As we said last week,yesterday is the encoding of your history. Inside it is anything that features as experience or events that have already taken place. What should be your attitude to yesterday?
Some people have opined that yesterday must be consigned to the dustbin of history. For such people, the past is best forgotten and never consulted again. I wish it were that simple. You cannot forget your past. You can only empower or disempower it subject to your understanding of your destiny. The experiences of yesterday obviously prepared you for the challenges of today.
How can you forget the person who sacked you from a job you believed held a future for you? How can you forget the loved one who betrayed your trust? How can you ever obliterate from memory the haunting images of an uncle or even a father that took advantage of your naivety to sexually abuse you? It would be foolhardy for you to wipe off the face of a loved one you lost at a most inauspicious moment in life. You will no doubt vividly remember the excitement of your wedding day or the birth of your first child. No woman can ever forget the experience she had with the first man that made love to her.
However, the past is only as powerful as YOU make it. In the first part of this write-up, we learnt that accessing the future is predicated on two critical elements, your memory and your imagination. If your memory is an integral part of your progress, then you cannot totally forget the past unless you want to delude yourself.
To significantly advance in life, you must learn to BEFRIEND yesterday. Yes, you read me right. Make friends with your past. If you do not want to be trapped in the web of regrets that the spiders of the past have an uncanny ability to spin around you, then you must learn to make friends with your past. You cannot change yesterday, but if you do not master how to handle it, yesterday can damage your tomorrow. But if you learn the lessons inherent in the experiences of the past, you can use it as the launching pad into destiny. How do you befriend yesterday?
Selective amnesia. You simply choose what to remember and use in the present while leaving everything else in the pigeon-hole of the past. No experience has power over your future unless you drag it (the experience) along.
Let’s take a trip to a battlefield in Israel in Bible days. The Philistines (modern day Palestine) had occupied a territory belonging to Israel while relying on the skill of the giant named Goliath to harass the Israeli army for forty days. Goliath came with the strategy of selective confrontation; get the best and you’ve got the rest. The entire Israeli army was petrified. Even the Commander-In-Chief went into hiding. Then David, a seventeen-year old boy who had been sent by his father to bring food to his brothers in the army showed up. He offered to fight the giant. Everyone tried to discourage him. He persisted until he got the king’s attention. The king did his best to dissuade this young lad from throwing his family into mourning. How would he with his frail frame confront this human behemoth? Then selective amnesia kicked in. David told the king stories of past victories. On one occasion, he had single-handedly killed a lion that tried to snatch one of his sheep. On another occasion, he had, with his bare hands, torn apart a bear that was a threat to the flock. His confidence at this new quest was founded on the premise that the same God that helped him to defeat these two monsters would help him kill the giant!
It does not matter how bad your past was, there would still be stories of possibilities and victories. Chapters of your yesterday will definitely include high moments when you felt like you were walking in the clouds of ecstasy.
Even in the places where you thought you failed or stumbled, there are opportunities of advancement if you learnt the lessons from the experiences. You had bad times but you survived them all. If not, you would not be here today! You lost a job yesterday, but you are not hungry today! Remind yourself that if you came out of it then, you will win again today. The end of hope is the end of life. How can you ever spell testimony without ‘test’ as the prefix? Can your life produce a ‘message’ without a ‘mess’?
So get rid of the anger and the bitterness. Demolish your prison of unforgiveness where you have been the real captive! With the right perspective, the yesterday that toughened your muscles and sharpened your instincts can never be an enemy. Yesterday is a friend, a reservoir of a plethora of referenced experiences that birth hope and power if properly harnessed. It extends the hand of friendship to you even now. Will you take or reject it? The choice is yours!.