How to Let Go of the Past

How to Let Go of the Past

If letting go of the past is keeping you from moving forward with your future, you’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to pave a new path for themselves when all the evidence they’ve collected in their lifetime convinces them they can’t ever really move forward and change their lives. Here are some tips on how to let go of the past and release what no longer serves you.

Take Stock of What You Can’t Control
Learning to let go requires just that: learning. In order to free up energy to manage what you can control, you’ve got to let go of what’s beyond your reach. It can be helpful to write down a list of everything that’s weighing you down: failed expectations of others, past experiences, future predictions, actions you need to take to accomplish a goal, current emotions, judgments you have about yourself, etc. Then, next to each item, note whether it’s something you can control or can’t control. Seeing this on paper will help adjust your mindset to stop focusing so much on what you can’t control.

Be Honest About Your Feelings
Your emotions are a source of information, and even though they can sometimes become overwhelming, try to make sure you’re not abandoning or fighting them. If you want to know how to let go of the past, you first have to acknowledge when you’re feeling fearful or sad, and express yourself accordingly.

Act in Spite of Your Feelings
Once you know exactly how you feel and have demonstrated some respect for those emotions, it might be necessary to act in spite of them. You might feel a little silly, but it can be helpful to say out loud to yourself “Anxiety, I hear you, and thank you for trying to protect me, but I’m going to try something different today.” Lean into whatever it is that’s making you anxious and allow your anxiety to come along for the ride. Don’t try to shut off negative feelings completely, because if you’ve ever argued with anxiety before, you know that’s guaranteed to be a wasted effort.

If you’re struggling with how to let go of the past, you may need to forgive someone’s past actions or even forgive yourself. Either way, letting go is about just that: letting go. Release expectations of perfection, shift your perspective toward something more positive, and forgive human behavior, even if you have a hard time understanding it. Holding on to anger or upset about something in the past hurts no one but yourself.

Improve Your Mindfulness
If you find yourself repeating old narratives and wondering how to let things go, it may be time for you to stop time traveling to the past. Implement some mindfulness practices into your daily routine that will help keep your focus on the present moment. Meditation and yoga are great routines that will help clear up some space in your mind and heart, allowing your awareness to be in the here and now.

Take Responsibility
If you’re spending time figuring out who’s to blame for your current situation, you might be misusing your time. Blame doesn’t help anyone, whether you’re putting it on someone else or yourself. If you’re feeling like a victim, it may be helpful to shift your perspective. Give agency to yourself and start taking actions that help you live a better life now.

Choose to Let Go
This may seem obvious, but making an active choice to let go of the past means that you’re also willing to address some of the grief that comes with the process. Change always comes with some kind of loss, so if you’re not sure how to let things go, take some time to process that loss so you can move forward with a readiness for what wonderful things can be born in the future.

Learning to let go can be difficult, and it may even go against your nature as a busy, anxious human. But once you discover how holding on to the past is getting in your way, it’s up to you to take action.

Don’t let the past hold you down any longer. Let YesGurus find you an ideal life coach who can get you on your way to personal freedom and the bright future that awaits.

Author: Vanessa Rose

Vanessa is a psychotherapist and writer who enjoys wandering aimlessly around Los Angeles in her free time. With a background in business, she embraces how structure and goals can significantly support the journey into the wild west of psychological exploration. Always curious about self-improvement and emotional expansion, Vanessa also manages her own website which explores the unconscious motivations of eating disorders in women.

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