Is Nostalgia Holding You Back?

At some point in our lives, we have all hung on to past experiences for far too long. We reminisce of that relationship that didn’t work out when we were younger or how simple life was as a child. We fantasize about how wonderful it could have been or how wonderful it once was.

While doing so, we fail to realize that our fantasies and real life are two completely different realities. It’s hard to notice, but nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

nostalgia

Having nostalgic thoughts is a natural part of life. It makes us all feel a bit more human and provides us with a sense of wholeness again. It allows us to distract ourselves from the present moment and reminisce of those wonderful childhood memories, yearning for the days when life was so simple.

In some cases it’s perfectly fine to hold on to happy and positive memories, as long as they were in fact good memories.

However, in most cases we use nostalgia to distract us from the truth of the present and to protect us from the pain of reality. These memories are seen as something beautiful, something irrevocable and somewhere that will always be better than where we are now.

By recalling a memory of the past, you are remembering it how you have chosen to remember it, not by the actuality of its events. That’s where it becomes unhealthy.

What you really need to ask yourself is this. Were those “good ole days”, really that good?

 

Why holding on, holds you back

Past memories can become distorted because we only remember the positives emotions of those moments and block out the negative ones. Those perfect days that were followed by perfect nights when there was not an ounce of sadness in our lives.

Because of the pleasant qualities associated with these nostalgic thoughts, people can spend days wrapped up fantasizing about the past, longing for their current emotional state to be just as bright as it once was.

We fail to understand that yearning for the “good ole days”, is actually a mechanism to help us cope with our current state of happiness. It’s easier to reminisce and even fluff those old memories to be better than they actually were than to face the thoughts of reality.

Examples are all over the place. The neighbor that always mentions how fit he was back in high school and how he scored four touchdowns in the championship game. Or your cousin who still talks so highly of her ex-boyfriend, even though your entire family knows how badly he treated her.

By remembering things differently than as they actually happened, you’re creating a false sense of reality for yourself. The same is true for the neighbor who is using his past memories to help him feel better about his current health.

In either case, you are unconsciously causing harm to yourself. Facing the truth can sometimes be scary. But don’t waste your time holding on to false truths. Remember things for what they were and not for what you wanted them to be.

 

Why letting go, lets you go

letting go

Letting go can be difficult. It can be painful. But, it’s healthy. It’s okay to hold on to fond memories, but let go of the toxic ones and stop trying to promote them as something they weren’t.

When you stop yearning to relive the memories of the past, you can begin to live in the present. Focusing on the present means less thinking about the past and there is much to be gained from that.

By no longer comparing your present emotions with your past emotions, you’re allowing yourself to focus on your current feelings. Learning how to deal with your present emotions will allow you to focus on improving your current emotional state.

The freedom you will experience after letting go of the negative past feelings is indescribable. Trust me, it’s worth it!

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