You might have heard that focusing on the past is bad.
The past can be a powerful tool that launches you into a productive, magical future… but only if it’s done right.
There are two ways to look at your past:
- My past is hurtful. I wish I could go back and fix XYZ…
- My past is the trail I’ve left behind.
Let’s look at each of them separately.
The Rear View
View 1- “My past is hurtful.”
When you view our past as hurtful, or full of regret, we bring it into the present moment. Our present moment becomes regretful. Scary thought, huh?
View 2- “My past is the trail I’ve left behind.”
When you view your past as the trail we’ve left behind, something else happens…
This view is more powerful, it’s introspective. It says, “I was there, and now I’m here.”
When you take the second view, you can harness its power to create a productive view of your past, present, and future moment.
Look To Sankofa
Taken from Wikipedia:
Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that translates to “Go back and get it” (san – to return; ko – to go; fa – to fetch, to seek and take) and also refers to the AsanteAdinkra symbol represented either with a stylized heart shape or by a bird with its head turned backwards while its feet face forward carrying a precious egg in its mouth. Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates as: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”
Sankofa reminds us that in order to go forward, sometimes we need to look back.
There are powerful aspects of ourselves laden throughout our pasts; they relay patterns of behaviors and our beliefs about the world.
Going Back and Getting It
A powerful exercise:
Grab a piece of paper and list out your accomplishments and goals you’ve completed over the years.
I promise you, you’ll be surprised by just how powerful you are. When I wrote down all the things I’ve accomplished and all the fears I relinquished, I came out of the exercise feeling inspired and empowered.
I also noticed patterns of behavior in myself, my blind spots, that I’m now working on correcting.
When we look to the past, to Sankofa, we craft powerful and inspiring stories that launch us into something greater than we ever thought we could be.