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How do I let go of my past?

155 Answers
Last Updated: 12/31/2021 at 6:32am
How do I let go of my past?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jill Kapil, PsyD


I have over 9 years of clinical experience, specialize in anxiety, and am passionate about my work. My approach is collaborative, empathic, supportive, and goal-oriented.

Top Rated Answers
July 27th, 2016 7:30pm
The biggest part of letting go of the past is realizing that people make mistakes. As hard as it may be, you need to forgive yourself and people who wronged you if you want to be happy now. This can be really hard and it takes time, but trust me it will be worth it. It's like a huge weight being lifted off of your shoulders. The second most important part of letting go of your past is realizing that no two situations are the same. It's so easy to get caught up in worrying about the possibility of whatever happened in your past happening again in your future. Most of the time that won't be the case. Just because something unfortunate may have happened to you once doesn't mean it will happen again. You can learn from your past and use it to help change your future.
July 13th, 2016 5:17pm
Letting go of the past is one of the hardest things to do, in my opinion. But, like most things, it's not impossible. Firstly, it's ~really~ important to accept your past. Ignoring a problem won't make it go away; it'll just come back and haunt you some other time. Now, this isn't easy, I know. Everyone is struggling with something, and many of these things stem from problems they've faced in the past. Once you accept and embrace your past, learn from it. Understand what went wrong, and what lessons you can take from it. Do this, always reminding yourself of your worth, and how important you are. You're NOT defined by the things that happen to you, but for how you react to them.
July 20th, 2016 7:26pm
You have to remind yourself to live in the moment. When you begin to dwell on the past start pointing out things in your surroundings or tell yourself "right now I am ______." This will help keep you in the present and not think about the past as much. You have to really want to move on. Give it time and keep reminding yourself that in order to have a happy future you have to let go of the past. When you begin thinking about it start thinking about what you'll do later in the day or what you want to eat, keep your thoughts busy. Have fun so much fun and happiness you forget involuntarily. You have to understand that none of us are the same person that we were yesterday. Life is precious. Time is key. It will get better if you put your mind to it!
July 30th, 2016 6:22pm
accept, learn and forgive. Accept because you can't change you past. Learn because the past it teaches you. Accept because you can project your future.
October 23rd, 2016 9:41pm
Our past is a story we tell ourselves. As authors of our story we can be objectionable, blinkered and unforgiving. Sack the author of your past and start writing your future with an author up to the task.
April 20th, 2017 7:52pm
You can't change your past, and your past is who you were. All you can do is tell yourself it doesn't make you who you are now. You change your future and you live in the now and focus on the good things and getting better and changing and learning.
April 19th, 2018 6:04pm
your past must have been very emotionally distressing, for you to want to let go of it. we always want to heal, and we always want to improve our coping skills as well as our experience of day to day life. sometime it helps to remember that the past has helped us learn valuable things about life and prepared us in unique ways to be the people we are, and the people we are in the process of becoming. i know that doesnt sound like letting go, per se, but, being at peace with it, and accepting that we often have to take the good with the bad in life does help us to become more patient people, and its a good start. I also recommend "letting go" meditations where you write the thing that is keeping you stuck and imagine the ocean washing it away. there exist a few varieties, but they often leave people feeling very at peace.
September 8th, 2018 8:37am
I guess letting go of your past takes an active willingness to not necessarily forget things that have happened in your past but to accept the way that they are and perhaps forgive yourself or others for things that have happened. Letting go of your past isn't as simple as just waking up and being content with the past, but is an active decision each day to look beyond the past and focus on the present. So I ask you; what is it that you have to look forward to today? What is good about today and the right now? because when you start to see the goodness in every moment and appreciate the smallest things in life, the pain of the past although may still hurt, will seem a little bit more worthwhile and you may feel a sense of gratefulness for where you are and what you have achieved. You are doing a good job with where you are at, you need to know that, healing from the past takes time, you are brave in wanting to take the steps to move beyond that. I want you to know that I am always here for you if you ever want to talk. I hope you have a lovely day. :D
September 10th, 2016 4:15pm
You don't let go of it. You keep moving forward. Your past has shaped who you became today. Good and bad experiences alike.
November 30th, 2017 3:23pm
I believe accepting everything that happened really helps let go of the past. If you did something wrong in the past, accept your mistakes and make sure you don't make those mistakes again. If someone wronged you, accept and forgive them for their mistakes. Just make sure you don't let them hurt you again. :) Hope this answer helped!
July 27th, 2016 5:11am
Letting go. It's a goal that each and every one of us reach towards. It's difficult, takes time, and patience. But in the in long run, you will feel everything that has held you back be lifted off your shoulders and you will feel better. You will discover the new you. What ever is holding you back, you have to remember how grateful and how much more you have than others. What holds us back in the past is what makes us take life, love, people in our lives, happiness, for granted. The past is the past, it's a learning experience which allows us to reflect and take the experience into a mature and understanding position for the present day and the future. We shouldn't forget our past because it is a part of our story, and the past should allow us to move forward once we come to terms with understanding what is holding us in the past and how to accept these terms. Understanding and accepting the past takes a process, but once completed, you will feel relief, empathy, sympathy, compassion, love, and trust in others, ourselves, our future, our present, all of this is learning from the past. Don't take the journey alone, you are surrounded by people who are there to pull you out from the past and help you take one step at a time.
August 3rd, 2016 1:50pm
I do not know if you really can let go like that but you might missing out on a newer better reality if your always focused on what was. As my mother said, change comes whether we like it or not - you have to accept things change but maintain happy thoughts and find a way to be happy in your new life
August 11th, 2016 1:05am
Know that your past is gone and you can't relive it. Move forward and strive to be very very happy.
August 25th, 2016 1:56am
Personally I believe that a person does not have to let go of their past. A person must be able to grow and move forward from their past. We should not blow off our pasts and forget they ever happened. The point of having a past or a story is to help others with it. We can use our past/stories to give encouragement to others who are discouraged or feeling sad about the situations they are stuck in. Our pasts shape us into the people we are today without our pasts we would all be the same. If everyone was the same the world would be boring. It is important to keep our paths but it is even more important to learn not to dwell in them. Dwelling in your past and holding on to the negative or hard feelings that came with it can be an unhealthy thing to do. It could bring you down and effect your lives and the lives around you. To make sure you do not dwell in your past you need to be sure that you have healed from it completely, have dealt with all of your emotions, accepted your decisions and what happened, think about what you have learned from it, forgive yourself and others, seek professional help, and decide to move on. I hope this answered your question :)
August 25th, 2016 2:20pm
Every time you think about the past, interrupt yourself and say awesome words, empowering words, remember that the past can't be changed. The future awaits,my friend!
August 27th, 2016 7:05pm
Moving on is not just forgetting your past and moving on. It's about accepting what has happened and then just letting it go and then moving on.
October 20th, 2016 2:52pm
letting go of the past is the hardest, yet most beneficial thing you can do. stressing about something that is said and done and you cannot change, will only harm you. it's all about acceptance. accept what has happened and let whatever it was be a lesson to avoid in the future.
October 27th, 2016 2:44pm
You don't really let go of your past, you just come to terms with it. You accept that it was part of your experience. SO when you accept it, you accept the ups and downs of life. Your past define your present, but it's your present that defines your future. So accept the past, and change the present so that your future turns out to be as bright as you. :)
August 20th, 2017 5:35pm
The past always haunts you. Anyone who tells you letting go is easy is lying to you. But the past doesn't have to consume you, it doesn't have to determine who you will be. A great step is finding people who understand where you come from, but are willing to see you become who you want to be. It might be hard to believe, but are a lot of people out there who can understand your past, and understand your desire to beat it. They might not have an immediate solution, but at the very least, they can help give you a little bit more strength towards the journey towards constantly striving forward.
February 17th, 2018 6:42am
well, you have to remember that your past may of been tough but right now you're in the present, so learn from your mistakes, and challenges and look forward whilst becoming wiser and more ready for life. it's not that easy of course but you can't change your past what you can do is look at your life now and plan for your future!
May 20th, 2018 2:11pm
Sometimes the answer might be to throw yourself into something completely new, to change your environment, your activities, maybe even your goals. I however have made good experiences with the opposite approach; listening to my thoughts and memories, analyzing them (rationally, as far as possible) and attempting to weave them into my existing belief system, i.e. trying to update my mental model of the world in a way that it comprises the thoughts or memories that previously seemed to conflict with it. This has worked out for me multiple times and I think it is a great approach in a lot of cases, as it doesn't just try to blindly dismiss the past but gains value from it, "letting your inner demons work for you", so to say. That aspect can also help fight the feeling that what happened in your past was for nothing. Whichever you choose, the core concept is CHANGE. Whatever you're doing right now is obviously not working, so the answer will be to change your approach and try something else; either silencing your memories by adding the noise of the present, eventually making new ones to replace them, or by listening thoroughly to what they can tell you, what you can learn from them, weighing that knowledge against the truths you already hold and making the essential messages that remain a part of you, thus leaving your memories without anything to "add to the conversation (your inner monologue)". So, my advice is to choose according to your situation whether to actively silence or analyze your past; just don't take a passive role, or it will keep mumbling in your ear.
July 20th, 2018 4:34am
You own it. You feel it. You acknowledge what happened and what you learned from it, and then you let those teachings guide you into the future. You find a way to re-build your life by slowly fostering interest in new (or old and forgotten) hobbies/activities. You accept where you are in your current life, accept the hurt and the shame and the anger and any other negative emotions, and you find a way to work around it. Honestly, nobody on this website can tell you how to let go of your past. You know that answer better than anyone. Now you just need to start doing whatever it is that you need to do.
March 9th, 2019 12:57am
Find what you can do to improve your self in way that when you are faced with a similar situation, you can deal with it. Focus on YOU. Thinking about the past WILL NOT change a thing! There is no point in thinking about it and feeling stressed and anxious about things you cannot change. What you CAN do is becoming better than who you were yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity for you to learn and improve. If it has to do with love, the only thing I want to say is this: Everyone is trying to find the right one, but no one is trying to BE the right one. The only reason to look back is to learn from your mistakes.
August 8th, 2019 2:06am
It can be tough to let go of things we have experienced often because the mind likes to have things reconciled before moving on. With the wisdom we gain through experience we look back and wonder why things were so. Part of letting go is helped by forgiving ourselves, and forgiving others. Not because we accept the past but because we look back with wisdom. If you're willing (and it's safe), you can imagine a separate 'virtual version' of yourself going back in time to learn and understand from the experience. This can help free up your current thinking to be in the present while 'another you' goes off and takes care of the experience for you.
November 10th, 2019 2:09pm
The past is something that shaped us. But by living in the current moment, observing the reality AS IT IS right now, you realize that in the NOW, there are no problems. You re-create the old problems over and over by thinking about them and _defining_ them as negative. There are neither good nor bad experiences, only experiences; and it is your power to define the way you see them. This can be your greatest power if you understand that it is YOU that gives the definition. YOU create your own hell, no one else does. Bad things happen to everyone, there is no question about it. Your advancing/growing/learning highly depends on your ability to change your point of view. If people treated you badly, try understanding their limited perspective: they have/had problems, too. Rather pity and forgive them their weakness as you just understood that you have outgrown this negative energy as you are reading this sentence. If people were not involved, _accept_ that this is the reality as it is. There are reasons for everything in life and ultimately it will lead you to become a better version of yourself. You cannot change what happened. So your option is either to make peace with it (which is ALWAYS possible) or keep on degenerating by carrying negative emotions for the rest of your life. The choice is yours. Giving attention is giving energy. Stop the victim-mentality and become the architect of your own life who projects into the future in a positive way rather than dwelling in the past which doesnt exist. If you think you cannot do it, you MUST work on your self-confidence first. This is most important. You are the creator, realize it.
October 24th, 2020 11:02am
Letting go of anything is not easy at alll, however it's not impossible either, with a will to do and make consistent efforts ,it's very much possible. We tend to hold onto things longe than we should sometimes and past being one of those , in order to let go of our past , we need to accept it, once we accept what happened and stop questioning on why it happened, it becomes easier to accept., learn the lesson. , and just move on from it . The past event no longer exists or aids to us in any way, so it's important to realise that holding on will only bring more pain and sadness, and a better and viable option will be to let go of the event and remember what it taught us , and move on to a better present and future .❤🌻
November 4th, 2020 12:54am
. Let it go let it go let it go think of the past as something that has already occurred and has been dealt with. Don’t let your past haunt you for what is already done is done. Though we may regret, we need to forgive ourselves and we’ll as love ourselves. At some point life comes back to us but we must learn to move on and strengthen ourselves for the new day. Past may be a struggling matter and we all have our past but we need to learn to let go and continue our daily lives as a better person. :)
May 5th, 2021 7:16am
I think you get to let go of your past once you have forgiven yourself, everyone and everything that has happened in the past. That does not mean you will or should forget it though. You will need some time to let go of it, maybe try thinking about the good in it too. That is what i did and honestly it helped me at some part and it took me about 2 years. I cannot promise you that you will completely let go of it, but it is worth trying. Good luck and do not lose faith easily. :)
May 7th, 2021 10:48am
By allowing yourself of more time and starting a new routine. Let go will happen, but it will take time depending on your willingness and efforts. Start with baby steps. You already started letting by asking this question. steps for everyday- 1 set sleep routine 2 set eating routine 3 set work/study routine 4 make sure to talk to a friend/listener/family 1 time at least everyday 5 watch movie/go outside for walk/any light activity atleast once aweek 6 be loving towards self every moment Past will always be part of your life. Its memories pop up less frequently as you move forward. *i believe in you*
July 16th, 2016 12:28am
You can never forget your past, but you can move on. Focus on the things that are important to you NOW and keep them in your head instead of the negative things