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Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?

These popular lyrics are often sung by those bringing in the New Year. Auld Lang Syne is from the Scots language and means “old long since.” In practice, it means “old times, especially times fondly remembered.” Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotlalnd wrote those words in a poem published in 1796. However, he took a fragment of a folk song that he heard and built more lyrics around it. Auld Lang Syne became synonymous with New Year’s Eve when Guy Lombardo and his band, the Royal Canadians sang a song with those lyrics every year on his broadcast from 1929 - 1976. He became known as “Mr. New Year’s Eve” as a result.

I bring this up, not just because you wanted to hear about the origins of the song, and not just because New Year’s Eve is around the corner. This line is so significant, because even though the line was intended to remind us to remember good times, it can also be interpreted to remind you to forget the bad times and put your past behind you.

It’s time to do some mental house-keeping…to free your brain from the clutter of your past so you can make room for a new you in 2023. Here are some tips on how to clean up your past:

  1. Write a letter to the person(s) who hurt you. That’s write - get those emotions off your chest! Write it all down. What they did, how it hurt you, how it changed your life. Pour your heart into the letter. If you typed it - print it out. When you’re done? Tear it up. Burn it. Your unconscious mind doesn’t know if you spoke directly to the person or not, but it will feel the relief of having expressed the emotions you’ve likely needed to express all along.

  2. Affirmations. Sometimes we fill our heads with negative speak against ourselves. “I’m so fat. He/she wouldn’t be attracted to me.” I hate my big/little (body part).” If you have spoken against yourself, it’s time to rewrite your narrative with affirmations. Affirmations, SAID ALOUD, will do wonders. “I love my fat, because it protects me from getting hurt.” “He/she would be attracted to me if they got to know me.” “I love my big/little (body part) because….” Rewrite your personal narrative. Say your affirmations 3x a day. If you don’t want to say them, record yourself saying them and listen to it every day.

  3. Live in the present. A lot of times we find ourselves living in the past. “I used to do…” “My family always did this…” It’s time to live in the present and enjoy the now. It’s easy to fall back on what we know, and scary to look to what is often a very uncertain future. Find 3 things that you’re looking forward to doing, experiencing, or enjoying each day.

  4. Take accountability for your actions. This can be a tough step when you’ve lived a life believing it’s everyone else’s fault. Perhaps it was someone else’s fault initially, but then you allowed that person to continue doing what they did. Now is the time to put your foot down, stop being controlled, and start living your life your way. Just be you - the world will adjust. Trust the process. If you’re afraid to be you, now’s a great time to ask yourself “why?”

  5. Breathe, Reflect, Journal. I have journaled on and off for 20+ years. When I journal, sometimes I feel like it’s a waste of time. What good is writing going to do? Writing helps you get things off your chest. If you’re not a big journaler, just writing key words or putting pictures of how you feel is enough. I know that when I read my journals from years ago, I feel fortunate to be where I am now. I realize there are things I’ve overcome that I forgot about. There are people I met that changed my life, and I can see the impact of those people and their actions over my life. I can see what changes I need to make in my life, and what aspects I’d like to keep the same.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Oh yes, indeed.

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