When Your Past Calls… Don’t Answer
When Your Past Calls, Don’t Answer; it has nothing new to say.
have this really great job as the speech coach for TEDxGreenville, which is presented in April, and in the course of meeting the presenters, I met one whose mission in life is to help those who have been in prison to begin again, because, as she says, they’ve paid their debt to society, so now it is time to get on with their lives.
One of the lessons I gleaned from the conversation is how strong the pull is that many people feel once they have left their past, and it is a daily struggle, because for so long it’s all they ever knew.
How many times have you fallen back into an old habit or pattern because you answered the call of your past? You know you should not have picked up the proverbial phone, but you did, and you said hello and now you’re dealing with the aftermath.
I’m encouraging you today to say goodbye and leave your past behind you as you move forward.
I think it is interesting that so many people I talk with have this same pull — it’s like a spider web that seems to draw many back when they have come so far — and it’s odd in a way that the stickiness of your past is hard to unglue in the present.
But it wouldn’t be if you didn’t answer the phone. Friends, let me remind you, when your past calls, don’t answer; it has nothing new to say.
And the reason that your past has nothing new to say is that you are not that same person you were then, way back then. You are not the same person who made those mistake years, months, days, hours, minutes ago. Now, you may be making new mistakes, but that’s a talk for another day.
Life is movement forward unless you like to live in the past.
And some people I have met along my journey like to live in the past because, for some, it might have been their glory days. You know, like when you played football without your knees hurting, or you could sing without your voice cracking or you were student body president and did great things…years ago.
It is okay to remember your past; just don’t live there, because that is not your future.
And those who have a past that is less than stellar, why, oh why have your brought it along with you? Leave it behind, and even if it calls, don’t answer. Why? Because it has nothing new to say.
I know that in some circles it is considered spiritual or healing or good for your soul to keep digging up old bones and chewing on ’em again, but that is not for me. And I trust that after our talk today you will realize it is not for you (or anyone you know) because, unless you glance back and learn from a mistake, you’re just going to be staring at a damaged or empty past and that does you no good.
And allow me to mention for those reading who are of the faith community, once you’ve been forgiven, you have no need to go back and relive your past days — that’s an insult…and you know it.
If I had a nickel for all the could’ve, should’ve, would’ves of life, I’d be a wealthy woman. But since I don’t dwell in the past, I’ll have to make a living another way.
I had a friend who was wailing about what was done to her ten years ago at work, and the darndest thing is that she can remember every job and title, even down to the clothes they wore, but she is the only one living in the past. Everyone, and I mean everyone else, has moved on and moved out and even moved up but her.
A friend of mine went through a divorce. Really, it was hard for all involved. His wife walked in one day and said, I’m sorry, I don’t love you anymore. You’ve done nothing wrong; I just want out of the marriage, and she left the car keys on the table and walked out the door. Now I know that had to be devastating, and to the best of my ability I get it — it’s wasn’t fair, and it hurt deeply — but my friend carries that hurt on his heart, head and shoulders and has now turned bitter and mean and even — I hate to say it — ugly.
From the outside I think, wow, he has chosen, allowed and accepted to let the situation destroy his life forever. He not only picks up the phone to his past, but he carries the phone with him and even lifts the receiver to make sure it’s working in case his hurtful past comes a calling.
If someone treats you bad, just remember that there is something wrong with them, not you. Normal people don’t go around destroying other people. Never let someone with the significance of a speed bump become a roadblock in your life!
We all make mistakes that we’re sorry for, but if you don’t move past it and settle it — forgive it and forget it — you are the only one hurting your soul and spirit; I can guarantee that the others have moved on.
I have spoken about this before, but every dinner party I go to, I hear the same stories of unforgiving past lives and mistakes and hurts, and how good people keep dragging their past from relationship to relationship and therapist to therapist as they travel along.
I really like the quote, You can’t change what you refuse to confront. And some of you reading today need to see your past for what it is and move on. Okay, your past called, you answered, it told you nothing new…now hang up. You’ve already confronted those mistakes — you’ve seen them for what they are…for the millionth time — now change. Really change your mindset, only you can do that. Only you can forgive, forget, get over, pass by, move on and not answer — only you. Because, remember, the other person doesn’t care or (believe it or not) they’ve forgotten you already.
So what will you do today? I saw a funny quote online that said… You want to come in my life — the door is open. You want to get out of my life, the door is open. Just one request. Don’t stand at the door; you’re blocking the traffic.
I love the quote, If you carry the bricks from your past relationship, you will end up building the same house.
How about that? You will end up in a different location, but actually the same place, and then you’ll wonder how you got here again. I’ll tell you how you got back there again. Friend, you built the same house on a different lot.
Friends, please, when your past calls, don’t answer; it has nothing new to say.
If it will make you feel better, on behalf of everyone who loves you, we’re sorry you had to go through all that… you didn’t deserve it…we know you’re hurt, but please know, if you’ll just look up, you’ll see that you can heal, forgive and (one day) you may even forget. The choice is yours. And, remember, as your friends, we want you to find healing and forgiveness because we want you to be happy.
One of my favorite songs is by Pharrell Williams from the movie “Despicable Me,” and it’s called “Happy” That song can make your two left feet dance for joy because it is happy!
So why do we — those who love you — want you to be happy? Because, as Paulo Coehlo says, “If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.” Friend, it always does.
It’s been said that life is like a camera — focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and, if things don’t work out, take another shot, because for every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
And, friends, you’ll lose your happiness if you’re too busy on the phone listening to the voices of the past. Why would you do that anyway, since you and I know that they have nothing new to say? Next time your past comes calling, let it go to voice mail and then delete it, because it’s got nothing new to say and you have your whole future waiting for you to arrive.
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