the ship.

So how can we consciously make ourselves aware our past may be playing a role in the choices we make? We can do this by becoming aware of our behaviors and attitudes and see if they are creating the life we want or if they are keeping us stuck in unhealthy patterns and circumstances.

Here are some common subconscious ways that the past influences our life on a daily basis.

Self-limiting beliefs

Deep down, most people want to do more, be more, have more and accomplish more. So what stops us from doing the things we need to do in order to fulfill our dreams or desires? What stops us is the belief we cannot do it, or are not worthy of the things we desire.

Somewhere in our past we were conditioned to believe we have limits to who we can become, what we can achieve and the kind of life we are worthy of having. A seed was planted.

When we feel we can’t do something, or can’t achieve something, or can’t have something, it is up to us to see that a past influenced, self-limiting belief is getting in our way and affecting not only our present life but our future as well.


Anger happens; it is part of being human. However, when anger becomes our signature trait this is a definite red flag that our past has far too much influence on our emotional state and well-being.

This degree of anger typically means we have unresolved hurts and wounds from our past and we are finding any outlet to release the emotional tension created by holding them inside. The sad part is this: we leave a wake of innocent victims in our path and create of life of misery and drama.

Need to control

We all know about this one to some extent. Control brings with it a sense of safety and for some a sense of power. It is indicative of deep-rooted fear and a lack of trust in our ability to handle—emotionally or otherwise—what happens in our life. Our desire to control everything and everyone outside of ourselves is a sign that we lack control of what is inside us; we lack trust in ourselves.

Our need for control comes from the past. This past has conditioned us to believe we need control in order to protect ourselves and be happy. Until we become aware of our subconscious need for control and investigate what it is we are trying to control, we will create a present and future that lacks peace and contains constant anxiety.

Unhappiness and feelings of depression or sadness

Anger and feelings of unhappiness and depression are part of life brought on by events and circumstances throughout our lives. Yet, when these feelings linger and become more of a constant in our life than feelings of happiness and joy, then we have to pay attention to this glaring red flag.

We are holding onto past hurts, wounds, disappointments and failures. This type of clinging leaves very little room for happiness and joy to enter even when they are staring us in the face. It can make us blind to anything in our present that we can be grateful for and it can create a future with more discontent than happiness.

Making peace with our past through forgiveness and apology is an important part of releasing the hold it has on our present and future.

The past is over; it cannot be changed or undone. So many of us feel that by holding onto it we can somehow rewrite it or make it different, that by not letting it go we have some power over it. When, in fact, the opposite is true. By hanging onto the past we are giving our power away to it and losing our ability to create a life of happiness and freedom.

Make the choice to let the past go and take whatever actions you need to support yourself in this choice.

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