Everyone has an aspect of their life that presents hurdles to moving forward. It may be difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships, achieving financial stability or attaining professional success. For me—as my regular readers know—it’s holding onto consistent physical wellness.

These trials present opportunities to grow personally and spiritually. That is if we’re open to them.

Recently, though, I realized I’ve sabotaged my ability to learn from and conquer those challenges by replaying mental videos of my previous illnesses.

Past trials don’t mirror what we’re facing today

We aren’t the same people we were last week, last year, a decade ago. We’re constantly remolded by our experiences. Circumstances are always different, and even though a situation may seem the same as past ones, it isn’t. Every struggle presents different dynamics.

Why replaying old events is unproductive

First of all, it roots us in the past. And, places us squarely in the realm of fear. As I wrote in 2014, you can’t live in fear and faith at the same time (see post “Overcoming Fear: A Personal Journey to the Divine”).

When I dwell on previous health struggles, I start convincing myself that I’ll be sick for a full year or 18 years, depending on the event I obsess about. That leads me to reinforce negativity, instead of empower positivity. I lose faith and consider giving up my quest for good health.

When I grip too tightly to the past, I can’t progress.

Photo by Bob Smith, freeimages.com

Photo by Bob Smith, freeimages.com

Eject that video from your mind and replace it with new footage

Refuse to star in these depressing dramas. Keep the past where it belongs.

Break free from this downward spiral by considering these questions:

  • How do your past and current predicaments differ from each other?
  • How is this challenge similar to older ones? What worked before? Is there a different way to respond today?
  • How can you apply past lessons learned to new challenges?

Take action based on the answers to #1 through #3 and visualize a positive outcome to the situation.

By freeing ourselves of past traumas and realizing every new hurdle is unique, we can stop living in the past and have faith in a better future.