Some things are part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.
NOTE: This post has been updated and moved to here:
5 Ideas You Must Leave Behind to Get Ahead in Life
Photo by: Adrian
Practical Tips for Productive Living
Written by Marc Chernoff // 62 Comments
Some things are part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.
NOTE: This post has been updated and moved to here:
Photo by: Adrian
© 2006-2023 Marc and Angel Hack Life
Questions, comments, advertising inquiries? Want to be a guest blogger?
Site design by Brian Gardner
How do you decide whether it’s better to stay or go?
Marc Chernoff says
Jeanette, there’s certainly not “one size fits all” advice for deciding to stay or go. Here are two posts that may give you some needed perspective:
– 10 Toxic Relationships Mentally Strong People Avoid
– 4 Toxic Behaviors that Tear Couples Apart
Thanks for the reminder to leave behind the things that are holding us back. For me? Per your previous article and open letter to those who don’t feel “good enough,” I’m leaving behind any idea that I’m not good enough! I’m giving myself the benefit of the doubt going forward!
Maryam naz says
I agree Kathy, but I don’t know how to do that. I’m a 17 year old girl, and I have a lot of trouble with life and I guess people say yeah that’s how teenage life is but my situation is different. Any suggestions?
sometimes, all you can do, Maryam is envision a good future for yourself and take the tiniest of steps in that direction… sometimes those steps are simply looking for the steps “out” and “into” your new future so you don’t re-create what you already have.
Kathy, “you are fearfully and wonderfully made” – believe in yourself.
Peter Owen says
Marc Chernoff says
Thank you for the continued support, Peter.
As long as you are breathing it’s not Too Late.
I’m in the same boat as you.
But… I AM GOING TO FOLLOW THROUGH .
Partially because I have no choice… But mostly because it is my Destiny!
Live Yours !
Thank you, Marc and Angel, for this post. It really spoke to me today. Keep up the excellent work!
Superb and very timely… all the points are so apt..and would like to add that, no matter what the odds are against you, no matter how confused you are at the threshold of a decision, when ur eyes and ears are open to ur heart, u will find that one person or a solution that backs you… just cling onto that and leave the old baggages and start a new life… there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.. When we hit the rock bottom we need to kick back with same vigor to rise to the surface, without drowning, holding on to that one and only one support…. God be with us..
Jesh Subramoney says
“be OK with not being OK all the time”
I have been knocked down on so many levels in the past 18 months, and today is the one day where that I am overwhelmed and really not OK.
I needed to hear that. Thank you
Gcina Mthembu says
Wow this is true powerful motivation indeed,thank u 4 uplifting my spirit everytime when I read yo emails.. At the moment I’m going tru a rough patch, I’m an unemployed mother of 3 but pursuing my dreams I’m studying doing (Bed) in social science.
Lei Lani Lucero says
Number one reminds me of a quote I am focusing on lately:
“Forgiveness means letting go of any hope for a better past”.
“Forgiveness means letting go of any hope for a better past”. Now that is exactly what I need to focus on! As well as every one of the steps in the article above. My husband of 25 years and I have recently separated! Recently like in the past month! It was a long time coming, and not real sure what we are going to do about it! I say we, obviously I’m a work in progress. I feel lost, alone, exposed,,,,,and very angry! Oh and had a hysterectomy in march 2015! Nobody told me I would loose my mind after surgery! All of this I think I could eventually sort out but am also raising my 2 grand children, ages 7 and 10! No help from their parents! Now am faced with raising them alone, no job, no skills, have been a stay at home Mom for years! The panic grips me when I think about that its my responsibility to form and shape their lives and teach them the value of life! I feel I don’t know how to. I’m so bitter and angry at the whole situation!
Sorry. I’m not sure if this was the correct place to unload all this. But just getting it out , I feel better
This is easily going to become my quote for the week, thank you lei lani!
Rebecca Bible says
Leave behind worry and have a positive daily thought. I journal each morning and it helps me to set my intentions each day. It banishes my worries and helps me to live in this moment and not in the past. I am becoming who I choose to be not who worry had forced me to be.
Yes, Tracey, I like your last sentence. Worry does turn you into someone else. It blocks all the good and distorts your personality, reasoning & reactions. It burns you out and wastes your days as you spend them in some alien skin. And most of the time you don’t even realize the extent of the effect until you are feeling so isolated and start wondering what ever happened to yourself in the first place. I too am in the place of going back to me, true, authentic me, and there is no room there for any worry or doubt. Good luck & wishes in your journey 🙂
Erica Alexander says
Leave behind and let go of any negativity you carry in your soul that needs to be released. Forgive yourself for having made mistakes. Learn from them and change your behavior to reflect s positive outcome you already know you want. Let go of all toxic people and toxic relationships. As hard as it is- you must let go to move on. Put yourself first and not just saying you are, but truly caring for yourself as if you are your own love. Break the cycle of pleasing everyone. Please yourself. Free yourself of any negative thoughts and worries and replace with positive happy peaceful thoughts. And most of all, firmly decide to make a change. Don’t debate it over and over. Just do it 100% even if you have to relocate geographically or just in mind. A new beginning is a fresh and cleansing start. Don’t pull the horse and buggy behind you. Grab the reins and fly forward without looking back having learned and grown from previous mistakes that will now serve you to be a stronger person. Giddy up!
Hi Marc and Angel I have been reading your blog for more than a year now and with every blog post I came closer to making a life changing decision, and I’m so proud of myself that I’m finally free from a toxic relationship. Keep up the good work, and God bless.
It’s hard to see a way forward at the moment. I met someone at 43 after a lonely and painful marriage and separation. We fell deeply in love and I felt so lucky, so blessed. But after almost 4 years together we have been unable to sustain a stable enough relationship for me and my two children. We tried counselling and I so wanted us to be together as I love him so much. But now I’m alone again at 47, and struggling to cope as my elderly dad is dying in hospital. I can’t see a bright future, but I will keep trying to look for the positive. I just wish I had someone to lean on, as I feel weighed down by responsibility.
Clare, you are going to be OK. You have done the right thing for your kids. Right now things seem dark, but believe me, it won’t last forever. I’m sorry about your father. As Mark said, its OK not to feel OK. Don’t deny your pain, denial is never the answer. Its OK to feel weak for awhile, if that’s how you’re feeling. Lean into it and let it deliver your back to the light. There is still much more love coming to you in life.
David Rapp says
I would add that you need to hold hands with the present and recreate your future, and that requires severing the chains to your anchors.
Anchors are the deep rooted beliefs, emotions, and failures from your past that seem to “never” go away. They are heavy, you drag them along with you, and the chains were designed not to break under stormy conditions.
Mine were forged with not taking chances, avoiding confrontation, and feeling trapped by poor choices in my career path.
How do I break them? Still working on that part, but things have come around for me in the last 10 days in an absolutely incredible way. Once I remembered that I cannot change the past, but I can change my future, the anchors got pulled off the sea floor. The sails are unfurled.
Hi, I would love to take comfort from this, but today’s a bad day… I’ve been greaving the end of a relationship, and I thought I was doing fine: but for some crazy reason I’ve had this gut feeling recently that she will come back to me. But rationally I doubt that she will, and today my heart just feels so broken, and happiness just looks like an impossibility. I guess I need to lose hope before I can find my way forward. It’s hard.
I am drowning in the grief of my husband, the love of my life, has abandoned me & fled the US for unknown reasons. He left me confused, penniless , & broken in half. I wasn’t even worth a note after 21 years.
I finally came to the realization that we can never re-create the set of thoughts, feelings and attitudes that led us to make a particular decision or action that we later regret. It’s just impossible to try to rethink it into changing it. We could never have done anything different because that’s who we were at the time. But we can accept that and that’s where the change begins.
#1 is an ongoing challenge I have been battling for a very long time. Many bad things happened in my earlier life. Some by other peoples actions, some through my own actions. I have made a big effort to forgive others and myself. Although I am living a wonderful life now, things from my past continue to pop up unexpectedly in my thoughts. It seems like when I think everything is OK, the memories suddenly come back out of nowhere and my anger/sorrow/regret, is back again until I can get it back under control. I guess my question is, how do I at least minimize how often my past comes back to haunt me?
I love the last one.. the ‘Not OK’ post! Eye opener, sometimes it is just NOT OK ! Thank you again xxx
Holly Lynn says
FEAR and the illusion that I should live up to unrealistic standards that no one (except myself) even expect me to live up to. I am my own worst enemy! Yes decisions I make for ME will no doubt effect the people I love most. But if those people love me then they will support the decisions I make that will ultimately result in a happier ME. And who says they will be effected in a negative way? Only MY FEAR is drawing that conclusion. Yes it is FEAR holding me back. At some point in my life – I or something I experienced planted a seed of doubt in my heart. Now after many years of hurt feelings and wrong thinking patterns – that doubt has been nourished and allowed to grow into enormous fear. The doubts and fears planted in my heart long ago have become my only reality…suffocating the real ME and causing her to second guess every thought and idea she has, every feeling she feels, every dream she ever dreamt and has halted her from taking the actions she must take. So I guess I will just have to…Do it afraid!
It takes courage to be your authentic self. Ultimately the REAL people around you will appreciate and even admire this.
Please know that your emails are changing lives…in a good way! Many thanks!
I had a terrible divorce in 2007, jumped right back into a relationship and he cheated on me and I’m devastated. I know it’s not me, but I cannot shake the feeling it has left me with. 10 years of my life with this man and one day when things were going great I just happened to see a text from a women he admitted had been talking with for months. Your book is helping me everyday, but you know, I’m not okay most of days. I’m trying.
I don’t think there is one answer, one magic wand that makes life great, i am using all my hardships to encourage others now, so all the sorrow and hurt etc etc is hopefully helping others, they can come to me and not be judged, they can say what they like no longer shocked, they can cry and weep if that’s what they need, i had a lovely mentor like that who accepted me as i was, she was a real stalwart, she passed away sometime ago, and i haven’t slipped into her shoes, i will do things differently, but i can learn from her wisdom and compassion, what i am saying is, life’s pain can be used and life experiences can teach and comfort others, its not wasted, we are far better people if we are like the above and hard times bring out of us the best. i would rather have had though awful times to teach me better things in life than be selfish and mean. i am not belittling how tough life is by no means, i know to well, but i am seeing now glimpses of a rainbow when all i saw was dark dark clouds,
i love the lady who wrote , get in front of the cart and take the reins and giddy up, we need to move on sometimes xxxx
your blog is amazing well blessed every time thank you
I need to leave behind a relationship that did not turn out the way I planned or hoped for. The last 7 months have been really hard. I am trying to come to terms with it is over and I need to accept that to move on. I have my good days and my bad days. Lately it has been harder than ever.
Harmony @ CreatingMyKaleidoscope says
I often think about how our family’s options are limited because we made mistakes with money. I try to channel my regret into motivation to fight back against our financial issues. Although, I can’t focus on the past too long or it might swallow me up. I’m in a good place now, straddling the line between getting lost in ruminating on “what could have been” and using it to fuel me. Everything happens for a reason. We have to keep on moving forward.
ms Mubashir says
Having honesty in your dealings brings purity of soul. I have started loving those moments and have come to realiZe the old lies I have to leave behind in starting this new journey.. You feel so light hearted and guilt free!! It’s an amazing journey … Thanks a lot for writing such a beautiful piece.
It’s funny, I see these sites that some people who I know frequent– Horoscope advice, etc. Everything ridiculous to me. Then I see this, which is Legit and Profound in every way. Am humbled at the wisdom. But I cannot decide whether to stay or divorce. How do I figure that out? What is so simple for some, is not for me.
Maggie @ SelfThrive says
I also think it’s really important to know that you don’t have to be perfectly okay all the time, and that there are many situations in life which will make you feel not okay at all. The trouble is when the people around you make you feel as though you have to be okay, and when they express impatience with the way you’re feeling. But I guess that part of leaving it all behind is also leaving behind the opinions of those who don’t understand.
trishi sharma says
This is by far the best post that i have come across.
I need to know how to accept and be happy with someone and not judge them by looks or actions. God knows I am not a perfect person. I need to know how to adjust to a big change in my life. I know I am not ok and that really bothers me in more ways than one. I feel trapped and no where to go. Any answers, anyone?
Hello Brenda — none of us is perfect, but God does know what struggles each one of us has. In deciding what persons should have a place in your life, I believe that you DO need to judge them by their actions — “by their fruit [actions] shall ye know them.” Since I don’t have any detailed knowledge of your life situation, I can only suggest a few things that have helped me in the past. First, I prayed earnestly — I admitted to God that my situation came about largely because I had made some poor decisions, that I didn’t know where to turn or what to do next, and said “Please help me.” It wasn’t easy getting through the next year, but, with God’s help, I’ve been able to get to 75 years old with a feeling of peace. Try getting outside for a daily walk to see trees, lawns, green trees, if that’s possible for you. If you can’t get outside, take a “mini-vacation” courtesy of Google images; click on images, type in a place you would like to visit if you could — beach, mountains, botanical gardens, a particular city, possibilities are endless. Cry if you need to. Stand tall with your arms held up in a “victory” pose for a few minutes every day. Keep a “thankful” notebook: in a small notebook, daily, write down 2 things that happened that day for which you are thankful. They can be very simple, such as, today was a beautiful day. I saw a lovely garden. Someone gave me a compliment about my pretty blouse. Or, I had a breakthrough thought, I don’t have to accept someone else’s opinion of me. Be sure you are getting enough B & C vitamins; your body uses these up faster when you are stressed. Some people are soothed when they listen to Gregorian Chant — go to Youtube and search for Gregorian Chant, lots of it available. If you would like to read the Bible, go to biblegateway.com, there are many different translations available, choose one that appeals to you. I start each day with prayer and ask for guidance for the tasks I need to get done that day.
Keep reading and studying, there is always more to learn. Peace and hope from Elva
I can’t leave the old lies, not now.
Anne Marie @ Inspiration Kindled says
I just recently discovered your blog and it’s helped me to stay positive when I’m at a difficult place in my life right now with little control… Number three on this list really speaks to my life experience, and numbers two and five gave me serious food for thought.
I would expand number five to include being okay with imperfection. This has been a constant struggle in my life and it turns into an excuse – like you mention in number two – to not go after what I want or finish what I started. I read a really great book last year, “The Gift of Imperfection”. It’s a work in progress!
thanks so much for the advice, but I am in a dilemma. ave been married for the last 14 years with two daughters. the last 4years have been hell my husband drinks a lot and doesn’t eat he has grown thin , he says I am the problem. I had to stop working to take care of the children and the house, but now he does not do anything for the kids. please advise.
Kapet, go online and google ALANON. it is an organization that helps the families of alcoholics the way ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS helps the alcoholic. . . . Also, his not eating is classic alcohol addiction. Most alcoholics will choose alcohol over food which causes the alcohol to speed thru the body. Try to get him to eat every chance you can. Being filled up with food will help push away the bodys desire for alcohol, but only temporarily, eventually when he gets hungry again he will reach for alcohol again. Those two tips are about all you can do – the rest is up to him. Many alcoholics recover, but just as many never do. And NO his addiction is NOT your fault, dont let him play sick mind games with you, HE is responsible for his decisions, choices, addictions and recovery. Prayers and good vibes to you and yours. ((hugs))
Al Anon is a great resource for families of alcoholics and other addictions as well!
The Three C’s “I did not cause it, I cannot control it and I cannot cure it” as to their addiction..
Al anon is a life changer
Great post. Really resonated with me and where I am in my life. I only recently found your blog, but I’m a big fan already. : )
Very true 🙂 Only after you have lost everything, you are free to do anything!
Laura J. Tongl says
Marc, you’ve painted an incredible picture of how life could be without these 5 elements holding us back. I couldn’t put them in rank order because all 5 are a #1. An incredibly helpful and though provoking post, thank you.
Frank - Houston says
As No.1 was put to us in the Men’s Group, at Church; “One must first die, in order to live”.
Daisy daisy says
All the above is great, positive insight.
However when there is still a small amount of love for a partner in any relationship (be it good or bad ) it’s very hard to break free, break their hearts and your children’s too . When your in the not so good relationship but want to be happy, you have to he strong. Strength is the hardest thing to find when you know the road ahead is going to be a hard one .
Dan Erickson says
Great points. I think these are all things I’ve touched on over at my blog, Hip Diggs. One thing I would add is “hard feelings.” I think harboring resentment will keep you from moving forward. I was a child victim of a cult and forgiving others is the best thing I’ve don in my life to move forward. Forgiving ourselves is also important.
I left behind everything, just for a week. I took myself away from noise and expectation.
This was a great experience and helped me to answer many questions I had been asking.
I now know that I need to leave behind the ‘ideal’ of who I think I should be. I am good enough and I have everything that I need already in my life.
I’ve been in a 15 year marriage that has drained me. Through the ups and downs, the turbulence, and the heartaches I have tried to hold on to a whisper inside me that reminded me of who I am. The whisper got louder and louder and now it’s shouting ‘Begin Fresh’ ‘Hold on to you’, yet I am unable to make that crucial decision to let go. Your article has created this niggling thought about the ‘excuses’ I may be making that keep me stuck in this cycle. I no longer know what ‘love’ is and that makes me so sad. I have a warped understanding of what it may be to be loved. I have to now face these excuses I’ve been making. All this time I thought they were part of my decision-well reasoned choices, but it can’t be, can it? Not if I keep finding myself shrinking. Your description of the shrinking process is so powerful. That’s me. I once shrunk to the point where I couldn’t recognise myself. I’ve tried over the last 3 years to reverse that process, and although I’ve grown, I’m still in this relationship. I still fear losing something, but i’m not even sure what. I spent 3 years separated and I know staying with him has nothing to do with physical, financial or practical needs. What lies am I telling myself? Why is it so hard to call an end to this relationship that has brought me so much heartache? I feel so lost at times.
Marc Chernoff says
Aysha, deep inside it seems you know what you need to do. Listen to yourself and take small steps. See how these small steps affect your life. Decide if these steps are helping you or hurting you.
The key is to change things up for a short time (gradual changes), and see what life looks like from a new perspective/routine.
Sending positive vibes your way…
Marc Chernoff says
Thank you for all the kind feedback on this post, everyone. And THANK YOU for reaching out and helping each other — nothing in my mind is more beautiful.
These sentiments really help. I’m sixth months into divorce #2. It’s very easy to spiral into self disgust. Giving myself permission to accept that it’s ok for things to stink for a while helps a lot. A lot. Thoughts and prayers for everyone struggling. Remember to breathe. This too shall pass….
Jessica Sweet says
Thank you for this post!
I think #1, what could have happened, can be interpreted really broadly. Any choice you’ve made in your life that feels like a compromise now requires us to look at it, recognize it and let a piece of ourselves go. It might be a relationship or some failure, but it also might be big and small life choices that we’ve made along the way that have gradually (we suddenly realize) have led us down the wrong path. It takes a huge amount of courage to course correct at this point, but to move forward you have to.