Are you living in the past or do you dwell on events that belong in your past? If this is you, ask yourself how can you live a happy life in the present, when you can’t let go of what’s already happened? Instead of focusing on the here and now, you find that you’re caught up ruminating, stuck in a web of reflection and brooding on your past mistakes. The more you engage in this behaviour, the more disempowering your future will become. 

In this episode, I share the good news, that your past is merely a part of your learning journey that forms a previous chapter in your life. I explain that your past is not you, and what happened was simply a situation or an event. It is something that is done and dusted, and it’s time now to make peace with your past. I discuss how you can realign your life and take back control of your past by creating healthy habits that guide you towards living your very best life every single day in the here and the now. So the next time a negative thought crosses your mind, you have the tools to steer your mind away from it, stop berating yourself, step out of a victim mentality and learn the process of forgiveness. You are worth the effort! Always have been and always will be!

In this episode

01:16 – Stop Living in the Past

03:32 – Courage to Forgive

05:13 – Free yourself from the past and move on

06:26 – The effects of negative thinking

09:44 – Allowing negative self-talk to happen

10:36 – Living Life in a Positive and Authentic Way

12:22 – The Victim Mentality

14:05 – Coping with victim mentality mindset

16:01 – Being a Survivor

17:15 – The Power of True Forgiveness

18:28 – Don’t wait for an apology

20:40 – Best gift you give to yourself is forgiveness

21:05 – Taking control of your past

22:00 – Learning from experiences and move on


Dr Marisa Lee Naismith is excited to announce the release of her new book “Singing Contemporary Commercial Music Styles: A Pedagogical Framework” published by Compton Publications UK. Marisa offers this book as a starting point and as CCM markets continue to evolve, she encourages that we, as a voice community, continue to evolve, debate and communally add to this framework.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:00

Hi. It’s Marisa Lee here and I’m so excited to be sharing today solo round episode with you. Whether you’re a member of the voice community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. And my mission, which has been inspired by my own personal and professional journey is to empower you to share your gift with others. Now is the time for you to discover your voice in life, develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, and you can become the director of your own life. It’s time for you to live your best live. It’s time now for a voice and beyond. So, without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:16

Are you living in the past? Be honest with yourself? And if this is you, how can you live a happy life in the present when you can’t let go of what’s already happened? Instead of focusing on the here, and the now you’re caught up, ruminating, stuck in a web of reflection and brooding and only your past mistakes seem to matter. But why is it that there are so many others out there who live each day with a happy and positive outlook on life, they’ve had a terrible past too. So why the positive attitude because they are not dwelling on the past, they’ve made their peace with the past and have moved on. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  02:11

Look, you’re never going to reach your full potential in life, if you’re being dragged down and weighted down by the baggage. And that is emotional baggage too, that you are carrying around from your childhood, your high school years, what your boss said to you in your first job, or even the things that have happened to you over more recent years. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  02:38

Think of your life as a book. And every chapter represents a part of your life. As you finish one chapter, you proceed to the next, you’ve been through them, you finished them, you flip the page, and you start a new chapter. This is your life and in your life, you have to be willing to break free from the last chapter, to be in the moment to be in your new chapter. But you must do this. If you want to have the future you so desperately desire. You have to have the courage to allow yourself to honor the past and move on. You also need the courage to forgive those who need to be forgiven, including yourself, and to acknowledge that everything that has happened to you has led you to this point where you are at right now. You wouldn’t be the person you are now if it wasn’t for your past. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:45

I know this might be hard to hear. But when I say everything, I mean, everything happens for a reason, including those lousy times, those times when you’re depressed those times when you gave up on yourself. And those times when someone else gave up on you. I’m sure there were times that you quit. And there were times that you failed. And then there were those times that you felt so small. Those times you were ashamed and embarrassed. All these times are a part of your past, but they must belong in your past. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:34

In this episode, I want to share with you the good news and that is those times don’t need to live in this moment in time. Those times live in the past. They form a previous chapter in your life and that chapter is done and you must move on and the more of those times that you cultivate in your mind and And you ruminate on, and you think about them repeatedly. And they become a part of your narrative and your self talk, the more disempowering your future will become. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  05:13

I think of the brain as a filing cabinet. And it only has so much storage space. And when your brain is full of all this baggage from the past, it’s taking up that free space that is necessary for you to create your future. There’s no room for all those brilliant ideas to flow in. It’s taking up the very space needed for you to be creative, and to dream big. Living with those shackles is going to prevent you from living your most authentic, true, vulnerable and incredible life. If you’re always reenacting your life through your baggage, you’re going to find yourself completely and utterly stuck. Now is the time to free yourself from the past and it’s time to move on.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:26

Did you know that we have about 60 to 70,000 thoughts a day. And most of those are negative, and 70% of those are on repeat. It’s such a shame because negative thinking is so unproductive, and it distracts you from the positives in your life and makes it even harder to let go of the past. Negative thoughts can plague your mind with self sabotaging thoughts and quite often deny you your right to live a happy life. What I learned is that just because we think those thoughts, it doesn’t mean to say that they’re true. We as humans are perpetual liars. In fact, were pathological liars. And the stories we fill our heads with are often terrible lies. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  07:24

I’ll say it again, just because we think it, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Wow. And I mean, wow, what a shocking way to live. And I believe that is why most people don’t feel their life is meaningful, or their sense of fulfillment is not as high as it could be. This is because their connection with themselves is poisoned by their self talk. They are constantly berating themselves, speaking negatively to themselves, saying awful things to themselves over and over and over again. They’re judging themselves based on past events or things others have told them and they end up 100% Believing they are unworthy, incompetent, stupid, and worthless. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  08:25

Trust me, I’ve been there. My head was full of all that crappy self talk that I had built up from my childhood. It’s fair to say the things that I was saying to myself, I would never have dreamt of saying them to any other human being. All of these things were on repeat. They were manipulating my life. And again, most of this stuff came from the past. And when these thoughts don’t get intersected with personal development or therapy earlier in life, you don’t have the tools to take control of that self talk. Fortunately for me, I’ve done the work and it’s always going to be a work in progress. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  09:13

You can be the greatest caregiver, the greatest wife, mother, the greatest teacher, leader, and the most amazing human with a generous spirit. But if you dislike yourself, you will never feel fulfilled and you won’t see the joy and beauty in your life. You won’t have meaningful relationships and will never achieve the greatness you so aspire to and deserve. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  09:44

With this kind of negative self talk. It’s usually unconscious. So many people who speak negatively about themselves to themselves allow it to happen because they’re totally unaware that it’s going on On. On the other hand, you do have those who are very aware of their negative self talk bad, just decide to do nothing about it. And if this is you, I have to tell you that there are consequences for this behavior. And until you come to realize what’s triggering this behavior, your life will keep spiraling downwards. Those thoughts are guaranteed to manifest and it might not happen right away. But I promise you, it’s going to happen. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:36

So we’ve got to learn to feel life and live life in a positive and authentic way. And you can begin with the practice of saying amazing things to yourself, have an affirmation, perhaps things such as I am competent, capable, caring, kind, compassionate, a learner, a giver, a leader, a role model, whatever it is for you. It’s about elevating yourself to elevate your life. And ultimately, that will lead you to elevating others around you too. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:18

And I understand for many, this is something that you may not be able to deal with on your own, especially if there’s been some kind of trauma, or some major event in the past that continues to make you struggle emotionally, and continues to shape your behavior in ways that are causing your negative mindset and self talk. You can choose to deal with this. And you can choose a casual approach to dealing with it if you wish. This could be by picking up any personal development or self help book, attending a workshop or a class that’s dealing with this topic. But I guarantee you once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. And don’t we all want that?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:22

Are you playing victim? This is an awful way to live. You can blame your ex husband for your divorce, a lousy boss for being miserable in the workplace, your husband and all your friends for being disloyal. But even when you find a new husband, new friends and new job, nothing is going to change. Because who know what, it’s not them, it’s you! 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:52

You’re running the same old excuses. Yeah, I can’t do this because I suck at friendships. No, sorry, that happened in high school 25 years ago. Well, I can’t do this because I failed at it when I was seven years old. But listen, buddy, you’re 37 years old now. They’re all the stories we tell ourselves. Today is part of the new chapter. But only if you let it be. You need to let your life story move on. If you fear those things that have brought you hear, if you believe what has happened to you is going to stay with you like some kind of curse. You will never experience the deepest gratitude and appreciation for life. You will not be aware of the opportunities that come your way. Or you will sabotage the ones that do. When you realize that yesterday is not such a big deal. You don’t hold the baggage. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:05

People with a victim mentality have often suffered a trauma or hard times in the past. But the problem is they haven’t developed a healthier way to cope so they become victims. As a result, they develop a negative view of life where they feel that they don’t have any control over what happens to them. A victim often finds that all their thoughts lead back to those past traumas which makes it almost impossible for them to stop living in the past. Their minds become plagued by these thoughts. And they find themselves thinking that everything always goes wrong for them and only for them. They have an awful detrimental woe is me mental 80 Of course, this is not the case at all, because you are in control of your fate. You shouldn’t think that just because you have failed before you will fail again. Instead, remember that you have control over your life, and you don’t have to keep playing the victim. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  15:22

A victim is hard to live with, and not only messes the mind of the victim, but also the people that are in relationships with them. I have lived with a victim. And every time something good happened to me, they would say, Oh, you’re so lucky. How come everything good happens to you? I never have any good luck. Well, buddy, I hate to tell you. There’s no such thing as luck in life. I’ve just worked my butt off for that very good thing that’s just happened to me. I’m a survivor. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:01

And did you know the opposite of playing the victim is being a survivor. Proudly, I am a survivor. There are times in my life when I’ve had to survive, and times I chose to survive. And if anyone wants to trade places with me and go through what I’ve been through in my life, well knock yourself out, see how you go. I have acknowledged what I’ve been through is hard and have worked to learn the lessons to make myself a better person. Despite those circumstances, victim mentality is not going to serve you and no one likes being around a victim other than another victim. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:45

So if you’re a victim, it’s time to see the world with rose-tinted glasses. And maybe you’ll be able to see that not everyone and everything is evil. We’re all human with the same underlying needs to belong, to be seen, to be heard, and to matter.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:15

Oprah Winfrey once said that true forgiveness is when you can say thank you for the experience, the best lesson you can learn in life is to forgive and to forget, honestly, I have to tell you, I’m not good at this one. I do find it hard to let go when someone else is in the wrong and has hurt me or has hurt someone close to me. I’m ashamed to say I can tend to carry a grudge for some time. But I have gotten better at letting go. What I learned is that I’m the only one who is hurting when I don’t forgive, the other person’s life still goes on. And in actual fact, they don’t care what I think. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  18:06

I have had to come to terms with this, you know, maybe that other person was in the wrong and that he or she should apologize. But waiting for that apology isn’t going to help you. In the end, the only one you will hurt is yourself because you aren’t letting go of the past. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  18:28

For us to become unstuck from the past, apologies aren’t always necessary. But forgiveness is there’s an old mistaken belief that to forgive someone means that you have to contact them or even give them a second chance. This is not what forgiveness means. It doesn’t mean that you have to be best friends with the person who harmed you. forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to hug it out with them. It means that you have to shift your perspective or change your attitude towards them or the situation or the past. It does mean that you have to change where you stand. And in this regard, the act of forgiving is only important to your healing. It doesn’t matter what others think about it. Okay, for some forgiveness could mean that they face up to the person and have eye to eye contact and give them those words of forgiveness. But that’s totally unnecessary. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:34

You have to try to focus on moving forward because what has happened is in the past, and you’re hanging on waiting for an apology, but it’s not going to change history. You could be waiting for an eternity for that apology and wasting your time stuck in a toxic situation that is only going to manifest within you. Don’t let someone else’s mistake stop you from living a life full of joy. Forgiveness is giving yourself permission to release resentment, grudges, and vengeance. Forgiveness helps you to let go of anger and bitterness. And don’t we hate a bitter person. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:19

Also, don’t expect apologies from someone who harmed you. And apology isn’t needed for you to forgive and to go forward with your life. You don’t need anyone else’s permission and you don’t want to wait for them to an extend an apology. For goodness sakes, just move on. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:40

Forgiveness is not an option when learning how to put your past behind you. And to leave, it’s there. It is crucial. It isn’t a gift you give to others, it is a gift you give to yourself.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:05

So, it’s time now to re align your life. I can’t emphasize how important it is to take control of your past by creating healthy habits that guide you towards living your very best life. Every single day in the here and the now I have to urge you to believe that your past is merely a part of your learning journey. Your past is not to you. What happened was a situation or an event. It was a behavior. It was something that happened and it is done and dusted, then it comes a time we have to let go. Okay, so we have to ask ourselves, who do I want to be in the now? Who am I at this age in my life without those old stories? 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  22:00

So, stop living in the past and start learning from those experiences. It’s time to dissect genuine lessons from negative experiences. Learn to distinguish between life lessons and hurtful past events. Take away the positives from those experiences. By learning from an experience you learn more about yourself and what makes you happy. So the next time a negative thought crosses your mind, stay your mind away from it. Instead, look at the positives you’ve gained from a past experience. It’s time to speak kindly to yourself. Stop playing victim and forgive those who need to be forgiven for you to move on. You are worth the effort. Always have been, and always will be. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  23:01

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of A Voice and Beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self-care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you’d like to help me, please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple Podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of A Voice and Beyond.

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