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How do I let go of my past?

120 Answers
Last Updated: 09/30/2020 at 11:35pm
How do I let go of my past?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Michael Hofrath, Ph.D. Candidate

Pre-Licensed Professional

The only way to the other side of pain is to walk through it rather than around it. Life is a continual journey. Sometimes we get stuck. I will help you get unstuck!

Top Rated Answers
November 15th, 2017 6:28am
Based on my personal experience, ive found that accepting the past for what it is and accepting that my past has made me who I am today. The pasts good and bad has given me the tools I need today needed to handle situations better.
November 16th, 2017 4:46pm
I let go of past pain by embracing what is happening now. We can't go back, life is constantly changing... doors open and doors close. We go through pain and loss, letting go... and then embrace the new that steps into our life. We understand our past trials can create a better self, if we learn the lessons. Compassion and understanding if nothing else.
November 22nd, 2017 2:04am
An easier way would be starting a new life in somewhere new or with somebody new. This way, we can move on our life without looking back at our past. However, this is like avoiding the past. When something happen that is similar to the past that we wish to forget, the feelings may return. Therefore, sometimes I think we have to accept our past to let go of our past. We can go back to the places we used to be in the past, or we can speak to someone about our past. This way, we let go of our past by accepting and overcoming it. Time can dilute the painful feelings we wish to forget.
November 24th, 2017 2:05pm
Write all your feelings down. Make a table of 2 columns. In one column write past and in 2nd write your present. Write the bad things and compare them with past how they seem better. Hope it helps.
November 29th, 2017 3:35pm
Focus on something good in your life, like sports, clubs, school. Don't worry about what happened in the past and about the future
December 8th, 2017 6:00pm
You take a step back, and understand everything can happen for a reason - sometimes life is hard, but that's okay. I must learn to forgive and let go of things that have challenged me in the past.
January 6th, 2018 11:12pm
Many people go through a similar thought of this. Letting go of the past is a big change. But in order to let go of the past, you have to embrace the present and future. You need a change, and in order to refuse the past of staying in your mind, just find a part of a new life and focus on that.
January 25th, 2018 2:57am
By realizing that your future is up to you and the past is gone and doesn't exist anymore. See it as something that was part of your journey and if there was a negative experience, perhaps it is part of your life journey that makes you stronger and you bring the lessons with you but not the pain.
February 9th, 2018 10:09am
ry to make the whole process of finding your passions and desires fun. Don't push yourself. When you feel like trying harder – don't. You won't find your desires from a place of frustration. And instead of looking for that great passion, follow your curiosity. Look for the small things that excites you and follow that.
February 25th, 2018 7:21pm
Think of life as a ship - in order to not sink you need to get rid of the old ballast, the past, to make room for all the new things you want to load on board. Your past will always be a part of you, but carrying too much emotional baggage will only slow you down. Letting go of something won't happen in a day, rather step-by-step. Allow yourself to say goodbye to things from the past and to make peace with yourself every day. You can't get completely rid of your past, but you can learn to live with it.
March 1st, 2018 5:32pm
Realize that although you can't change the past, you can learn from it. Nobody is perfect. Move forward.
March 11th, 2018 11:12pm
Focus on positive today, tomorrow and each day forward. and don't look back on any negative memory.
April 6th, 2018 4:08pm
Know that you are constantly changing. Your cells completely change every 7 years so that who you were then is completely not who you are now, you have no attachment to that person you were except for memories. Just allow yourself to let go. You are different now, you do not need to identify with a past self that has completely died. The only moment that matters is the now.
April 26th, 2018 1:54pm
The first step is to come to terms with your past. Understand that it may not have been the greatest, but it is just that - the past. You have full control of how to address your future and sometimes, you need to keep looking forwards rather than back.
April 30th, 2018 12:34pm
To let go your past the first thing is yoi have accept it that it's over amd done you can't change the past but you have to power to not let it effect your present,you need to fogive yourself and the people who were part of the past.Healing comes by patient being gentle to self,most important thing is don't regret your past as it will bring the state of blaming,learn from the past take the lesson it tried to teach you in that way it doesn't remain a regret when it actually gave you an experience and something to learn.
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.
June 7th, 2018 6:34am
From my personal experience there is no "letting go" of the past. Its more about changing the meaning or my perspective in a way that makes me feel better.
June 14th, 2018 12:19am
Letting go of the past if difficult because it feels as though we are letting go of a piece of ourselves. Letting go of a piece of our ourselves feels unsettling, similar to grief. In order to let go of our past and the emotions that it brings we need to disconnect with that piece and reclaim that our past is part of us but it does not define who we are. If we are letting go of a negative piece we need to proclaim that that piece no longer serves us and no longer helps us achieve who we want to become.
June 27th, 2018 11:11am
By understanding and realising that its in the past and you just cannot do anything about it now. We can focus to make the present & future better.
July 14th, 2018 10:21am
Don't let go of past memories, Let it be. Be sad, Cry and you will see that automatically past was not valuable your feelings were. Respect your feelings and love yourself and past will become past.
July 19th, 2018 1:19am
Let it go. Let it go. The windshield on a car is so big for a reason. Exactly why the rearview mirror is so small in comparison.
July 20th, 2018 9:19am
By honouring your present. There was never a time that was not now just different points of past nows, what you focus on expands focus on your present moment.
July 22nd, 2018 10:37pm
The truth is you can't just let go of it. Even after healing, it will always be there unfortunately. And coming to that realisation is a huge part of "letting go"of some of it.
July 27th, 2018 4:18am
Focus on the present and see if you can learn from your past try not to keep rehashing the mistakes you have made whats done cannot be change but you can learn from them
July 29th, 2018 2:06am
Forgiveness and contentment. Work on your mental stability, and focus on improving your future. Forgive those who may have hurt you, and most importantly forgive yourself. And figure out the best way for you to learn how to be content with your life. Look forward to big events in your future, and dont forget to enjoy the "now" while its still happening around you.
August 8th, 2018 9:52pm
To let go of your past, you must find motivation in your future, something new to work towards and care about. When you have something to focus on in the present that gives you gratification and positive enforcement for the future, you can let go of your past.
August 29th, 2018 9:47am
To let go of the past, I believe it is necessary to learn to be in the now. This is the art of awareness, or mindfulness. Learning to live in the present will free you of the past, and any pain that may still be alive from the past. If there is stored pain from the past, it will come up in the present, in the form of memories and emotions. Simply allowing these emotions to be there - neither reacting to them, nor pushing them away - but just experiencing them in full awareness, will dissolve them, and allow you to feel clearer, calmer, happier, and more peaceful. Rather than the future being the key to the past, I believe it is the present that is the key to the past.
September 13th, 2018 9:46pm
Worry does nothing to help you. The past will not be changed. If you want a different future, you must live in that future or you will be stuck in past mistakes. A person could spend their entire lives in regret of mistakes...but it will never change those mistakes or make them go away. Envison what you desire for your future life state and work within your means to go in that direction. If you focus on this and forgive yourself, you will not have time to dwell on things that you wish you could change.
October 14th, 2018 3:08am
Some things that have helped me to let go of things from my own past have been to practice acceptance of these things and have compassion for myself. It can be hard to practice radical acceptance, but actively trying to work towards this brings me a little closer to acceptance step by step. We cannot change our past and it can be truly hard to sit with this reality, but there is always hope for the future and what's to come. Self-compassion has also been huge for me. I tend to ruminate on all of the little mistakes I've made in the past or all the unpleasant happenings in my life. But, practicing self-compassion has been helping me to be kind to myself and to move forward with my life and my own goals.
November 4th, 2018 7:20pm
Letting go of your past is very difficult and takes time. But confronting your past and not giving it power over you anymore is a great start. Just make sure you don’t put yourself in that position too early. It does need to be treaded in lightly but you’ll know when the right time comes. And when you cross that bridge, you’ll feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders and the sun will shine just a little big brighter! Just remember that your well being is what matters most and if you don’t let go of the past, there’s not a bright future!