Life lessons

On re-reading the past #FridayReflections

Over the years in my work, I have seen a lot of young people with a past they’d rather forget. Kids who have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused. Kids who have been bullied for years. Or kids who have witnessed a trauma of some kind. Most of them present with depression, anxiety, emotional dysregulation or post-traumatic stress disorder. Some have coping strategies like drug abuse, drinking or self-harm. You might think with horrific histories such as these, it can be hard to get better. It can be hard to get on with life.

The fact is, it is possible to get on with life. I have seen successes during treatment even in cases of abuse. But I have seen a lot who haven’t improved. Most of the time, it’s because it becomes hard for them to separate the past from their whole selves and their present lives. While it certainly isn’t easy for people to get better and overcome such trauma, it’s harder when they firmly believe it dictates their life.

While with trauma, I can understand the difficulty of working through it, it’s harder to understand those who stay fixed on other things from the past. I’ll be honest — we all let bits of our past cloud our present. Me included. But at some point, we need to learn that reliving the past is not going to better our present or our future.

When I was younger, for years I kept a mental record of all the unfairness my parents put me through. Every time I’d get into trouble, I’d list to them: ‘You did ___ to me when I was 6, you did ___ to me when I was 7…’, and so on and so forth. I’d also list how they didn’t do any of that with my younger sister. The end result was it hurt me more because I was resentful. I hadn’t moved past it. During my late teens when I had a reasonable relationship with my parents, I still let those memories cloud everything. How unfair it was to be the older sibling. It was only when I started working as a psychologist and heard some truly horrific parenting stories, I realised I probably had it good. Sure, it wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t bad either.

There are times I am tempted to let my past dictate my present and future. Especially in terms of my experiences of people letting me down. Every time I’m let down, it hurts. It reminds me of previous hurts. And I wonder why the hell I do it. Why the hell I continue to trust people. But then, I also know that if I didn’t, I’d probably be lonely. So it’s a risk I’m willing to take. As a friend recently told me, you just need to learn to accept that everyone will let you down at some point. It hurts less when you know to expect that.

I know a lot of people though who let past friendship or relationship troubles affect every other friendship or relationship. Hell, my ex was a bit like that. Just because his ex-girlfriend cheated on him, he constantly expected I would too, thereby driving a wedge in our relationship. If we live in fear of the past repeating itself, we forget to truly live. We let our past control us. And don’t enjoy the present.

Sometimes when I get clients who are still fixated on past problems {not traumatic ones!}, I yearn to shake them and tell them how it’s still affecting their lives. How they are letting past friends or family affect their present and therefore, their future. But it’s a lesson for them to learn. Just as I did.

How do you go with letting the past go?

Do share!

Living my Imperfect Life

If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away.

Write Tribe and yours truly give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up every Friday. The link will be open till the Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.

Feel free to add our Friday Reflections badge to your post or sidebar! Follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group. Share your post on social media with the hashtag #FridayReflections.

Prompts for this week:

1. What can you see outside your window? Describe the weather, the sights, the sounds in the best possible way
2. Write about a time you failed at something. Did you try again or give up completely?
3. Take your camera for a walk and write based on one of the photographs you take
4. “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one” Use this quote in your post or as an inspiration for your post.
5. Picture Prompt via


Our featured writers for 15th July was Mac Glanville for her absurdly lovely post and for 29th July was Ankita on loving yourself.

Do link up this week and spread the word! Friday Reflections is back weekly!

Until next time,



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  • Nabanita Dhar
    5 August 2016 at 7:26 pm

    I’m not very good with letting go of past hurts.. I can’t forgive those who hurt me and I never ever trust them again. And because of my past experiences of being hurt by friends, I’m very skeptical about meeting new people and making new friends. My first reaction is to see the bad in people and think that they will hurt me, only past that initial phase do I let people come close . But still, I don’t think I can form close friendships in life anymore

  • Ramya
    5 August 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Iam very good at letting go past than my friends. It doesn’t mean i could forgive people who hurt me. But, They don’t haunt me. Usually, i don’t want to take anything from the past other than lessons. I treasure good memories though.

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    6 August 2016 at 12:24 am

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  • Corinne Rodrigues
    6 August 2016 at 1:20 am

    It’s hard to let the past go and see each new experience and person as a fresh start. I like to think that I have worked on myself enough, then something will come up and I realize that I still have miles to go. The important thing, to my mind, is to realize that we’re still a work in progress and to admit that.

  • Mackenzie Glanville
    6 August 2016 at 12:38 pm

    It is a really great quote, makes you think that’s for sure. I think in so many ways my past has shaped me, how could it not? Both good and bad, but I look at the bad and how it has made me stronger. I see the faults in the things my mother did and make different choices, yet I also see what she made the choices she did due to her mothers faults. I see the terrifying abuse I suffered at the hands of a former boyfriend and I see how I left and how I was strong. It took me a long time to stop blaming myself and hating myself for staying as long as I did and start loving the part of me that stood up to him and left him. I don’t hold grudges I let go and move on and make healthier choices, but I am also my own worst enemy and my anxiety is something I fight every day. Still I wouldn’t change anything because I am where I am due to all the good and all the bad, I love my life, I do not love my anxiety, but I will not let that win.
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  • Dashy
    6 August 2016 at 4:44 pm

    In many ways holding on to the past is so much easier, because it is something familiar. The future is unknown and unreliable, so we are bound to stay away from its thoughts. Nice that you got over the past, we may not be able to even if we try sometimes. Living in the present is easier said than done.
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