It cannot be easy to let go of the past. Difficult occurrences can greatly impact people’s daily lives, from their beliefs to their choices. Many of us get mired in the past because of our demand for certainty.
One of the Six Human Needs, certainty is crucial for existence. One must be confident that one can avoid painful feelings and find some solace.
Letting go of past events entails venturing into the unknown. It has the fortitude to let go of the negative aspects of the familiar to embrace and learn from the future.
The way we link emotion to knowledge is another factor in why it’s so hard to let go of the past. But dealing with the impact of earlier events is possible.
This could include practicing self-compassion, mindfulness meditation to be able to focus o the present moment, or talking to a mental health professional to address unresolved feelings.
Why is it so Difficult to Let Go of the Past?
People’s life experiences have an array of effects on them. Some people find it easy to move on after a traumatic experience and can sort through their negative thoughts and feelings, whereas others discover that these events have a long-term impact on their mental health.
People who are often unable to forget past events may experience trauma.
Trauma is a psychological wound caused by any distressing or painful experience, such as loss, danger, or humiliation. It can, however, affect anyone. The distress caused by traumatic events can also alter people’s thinking.
Rumination, or the propensity to repeatedly think about the same or past events, is a problem for certain people.
Rumination, though, can make it more challenging to find solutions and keep individuals from moving forward. It is a characteristic of post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression (PTSD).
There are other reasons why people can cling to the past. They might want to prevent future injuries.
Tips on How to Let Go of the Past
1. Develop an Understanding as To Why Letting Go of The Past Is Necessary
The first step is finding out what is preventing you from moving forward and thinking about why. What exactly are you clinging to, and why are you holding on to it? Once you’ve identified what is holding you back, ask yourself why you should move beyond this.
This is considered an essential part of the process because it will enable you to remain dedicated to letting of the past and help you move forward with momentum.
Having a clear sense of purpose is necessary for achieving any goal.
When you feel like giving up, your purpose will be an emotional motivator. You will undoubtedly face challenges and setbacks, but if you have a compelling enough reason, you can overcome them.
2. Condition your Mind
The ultimate life breakthroughs are developing an empowering story, learning strategies, practicing self-care, and ensuring you’re in the right state to focus and move in forward momentum.
You must regularly train your mind to achieve this. If you don’t look at your habits and modify them, life will start happening to you instead of you.
No matter how intelligent, cunning, or inspired you are, if you don’t stand guard at the door of your mind, you implicitly endorse what disempowerment, disenchantment, and disillusionment are. You will be sidetracked by memories and thoughts that keep you mired in destructive patterns and make you feel ashamed rather than focusing on how to let go of the past and move ahead.
Tell yourself empowering stories as opposed to ones that limit you. Educate and inspire your intellect with new facts.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you and push yourself to new limits. Instead of a dry patch of weeds, focus on cultivating a thriving garden.
3. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness is a skill that encourages a person to concentrate on what is going on in the present moment and helps a person in accepting the reality of the situation.
Those that struggle with rumination might find this helpful.
A 2016 study found that those who are more aware ruminate less and are more likely to show self-compassion daily. There are numerous techniques to practice mindfulness, including:
- Take note of tiny joys, such as savoring a wonderful meal’s flavor or feeling the sun’s warmth on one’s skin.
- spending time in nature and returning one’s attention to the environment whenever the mind starts to wonder
- engaging in mindful, creative hobbies, for example, drawing or playing musical instruments
- practice mindfulness
There are many ways to meditate. Beginners who want to try mindfulness meditation can do the following:
- sitting in a place where there are no distractions so that you can stop thinking about memories or other things
- close your eyes and take several deep breaths, concentrating on inhaling and exhaling
- allowing thoughts of the past to arise for a brief moment before returning to focus on breathing
Mindfulness is founded on this ongoing process of returning to the present moment to move forward.
Some people find it helpful to imagine their thoughts floating away, while others prefer to repeat a phrase that brings them back to the present moment to feel that they are in control of their situation.
4. Practice Self-Compassion
Self-compassion includes being kind, caring and having the ability and power to forgive. People can practice letting go and self-compassion by altering their internal dialogue.
You can develop this ability by journaling about your self-compassion. This entails recognizing the process of having critical thoughts, taking ownership, and replacing them with more forgiving alternatives. This can also be achieved by seeking professional help.
5. Change Your Perspective
The idea that you have control over how other people feel and act leads to great suffering in life. When in reality, our circumstances are the result of the decisions we have made, we mistakenly think that some mystical power is to blame.
Negatives can be turned into positives, failures into lessons, and opportunities into opportunities. To divert our attention away from other people, situations, and emotions that are out of our control, all we need to do is assist ourselves in realizing and accepting that the only thing we have power and control over in life is our actions and decisions.
A terrible relationship can’t be fixed, but you may accept it and learn from it. Although you cannot change your upbringing, you may acknowledge that the past does not dictate your future. Every day is a new beginning.
You make decisions from the point you open your eyes every day. To break the cycle and concentrate on building the life you deserve rather than concentrating on the one you had previously, learning to let go of the past hurts but is vital.
6. Discover Your Emotional Habits
One of the first steps in letting go of the past is recognizing your feelings and emotional patterns, which is highly challenging because it requires extensive introspection. What is your way of life? Where do you find yourself emotionally? What are your self-sabotaging beliefs?
You don’t notice certain negative emotions, like anger, fear, and pain, that affect most people daily because many become accustomed to them.
They are unaware that they are trapped in a negative emotional pain and loop; they believe they normally react to any situation.
However, our emotional habits can have a significant impact on how we perceive life, how we act, and how well we move on from the past.
So, why settle for a life in which we empower negative emotions while disempowering positive ones?
Recognizing your feelings and coming to terms with whatever troubling thing that had happened in the past to hurt you and turning your emotional habits towards a positive experience is the first step.
You can train yourself to feel sadness, guilt, frustration, stress, depressed when confronted with a difficult situation and try to heal.
You can also train yourself to feel passion and joy and create a space with the idea that you will be strong even when things go wrong and realize that you have no power over them.
When you control your emotions, you can learn to let go of the past in a way that makes you feel free and not fearful.
7. Let Go of A Past Relationship
Humans develop strong bonds with one another, which makes ending relationships particularly challenging. People can go further to end a relationship by doing things like
- limiting, temporarily or permanently, communication with ex-partners to concentrate on one’s recovery.
- Talking to a therapist who can help you positively process and regulate emotionally painful feelings
- to reduce their visibility by getting rid of things that remind you of them and creating a safe space by talking to a trusted friend and trying to let go of the anger and pain a person has caused you.
- establishing and adhering to boundaries spending time on self-care and personal development
- concentrating on possibilities outside of the relationship and trying to find a new partner who understands your struggle
Older research suggests that the ability and power to think about the positive aspects of a breakup may help minimize feelings of loss and help forget or reduce pain associated with the breakup.
People who have been in unhealthy or abusive relationships may need extra help from a therapist in letting go of hurt, anger, and pain because trauma bonding can occur in a person who has been through a lot emotionally and physically.
8. Let Go of Discontentment
People with issues with letting go of events in their past usually experience emotions like resentment, betrayal, and anger.
Anger and resentment can also occur due to trauma as a symptom of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Additional steps to deal with this emotion include
Anger Management in A Safe Environment
Some people are hesitant to express that they are hurt and their anger. Anger and aggression are not the same things.
While anger is a feeling and a physiological state, aggression involves acting on these feelings and giving them power, often in a harmful way. Anger can be expressed healthily. People can, for example, try the following:
- Write down their emotions and why it hurts and why they are feeling hurt on a piece of paper and then toss it away.
- Expressing themselves through art, music, or other creative hobbies, exercising, or participating in sports like running.
- Anger caused by trauma or PTSD may benefit from additional trauma therapies.
9. Let Go of Control
Those who need to exert control over many aspects of their lives may do so because they lack trust in themselves or others.
They may have had negative experiences and may be going through emotional pain that the experiences may have created a fear of uncertainty, leading them to believe that the only solution is to exert as much control over events as possible.
Learning to let go of control may entail the following:
- Determining why there is a need for control and investigating beliefs about what happens if one loses control
- identifying feelings or events that cause a need for control and devising healthier ways to deal with them.
- A wonderful technique to practice letting go of control in small, manageable increments is to delegate a task to someone else. This will help you make decisions based on love rather than fear or emotional anguish and practice letting go.
Over time, this can help people convince themselves that they don’t need control over everything to be happy or find solutions to their difficulties.
People should consider seeing a therapist if letting go of the past is challenging and if negative thoughts and feelings continue for weeks or months.
Numerous types of therapy are available, including some low-cost options for those in need. The most common types of therapy are:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Stress reduction through mindfulness
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
It is always better to seek help in cases where an individual cannot let go of his past.