“Let Go of the Past” is Bad Advice

I know what you’re thinking.

“This guy is content with suffering through life’s many ordeals and should be reported to the police and locked up for his own good.”

Before you jump to any conclusions just like the one mentioned above, I have something to tell you first.

Please don’t call the cops.

On Closer Examination

This message is ubiquitous. Its preached on every imaginable social media altar and always well received. Everyone agrees, that to live in the present is to forgo the past. That doesn’t sound too bad now does it? In fact, you don’t see any problem with it. 

What you haven’t realized is how this isn’t some deeply coveted truth that needs to be dispersed as far and wide as possible.

Let go already!

Truth is a bitter medicine and never received well, so anytime you see something being treated like a revelation and received well at the same time, I can guarantee this, that whatever’s being passed off as a remedy or cure, is a lie that’s sugar-coated with layers upon layers of caramel. Lies provide us with comfort, its like lighting up a cigarette just to get some relief, while fooling ourselves into thinking a puff or two or two thousand won’t lead to any serious lung problems.

Again, please put that phone away, I’m not thrilled about spending my life locked up in a tiny prison cell.

Even Our Lord and Savior

Jesus Christ was treated as a heretic and had to suffer at the hands of his own people for being bold enough to preach his message. He endeavoured tirelessly, to spread the Lord’s message far and wide, but was met with grave violence from the ignorant and fearful folks of his time. They made him carry his own grave, because the message he had for them was a little too bitter to their liking. 

They absolutely crucified him.

Jesus Christ man.
Photo by Alicia Quan on Unsplash

“But Letting Go is Therapeutic!”

“Letting go” of what? What is this past you’re trying to forget? The actions and decisions you took that lead you to experience tremendous amount of pain and misery? You want to forget that? Do you believe it will relieve you of what you’ve already done or put yourself through?

Are you sure?

Its not like we have to ability to clear unwanted memories with the flick of a switch. Its not like we can snip off segments from our memory using a scissor forged out of the words, “Let it go”. Alzheimer isn’t a skill you can develop at will. It’s gifted to a selected few as they enter old age.

Not a pleasantly received gift mind you, since they keep forgetting about it.

So What About History?

If that is the smartest thing to do, then why do we keep track of history? As you are aware, our history is rife with violence and debauchery, so unbelievably inhuman and catastrophic that the Devil himself would scuffle into a corner and repent. Why do you think the Devils reign in a dimension different from ours?

They know just how screwed up we are.

Hell naw! Imma stay put here in Hell!
Photo by guille pozzi on Unsplash

The reason most violent atrocities that adorn our past don’t happen anymore, is because we keep track of the past. We know what lead to those events, and what portions of the event behaved as a catalyst for the destruction that took place in those times. We know better, than to trust the mob to deliver punishment, than it is to have a non-biased jury in charge of dealing the judgement, for he is free from bias and will cast the right decision. We know better than to put our faith in a power beyond us and rely on it completely to save us from our misery. It is our ability to perform despite the odds which decides our fate.

After all, God only helps those who help themselves.

Which when you think about it, is a rather convenient position to hold.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

We have progressed far beyond what our ancestors believed were possible, and it’s because we didn’t let go of the past. The past has its place, and by dethroning it, we are plunging ourselves and our future into the swamps of regression. That won’t bring us prosperity, but abject misery.

We will regress back to the age of barbarians who believed in witchcraft, sailed the seven seas in search of adventures, treasures and beautiful women they could take up as wives…

On second thought, that doesn’t sound too bad!

All aboard the Viking Express!  
Photo by Victor B. on Unsplash

Let Us Get Personal

Even in your personal life, the past holds a very valuable position. If you were to forget the stupid things you did while you were young, and let go of the pain associated with them, you will repeat those mistakes again. 

History teaches us Patterns. It tells us indirectly that it will repeat itself if people don’t get the message. Same can be said about the past you are trying to let go off. The only healthy way to interact with the past is by visiting it from time to time by means of pen and paper. Don’t take the digital route of recording or typing it. 

The physical act of writing provides you with a much more real and organic feel to it. You can’t erase what you write down in paper with a simple click of a button. You really have to think things through before you put pen to paper, which is the whole point of writing.

It rids you of indecisive behavior, which is all the therapy you’d ever need.

Let Go of the…“Past”

People have grossly misunderstood what that statement is pointing towards, because of how vague it is.

What it is trying to say is don’t latch yourself onto past grudges.

You don’t latch yourself onto Grudges. But by phrasing it as the past, you are letting all those valuable lessons slip by as well. Forgive and let go, no sometimes you don’t forgive. Some people don’t deserve forgiveness. These are people who are hell-bent on snatching everything that belongs to you and your children, keeping only themselves in mind. You can’t forgive those monsters and should strive to keep them away.

When you forgive someone, you are allowing him access into your territory. When someone has done you wrong, you don’t forgive just for the sake of forgiving. Abandon that Christian principle, it will only invite misery into your home.

You need those boundaries, because when you forgive, you are letting that boundary of yours caramelize, and who wouldn’t want a bite of that? You attract all the flies to your garden, hoping they will keep it clean.

But that defeats the purpose of “not holding grudges” doesn’t it? I can see you reaching for the phone so I’ll make this quick, when you take the time to study why you’re holding onto those grudges, you let go most of them, because 90% of them are trivial.

The rest 10% aren’t.

They tell you something about yourself.

Something about Little Ol’ me?
Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

If you let go of that 10%, it will remain there to terrorize you. If you keep lending support to a friend who always vanishes in your time of need, you are a fool. You believe that by continuing to aid him, that one day, he will be there for you, or that one day he will realize his mistake and turn himself around.

He is a part of the 10% you have to analyse; the insecurities that motivate you to invest in a friendship that brings you nothing. If you let go, then he will continue to benefit thanks to your wilful ignorance. Staying in such relations will pervert your idea of trust and attract more dysfunctional people into your life.

A New and Improved Version

Instead of forgiving and forgetting, adopt the principle of understanding and utilizing. Understand why you went through what you did and utilize that experience to help others navigate their way past those hurdles. 

Many hate studying history, because of all the depressing phenomenas present in it such as the split of various countries into smaller portions, or mutiny among tribes. It’s not history that has cleaved them apart, it points to the factors that has resulted in the cleaving apart of them into two or more factions.

Same can apply to your life, don’t hate what happened, but search for the factors that led to the cleaving away of those people who were once dear to you. Blaming what happened on bad luck or fate does you no good. Keep track of your past, it is a reminder what can and will continue to happen, unless you root out the cause of your suffering.

*Police sirens blaring*

Wait, yo-YOU! I trusted you!

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