It’s a haunting concept really.

The thought of diving into your past. It’s funny that the concept of personal examination of this time period is so paralyzing for so many of us despite the fact that many of us live in this place all day already.

We hold grudges, hold firm to events where our hearts were stepped on or broken, and spend a great deal of time thinking that things were far better “back in the day” then they are in our current struggle. We spend the journey walking backwards. No wonder it’s tough as hell to walk in the present.

Our past is our biggest enemy, but at the same time, it can be our greatest teacher. But the decision to go to that place has to be made for the right reasons. Eventually, you have to dedicate yourself to walking right into the thick of it, even the darkest of dark, lantern in hand, searching for answers that you always knew were there but you never wanted to take the risk to actually find out. Now most of us are used to short term gratification…and I am going to tell you the short term results of such a journey. Pain. Lots of pain. There’s going to be a handful of that. But if you can see the pain as something you need to grow, well then you can use it to your advantage. Situation after situation will arise causing short term punches of pain, but time and time again, if you are looking for it, you will find the lesson in what happened. You come to accept the past and it is only in this combination of learning and acceptance that the baggage is lifted off of your shoulders one piece at a time. But don’t settle. Keep going. Clean up your entire past. When it’s all clean, you will feel a sense of nothingness. From that, you can create just about anything for yourself.

Your ego is going to be the biggest obstacle in this entire journey. I can personally tell you how hard it is to let your ego go and look really bad for a while. In fact, if you focus on the fact that positive relationships in your life will bring you more happiness than you could possibly imagine, you will give up trying to be right about everything and apologize for what you are responsible for. After that, you cannot control how others will react to your apology, however, you will have cleaned up your part. Some will apologize. Some will say nothing. But like I said, the hard work has been done. These moments, the ones where you let down your guard…reveal more about you than anything else. They reveal character.

The past serves as a reminder for how far we have come. It shouldn’t be a place where we live though. If we live there, we miss out on the brilliance of todays light. Is it hard to do what I just wrote about? You be. But all good things in life come with some blood, sweat, and tears. It wouldn’t be worth it if it was incredibly easy. Toss your ego aside for a while if you really want to live in the here and now. Learn from the best teacher there is: daily life.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project