How To Train Your Heart Not to Look Back


In the silence of the dawn, all I could hear was; tick…tock….tick…tock…tick….tock—the sound of the second’s hand of the wall clock. It was very loud. I could hardly sleep because of that sound. At some point, the sound of my heart beat got synced with the sound of the clock and both played this rhythmic sound at a uniform pace. That was the end of a beautiful sleep on a serene night.

In a night when you are unable to sleep, that’s when your mind takes you to places. Usually, it’s able to take you to places you’ve been before and places you wish to be. It’s also able to revisit situations of the past where you were involved. This night, my mind started playing back some situations of the past that I was involved in. The ones that gave me cheer, I smiled in my heart. Those were not many though.

Bad situations started flashing through my mind. Those who hurt me in the past came along, and I had time to plan the way I could hurt them back. Times that I missed beautiful opportunities due to bad decisions all came passing by. In my mind’s eye, I thought of how I could have made things right but couldn’t. I was filled with regrets. All throughout the night, I wasted my head in thinking of the past and why I couldn’t get things right.

I’ve done things in the past that I’m not proud of. I’ve done bad things to good people and they walked away from me. I miss them sometimes. They won’t be my friends again. We all have a moment in time where things didn’t end just right. You might have dated a guy you loved so much but he ended up loving someone else. Or maybe you’re that guy who was loved truly by a woman but you ran into the arms of another and she treated you badly.

It hard, sometimes to let all go and focus on what’s ahead of us. You even make a conscious effort to let them slip. But they keep coming back to you one after the other. What else can you do to make them go away? What reasons can you give to yourself to make these regrets, hurts and pains go away?


#1. You are not the same person that did the mistake

In Shawshank Redemption, Ellis was asked by Parole officers if he was sorry for what he did. He answered; “I look back on myself the way I was…stupid kid who did that terrible crime…wish I could talk sense to him. Tell him how things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone, this old man is all that’s left, and I have to live with that.”

That boy. That woman who made that mistake is long gone. You are no more that person. Who you were when you made that mistake is not here anymore. You’ve matured. You’ve outgrown your mistakes. You’ve learned. What is left is to move on to the present you. Whatever happened that made you commit that mistake is no more relevant to the person you’ve become. It’s a new day and a new you. Give yourself the chance to experience what’s ahead of you.

#2. You don’t have to carry one burden all your life.

Two monks were crossing a river to the temple to pray. They met this prostitute who was scantily dressed at the river, struggling to cross. One of the monks carried the prostitute and crossed the river with her. As they were walking to the temple, the other monk was angry. He didn’t understand why the other monk should carry a prostitute whose way of life is against their teachings. So he asked the other monk angrily; “why would you do that? Don’t you know she’s a prostitute? Why carry a prostitute while on our way to pray?” The other monk answered; “I dropped her at the river. Why are you still carrying her?”

Surprisingly, those who hurt us go on with life without thinking about those they hurt. Sometimes they don’t even know their actions got you angry or hurt. But you are here still carrying them. Still scheming against them. While they walk freely, creating new things for their life. Drop them by the river.

#3. Good Opportunities will pass you by

You’ve been hurt before. A guy you loved so much left you when you needed him the most. You don’t want to go through all that over again. So you build a wall around yourself. No one is allowed in. A good guy can’t make it inside your walls. He’s not welcome. New opportunities will keep coming. You are locked in. so they will keep passing you by.

Living in the past pain shut you off from seeing all the good things going around you. If you judge people based on once upon a time bad experience you had with others, you’ll push good people away.

Give yourself the chance to try again. Let people inside your life so you can have the chance of meeting good people who will help you create better memories. Don’t let your past turn you into a loner. Be positive and let life shine through your day.

#4. Reliving the pain

I was once trying to console a friend who had gotten through a painful breakup recently. Almost in tears, she said; “I can’t believe he did that to me. I’m pained anytime I think about the whole thing. He could have at least given me a sign….” Then I asked; “you’re pained when you think about it, so why don’t you stop thinking about it?”

Revisiting the pains we went through in the past takes our emotions through the whole pain process again. It’s like a sore we never allow to heal—time tries to heal it but then we keep playing around the scab till we peel it off, showing the fresh wound underneath. Then we bleed again. Looking back to the past would bring old wounds alive again. And that wouldn’t serve you well.

But then if we would have to look back, it should be to;

a) measure growth—to know the difference between where we used to be and where we are now. And to identify what is it that we need to do to achieve what we set off to do.

b) Revel in good times you’ve had. The good times we’ve had with friends, families and colleagues. Good times that fill the heart with joy and serenade us.

c) Reconnect with good people we’ve lost along the way. Our childhood friends. Our former colleagues. People who did good things for us. People who said yes to us when we needed it the most.

d) Ask how we were able to make it through the storm once upon a time so we could re-employ the same strategy to get off the shackles we are engulfed in at the moment.

e) Miss someone. A lover, a friend, a wife or a doer of good things in our lives.

Tick…tock….tick..tock, time never stops for you or for anyone. boom…boom…boom…boom, your heart never stops beating until it stops beating. Every tick is a time gone that you’ll never be able to retrieve. Every boom is the sound of life passing you by. Nothing stops for you. Life never stops so you tag along. You don’t have the luxury to look back into the past and have regrets. If you can make a change, it’s now. If you can fall in love, it’s now. if you can break your heart (which is good), it’s now. What’s there in the past that you can’t let go?


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