How to Let Go of the Past
Letting go of something or someone can be one of the hardest things to do. Whether you’re afraid of change or don’t want to look like a failure holding on too long can be detrimental to your emotional and spiritual health. Even moreso, holding on the events that occurred in your past is like shackles gripped around your ankles. It’s stiffling.
In the words of Mary Mary it’s time to take the shackles off your feet so you can dance.
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli
Press Pause on the Playback
There’s a good chance that you’ve been replaying the same situation in your head over and over again. You might even tell the story about what happened to any and everybody who will listen. You’ve told the story so much people start finishing your sentences. You’ve drilled into to their heads.
You can’t let go if you’re still holding on. If you keep playing that same sad song you’re still holding on. I know this is easier said than done, but you have to learn to tame your mind. In every area of your life if you can control what lingers in your head you can achieve a lot. Yes, this takes mental stamina, but the rewards are worth it.
You want something better than what you had. You want a better relationship. You want a better career. You want a better business. The list goes on and on. But if you dwell on what you don’t want when do you ever concentrate on what you do want? You don’t want what’s in your past so that shouldn’t be your focus. Press the pause button.
One way to control your unwanted thoughts is to give yourself a new thought. When you notice that you’re focused on the past or anything negative that’s your trigger to switch thoughts. It helps to already have your new, empowering thoughts identified. For example, if you’re stuck on a relationship that didn’t work out, you’re new thought could be, “I’m thankful for peace of mind.” Or you might want to say an affirmation. My personal favorite is “Love and blessings are chasing me down.”
What new thought can replace your old, stuck in the past thoughts?
“If you want to forget something or someone, never hate it, or never hate him/her. Everything and everyone that you hate is engraved upon your heart; if you want to let go of something, if you want to forget, you cannot hate.: – C. Joybell C.
Focus on the Good
There are situations that we hate that have brought us some really good things. You could hate your child’s father and what he put you through, but you are beyond blessed and thankful for your child. What good happened for you as a result of that bad situation? Would you trade it all in to erase the past? Most people would say no. Your past has made you who you are today. Good things have come from even the worst situations. If nothing else you’ve learned that you can survive.
Acknowledge the good that came with that “bad”. Don’t hate the past. Be thankful to it for it has given you something. It has taught you something. It has prepared you for something. It has given you the opportunity to help someone else who might be going through the exact same thing.
Don’t curse what you didn’t like, love what you do. Don’t curse your child’s mother. Love your child. Don’t curse your choice that sent you down a spiral. Love the journey of finding your way again.
“One of the most courageous decisions you’ll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul.” – Brigitte Nicole
Focus on Where You’re Going
You can’t move forward if you keep looking backward. Even if you’ve made mistakes in your past that still impacts you to this day it’s possible to turn your situation around. I heard Jeremy Anderson speak earlier this year at the Stay Ready conference hosted by Eric Thomas. You would never know it but Jeremy used to sell drugs. I want to say he’s even been to jail. Now he’s a husband, a father, and an entrepreneur. He travels the country inspiring people to take their lives to the Next Level. He’s living proof that you can.
If you stay focused on what happened you miss the opportunity right in front of you. You miss the path that is waiting to be blazed by you. You close yourself off to inspiration, ideas, and opportunities. You close yourself off from your comeback. You can’t have a comeback if you want to stay back in the past. Be mindful of what’s still possible for you. Become obsessed with where you really want to go. Plot and plan on how to make it happen. Don’t spend your mental energy focused on what you can’t change.
“Starting today, I need to forget what’s gone. Appreciate what still remains and look forward to what’s coming next.” – unknown
Address What You Can
If you’re having a hard time letting go because you didn’t make that best decisions address what you can. Don’t keep beating yourself over the head over something you can’t change. Do whatever is in your control to do so that you can let go and move on. If you need to apologize to someone apologize. If you need to cut up your credit cards and create a plan for getting out debt, cut them up. Whatever is in your ability to do, do. Then make peace with whatever you can’t do anything about.
If you need to do something you’ve been putting off doing, be courageous enough to do. Don’t keep holding on for the sake of holding on.
You’re not necessarily trying to “fix” anything. You’re not begging someone to give you a second chance. You’re clearing your conscience. You’re making peace in your heart and soul so you can have peace about the situation.
“Forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you.” – Shannaon L. Alder
It’s cliche but it’s true. Forgiveness sets everybody free. Forgive yourself. Forgive those who wronged you. Forgive the past. How do you forgive? Basically everything I’ve said thus far can help you forgive.
- You press the pause button on your thoughts. Again, stop running the same scenario through your head over and over again.
- Stop wishing ill of people. Pray for them. Wish them the best even when you don’t mean it. Eventually you will.
- Address whatever you can. Clear your own conscience.
- Make new decisions for the betterment of your future. When your life has turned around you won’t regret the past. You’ll appreciate it. So start turning your life around now.
“Inhale the future, exhale the past.” – unknown
Meditation can help you let go of the past and embrace the future that awaits you. Imagine packing up all the things you’re still holding on to. The relationship. The bad business decision. Every bad memory that lingers in your mind gets packed in a box. Everything you regret goes in the back. Everything that someone said to you to hurt you is packed inside the box. See yourself packing this box.
When the box is all packed close it. Tape it shut. You may want to embrace the box or kiss the box. Thank the box for what it gave to you and who it helped you become. Then take the box and get rid of it. See yourself tucking it in the back of your closet or driving it to the landfill. Leave it there. Walk away from the box and with each step feel freer and more at peace.
Whenever you find yourself thinking about something that belongs in the box say to yourself, “Self, put that back in the box.” And with that change your thought to an empowering, inspiring thought.
To purchase this guided meditation click here.
“Don’t overthink, just let go.” – unknown
Let it Go
Sometimes you have to let go of what’s in your hand so you can grab hold of something new. You can move beyond your past. It won’t necessarily be easy but it will be worth it. Whatever is holding you back, let it go.