photo credit: drmakete lab

7 Ways to Move Forward and Be Happy, Even If You Have a Painful Past

Melissa Chu
5 min readJan 20, 2020


Does your mind suddenly jump back to a painful point in your life?

Out of nowhere, you have a flashback to a crossroads moment. You think back to that point when you had a decision to make. Do you go or do you stay? Do you pick this option or that option?

You feel stuck, unsure of where to go next. Perhaps you’re dissatisfied with where you are now. And so, you look back at the past and start to wonder. You start to think, “If I had only done that, then I could have…”. You wonder if things could have turned out better, had you chosen differently.

If this is you, stop.

Look, regrets are painful. And as time passes, they accumulate and pile up into an ugly mess that’s hard to get rid of. It seems like no matter what you do, you can’t escape from the past.

How then, do we get deal with them? Here are 7 ways:

1. Happiness is largely a choice.

Research has found that 50 percent of happiness comes from our genes, while 40 percent comes from our daily thoughts and actions. That leaves only 10 percent from our actual life circumstances.

If you’re reading this, you probably have the basic necessities of life: shelter, food, and sleep. Maybe you have a loving spouse, kids, parents, siblings, or friends.

Having more doesn’t mean you’ll be happier. There will always be someone with more of what you want, and that person isn’t necessarily happy.

Instead of ruminating about how this or that could be better, practice thankfulness. Remember to be grateful for what you have as you travel your own journey.

2. Hindsight is 20/20.

You act only based on all the information you have at the time. But sometimes, circumstances change so that when you look back, it seems like you should have made a different decision.

But the thing is, how would you have known?

Stop being so hard on yourself. Based on your current situation at the time, you picked the best choice amongst others. Even today, you don’t know what the future holds in store and you’ll likely make choices…



Melissa Chu

I write about living better, creating great work, and making an impact. Get your guide to achieving your goals at