Why do we obsess about the past

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Your present is not satisfactory

So many people tell me that they are trapped in their pasts and that they are having so many regrets about what they did. In my article How to forget the past and move on i said that we obsess much about the past when we are not that happy with our present.

Let's suppose that someone broke up with you and left you feeling down. In such a case you are very likely to keep remembering that bad event every now and then. Now suppose that you found someone else who is much better than this person who left you, according to your own standards, do you think you will still feel bad about the past?

Probably your emotions are going to be much less since your happy present will prevent you from obsessing about the past. See also My past is haunting me.

Why do we get negative repetitive thoughts

In my article Why my mind keeps sending me the same unpleasant thoughts i said that our subconscious minds will always keep reminding us of bad events until we reach a proper resolution.

Let's suppose that your group of friends decided to exclude you from the group without giving you any reasons. In such a case you are very likely to keep obsessing about this event simply because your mind is longing for a resolution or an explanation.

This past event might keep bothering you until you find something convincing that calms your mind down. Now what if one of the people in the group told you the truth and you discovered that those people were very jealous of you because you were more popular than them.

How would you feel about the event?
In such a case the memory of the event will hurt much less since you managed to provide some kind of a resolution to your subconscious mind. See Why you are still trapped in your past.

How to stop being obsessed about the past

Now that you know how things work it's time to know how to stop being obsessed about the past:

  • 1) Fix the present: The first thing you need to do in order to stop obsessing about the past is to make sure your present is going well. Our minds revert to negative backward thinking when we find ourselves unhappy in the present. See What causes backward thinking
  • 2) Reach a resolution: In order to truly stop thinking about the past you need to provide your mind with a good explanation about what happened. Once your mind finds the explanation convincing your negative emotions are going to be much less
  • 3) Promise to fix what happened: Past experiences can sometimes leave us damaged. In such a case you need to promise your self that you are going to remove the damage that happened by making serious changes to your life. Once your mind believes in your plan your negative emotions are going to disappear. See also How to recover instantly from bad moods.
  • 4) Naturalize the emotional damage: We remember bad events because of their intense emotional component. Let's suppose that you got rejected and that this event damaged your self esteem. In such a case you will only care about this event because your self esteem was damaged. If you rebuilt your self esteem then probably this past event will stop affecting you.

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Want to know more?

How to stop living in the past

How your past can prevent you from recovering from a breakup

This is why you regret your past

How to get over anyone in few days (book)

How to make anyone fall in love with me fast (book)

How to end Depression instantly (book)

How to control people's minds (Course)

How to develop rock solid self confidence fast (course)

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