Embracing The Past For a Better Future

Four years ago I was preparing myself to leave. I wanted to leave my painful heart and my family’s drama behind. I wanted to give myself a break, a new start, or at least that’s what I convinced myself of. I thought it was my chance to break free and become independent. Once I moved abroad, I started paying my bills, taking care of my food and clothes… I told myself I was an official grown up now, and that the past didn’t exist. I wanted to have no memory or recollection of it, but that’s not how it works, is it?

It took me years to move on from my ex. It took me a lot of crying, a lot of numbness, a lot of weird dreams at night, and a lot of inner work. For a while, I pretended I didn’t care about him and that I didn’t want to know whether my parents randomly bumped into him on the street or had a two-minute chat between them. However, each time my mother said she had seen him, I would feel a punch in my heart. I moved on, later, but I didn’t make total peace with the past, so the subject was a trigger. The story was never properly closed, and I never felt really comfortable with the idea of bumping into him or his family ever again. How would I react? Would I be able to stand my ground?

It was with great horror that I faced the fact that my sister’s kenpō teacher is a family member of my ex. He reached out to me, telling me who he was a good few months back. I froze in time, not wanting to believe what was happening. At the same time, flashes from the past started to come through my mind. Yes. It was him. I could remember now. The past was unlocking itself very rapidly, and I couldn’t do anything about it. Did that mean I had not moved on? Was I still stuck on my ex? When would I finally be released from it?

Time has past, and time has also brought answers. My issue was not after-all with my ex but with how I decided to deal with the past. I had wanted to get rid of it without realising it is a part of me too. No matter how much time goes by, what happened will always be a part of me. I didn’t move on not because I still loved my ex, but because I refused to accept the past as something that had happened and which had messed up my life. I was honestly ashamed of the past, and I tried my best to make it disappear, because I didn’t want to deal with it ever again.

The funny thing about life is that it always gives you lemons when you are desperately looking out for honey. After I moved abroad, my parents relocated to the village right next to where my ex lives. When I would come visiting them, I always felt anxious whenever I had to walk through his village to get to the nearest small city. Finding out about my sister’s teacher connection and having to personally talk to him functioned like the final trigger.

I didn’t understand why all this made me nervous, but now I do. I didn’t want the past to be a part of me. I was resisting its existence, hoping it would go away forever. At the time, I thought it was the best way to protect myself and of giving me the chance of being happier. Life doesn’t work that way though. Whatever we resist, grows bigger; and the bigger it grows, the more harmful it gets. Today I’m happy I faced my fear and anxiety. I’m grateful that I saw how I have been the one blocking my own way towards peace. By avoiding the past, I also missed out on opportunities to talk to lovely people such as my sister’s teacher, his wife and son. I would have never known how people were fond of me then and how I didn’t go unnoticed. In truth, I wouldn’t have felt a little happier today if I hadn’t faced my fear of embracing the past.


  1. I swear, making peace with the past is the hardest part of moving forward. You take 10 steps forward, only to have those yuckies pop up out of nowhere. Here’s to your continued healing…🙏🏾🦋

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  2. Really, really good on you for facing that fear. It can feel unbearably awful, but I promise it’s for the best ♥︎ I’m definitely learning that when we ignore or repress things, they come back to bite us hard later; like you said, whatever we resist grows bigger. My heart goes out to you, and I praise you for your bravery x

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  3. This is so important and I feel like a lot of people *cough* me *cough* overlook the power of making peace with your past. Until you do that in some way shape or form, you can never truly move forward in life. xx
    El // Welsh Wanderer

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  4. I used to get annoyed when my parents spoke with my ex….I was done and didn’t want to be reminded either, I too felt anxious about going home as if I did bump into him, what would I do! But I realised too, that feeling it and accepting it as part of the past helped me move on and now I just don’t think about it. Xx

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  5. Vanessa, it’s so weird that I read this now. I was just thinking, literally an hour ago, about the family of my ex (who sadly died really young – we’d already been split up for about 3 years). I’m not sure why I was thinking about them exactly. I haven’t seen them since we split up (about 20 years ago!)! But some of those people were a big part of my life. I have recently reconnected online with a friend of my ex’s… and I’m considering meeting up with her. From there, who knows, perhaps I’ll even meet his mum and dad again. They are lovely people. Maybe, just maybe, it would do us all good. Thank you, lovely! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How crazy is it? I’m sorry for your loss, it’s a sad story and it must have been so difficult for the family. Maybe there is some healing to do, who knows if you don’t meet them all back indeed. I feel it would somehow comforting for all. It’s a good reminder of how we never know what life may bring us back xxx

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