Monday, August 29, 2011

Presenting the past

"What kind of heart doesn't look back?"
- From Sara Bareilles' Breathe Again

Often times, we are told not to dwell on our past and to focus on moving forward instead - enjoying the present and planning for the future, or at least looking forward to it.

Yet there are times when looking back is not only worth doing, but in fact very much necessary.

Allowing yourself to recall the experiences you have emerged from in your past is important because it helps  define who you are today. It is a crucial building block for your future too as it presents the possibilities of who you can be or are already becoming.

If we allow everything from our past to fade completely from our memory, we become empty shells - devoid of meaning and purpose. There is no wealth of wisdom we can draw from because we have conveniently forgotten the mistakes we have committed previously, thus also discarding along with it the lessons we had learned back then.

Remembering your past also keeps you grounded. Although you may be a huge success today, there was surely a prior season in your life whereby you had yet to accomplish anything and had only ambitions and perhaps limited resources. Having undergone the journey towards success, it would now do you a great deal of good to always keep those times in mind because it will help in preserving their humility - an essential ingredient for truly sustainable success.

Despite the morbidity or even melancholy that may be attached to it (for certain cases), the past has values of its own to offer us, if only we took the time to reminisce.

Yet at the same time, we must be careful not to succumb to dwelling in the past indefinitely. There is a need for reflection, but there is also a need to advance. The past is not meant to hold us back. However, it is a necessary tool and treasure that we cannot afford to totally leave behind.