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How do I let go of my past?

154 Answers
Last Updated: 10/03/2021 at 8:55am
How do I let go of my past?
1 Tip to Feel Better
India
Moderated by

Jui Shankar, Ph.D

Psychologist

My worldview offers a systems perspective that values diverse clients and their struggles. I believe supportive and nonjudgmental therapeutic relationships empower clients.

Top Rated Answers
Anonymous
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.
Anonymous
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.
heretohelp9292
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.
Anonymous
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!
Anonymous
December 7th, 2018 7:29pm
Writing is a great tool. You can write about what you would like to let go of until you feel lighter. Also meditation is wonderful to be the observer of old patterns.
lovelyOcean58
February 8th, 2019 5:19am
Focus solely on the future. Try to place a new mindset on yourself and use the belief of everything happens for a reason. Changing the past is impossible, so do not live there. Instead keep moving forward, there is a better future out there. There will be triggers, bad memories and emotions, that will try and hold you back, but can’t let them. Try to use all your will power to fight against the bad emotions. There is a lot of different methods of self care, so you can heal and move forward. Anything is possible and do not let self doubt hold you back.
Anonymous
March 23rd, 2019 9:03pm
The past isn't something you can get rid of. It happened it's there, the trick to dealing with things from your past is acceptance. You can't change the past, you can revisit things in your past and gain new understanding of them from life experiences happening in the moment, but the past will always and forever be what it is. The only time that you can truly act in is the now. The now may effect the future but there is no way to predict exactly what effect the now will have. Take a look at the mindful exercises here on 7 cups and practice being present in the moment. You can use daily tasks like working, washing dishes, cleaning up, anything and think about what you are seeing, feeling physically, smelling in that moment and remembering that the past is a place we can visit, but a not a place that we can change.
DancingSkies
May 22nd, 2019 3:46am
Letting go of the past isn't an easy task, it can be difficult to move on with something that's burdening us. However it's not fair to yourself to be constantly living in the past. We cannot change our past, all we can do is accept the past for what it is and make room for what's to come. There's no point in holding on to something you can't change, there's always room in the future to make things right. The future is your opportunity to do things the way you wish, and if it doesn't go that way you can always try again!
bigPillow5296
June 27th, 2019 4:38am
Everyone has a past, and a persons past is what made them the way they are. Your past is a big part of you, and it may not always be good. Letting go is hard to do, especially if it’s something that shaped you or changed you entirely, it’s going to be hard to let go. First you need to understand it. Understand how it affected you. Then, you need to allow yourself to forgive it. Whether it was good or bad, before you let it go you need to not have any emotional ties that will make you constantly think of it. It’s going to be hard, but you need to realize the more you dwell on the past, the more times you’re going to put yourself through it again.
PlushPetTony11
July 15th, 2019 1:43pm
First you have to accept that in order to move forward to have to let go of your past. Not all of it, as it helped to shape who you are. But once you’ve got the determination to move forward you’ll find the courage the leave the past behind. Think about what you want to achieve in the future. Set yourself a goal. Picture an image. That’s now your new focus, looking forward at that image, instead of back over your shoulder at what has been. You walk forward now, taking steps at a time, towards your goal and away from your past. Baby steps. It takes time and courage. But you have to have something to look forward to in the future. Something to reach out to. Something to encourage you to move forward, not backwards.
TheHelpfulPillow
July 21st, 2019 7:11pm
By first accepting that there is nothing about it that you can change, and coming to terms with that. Whatever you did or was done to you, write it down, and perhaps write a response to the event, telling it how it made you feel, and how you want to recover from it. For me, it was something I'd done to hurt some friends, I wrote down the year it happened, that I was angry with myself, that I was immature, and that they had every reason to no longer be my friend. I then added that for the future, I would never again do what I did to hurt them to anyone. Then I scrunched up the letter and threw it away.
Anonymous
August 3rd, 2019 1:30am
For me, the most important thing I ever did to let go of my past was to forgive myself. The best way to do that is to take active steps to recognize what went wrong and to use that information to improve yourself. Learning from your mistakes and making an effort to be better is healing, and once you're able to forgive yourself for what happened, you can live with it. You also have to remember to give yourself time to process what hurt you, or else you won't be able to move forward. Once that's done however, and you've learned from your past, try not to obsess over it. There's only so much good that can come from reliving past hurt, and you deserve to move forward.
Anonymous
August 3rd, 2019 8:23am
By developing mindfulness! Whenever thoughts of the past arise, just notice them, watch them appear and show their "ugly faces", but don't follow them, don't buy into their stories. As soon as you learn not to indulge and put energy into these thoughts, they will release you. At first you develop this while doing a formal sitting meditation. You train this mindfulness in a "laboratory of your mind" so to say. In time, you will notice that you are able to be mindful of your thoughts and actions after mediation as well. At that point no thoughts will be able to disturb you anymore in any situation. So train again and again, until you reach the results. This practice is known as the "Vipassana" meditation.
owllover36290
November 6th, 2019 2:27pm
In order to let go of your past, you have to concentrate on your future. Focus on what really maters in life. For example, your relationships, your job(s), or anything else that is important to you. Taking time for yourself is also a HUGE part in letting go of your past. Go take a day to yourself, let your emotions sink in and see how you really feel about life and what it can become for you. Life is a very bumpy road that can soon become a nice smooth paved road. In order to get that smooth road you have to go through that bumpy road. It may feel like complete crap but remember that you have that smooth road to look forward to. That smooth road is the road to a good life filled with love and energy.
Anonymous
November 21st, 2019 5:59am
I guess it depends on why you want to let go. Sometimes we want to let go of things that we should face. For example, I feel that there are things in my past that I need to deal with which is causing me to be stagnant in certain areas of my life. However, I do not really want to face them. I avoid them even though I know I need to actually confront it in order to move on. So in short, my answer is that in order for you to.let go of your past, you have to honestly face it and deal with whatever emotional issues STEM from it. After which, you will see that you can move on.
Anonymous
December 15th, 2019 3:37am
I let go of my past by forgiving myself and knowing that I'm not the same person I was in the past. Incidents in the past do not define me, as we are all able to learn and grow from the experiences we have had in the past. Letting go is something I do for myself and to heal myself. Letting go doesn't mean I have forgotten the incident, person, or memory. Instead, letting go is a tool we can use to heal from pain and anger. Letting go leads to a happier life and we should all embrace that!
SensibleSensitivity
December 20th, 2019 8:22am
Some people might say, look only to the future. However, in letting go of our past, we should also acknowledge it and gain wisdom from it - and yet leave it there, where it belongs in the past. In letting go of your past, you are saying that you are no longer the same as the person of the past; what has been done to you does not need to have power over you in the present; and what you have done does not need to define your future. This may involve some kind of reinvention of yourself; it may involve rejecting the labelling and stereotyping of others. It may very likely involve asking for forgiveness, and giving forgiveness. These are not always easy things - but if you are to let go of the past and move forward in the future, they are crucial to set yourself at peace and your relationships at peace. By coming to peace with your past, it can no longer have power over you, and it can no longer sway your future, except where you let it. And that is the ultimate realisation: your past is yours, but it is not you - and thus, what you do with it now is completely up to you.
BlakeRime
December 27th, 2019 6:35am
As long as we try to forget the past, it follows us and tethers to us. However there is a way to free your self from the nightmare. Step 1: Rather than trying to forget the past.Accept it. Try your best to sink in that it happened and its never gonna be washed away. You need to accept the fact that it happened to you and you need to beat in the truth that its a bad memory which is not gonna effect you present and future anymore. Step 2: Believe that its something miserable that you never want to replay again then you will find the solution and key to the way that makes you live today with your past thrown away from you
Anonymous
January 18th, 2020 3:52am
Don't look back unless you want to pick up a lesson or two. You can't live a life backwards. That is why living in the moment is the key. So often people spend too much time digging into their pasts, they end up getting trapped in a unhealthy cycle. It is unnecessary. The past is in the past. Rumination gives birth to an uneasy feeling. Look ahead and plan for the future. It may take time to let go of anger or resentment or regrets. But you need to jettison emotional baggage. Travel light and you go further and swifter.
Evalistening
January 18th, 2020 11:29pm
Start by acknowledging that you need to let go. Once this hard part is over, then it’s time to release by venting and letting it go. Once you have done that, start by taking responsibility to what you are letting go of. Keep telling yourself that it’s ok to grief. Accept that it’s behind you. Now it’s time for forgiveness. Forgive yourself, forgive others don’t blame it on anyone. Once you forgive, then you can start living the now Some people find it easier to write or play sports or paint. Find whatever it is that you feel connected to and it will sure help you.
BluSky123
February 16th, 2020 10:24pm
Think of life as a book. More specifically, as writing a book. When you are writing a book, sometimes your chapters will change when you least expect. Sometimes, you will have an intense desire to stare at the older chapters forever. You don't want to keep on writing the book, instead you wish to go back to a chapter. (or alternatively, you wish to burn a chapter from the book) You can't do any of these. Those chapters have already been written in ink. The best thing to do now is realize there are many empty pages that you haven't written in yet that may be even better than the last ones. If you accept that the past chapters are just that, you can pick up the pen and start writing again. When you are "writing the book" you are living your life in the present. You can look forward to the future, but the future is nothing without the present. The present will become the past, just like the chapters you are stuck on. And soon, the future will be your present. But the only way to get there is to keep on writing the book.
Anonymous
February 29th, 2020 2:31pm
One can let go of their past when they know that its not worth remembering. So start making a bucket list and you will forget your past for sure!. People tend to hang on to their past because they sometimes hope that something better will happen. So in order to forget it you only have to give it time and space. Even though the situations are bad, sometimes giving it time will make it better. This may seem long but it is the right thing to do. Meditation also helps in forgetting the past and its great if you can.
JoyLake
April 19th, 2020 5:04pm
Whenever you find yourself thinking about the past and start berating yourself for your actions or for the things that happened, stop and consider the fact that you are not the same person anymore. We are always evolving as humans. Forgive yourself daily and focus on the present. Our past has shaped who we are but it never defines who we are because the future is not set in stone. Every day is a new day to start over. Forgive yourself, ask others who you may have wronged or hurt for forgiveness and close the chapter. Keep moving forward. You are worthy.
BrianP843
May 14th, 2020 10:13pm
Letting go of the past can be one of the hardest things. What is it in your past that you want to let go? Is there a way you can resolve it? Understanding and really thinking about what is causing you to hold on to your past might help to better let it go. What is it, at its core, that is causing you to think of the past? Perhaps a feeling? Like you, I’ve had many problems with letting go of my past. In my situation it was with another person. Something that really helped me was to write a letter that I’d never send to that person. I let out all that I had to say and didn’t hold back any of my emotions. This might interest you. You could write it anyway you’d need. Perhaps even a letter to yourself. If it makes it easier, pretend you are writing it to a friend of yours and think of what you would say to them.
Ashvillium
May 17th, 2020 5:37am
Letting go your past is something very hard to do. It is hard because it is not at all goverened by you, rather it is your brain governing it and so for overcoming it one need an ardent desire and strong will power. But still letting go is still not easy, you eventually need to be harsh on yourself also. You will have to try controling your mind the way it works and letting your memories not haunt on you. The mind has a basic nature of letting things in and storing. It never deletes anyting. but yeah what you can do at all is decreasing the intensity of the bad ones and focusing on good ones. for that all you need is to create! Create new memories to fill up the old ones. It works similar as the water in bucket. If you have to throw out dirty water off a bucket, sometimes you just need to open the tap and leave fresh water flowing. The dirty water will automatically overflow and you'll worth the fresh ones. Hence it is simple if done the way it is needed to be done. :)
ThoughtfulAloe
May 21st, 2020 6:42pm
To let go of my past, I take with me the things I have learned from previous relationships. I'm glad I learned the lessons I did... Even the difficult ones. I think about my ex and my life a few years ago and I notice all of the amazing improvements I have made since then and it helps me move on from the difficult memories. One example would be how I used to lash out when I felt I was treated unjustly. Now, I can catch those feelings much sooner and identify if I need to bring something up with a partner or if I just need to think it through on my own. Either way, I'm not lashing out anymore the way I used to!
DylanletterR
May 28th, 2020 4:36pm
Well, it is definitely not easy, and it is different for everyone. I guess a good way to try r at least start to let go of your past, is to identify exactly what you would like to let go. From there you can come up with a "plan" (you don't have to do this, but it may help to write stuff down!) of ways and how you would like to let go of something, or specific things. Remember, what I say may not work for you, so it is good to think deep down about how you do things, and what works for you! If you ever need someone to listen, I am here!
4Runnning44AspiringJD
June 4th, 2020 4:14am
Find your passions. Embrace your past. Don't let it be a stigma. I used to let the, "your a loser. pathetic." tape play for too long in my head and what I have learned is i needed to take accountability and responsibility for my role and then I use my passion areas to excel in areas in life that could or could not be related to that of my past and I found great meaning outside of the parameters I limited myself to. I'm going to do whatever the F Mike wants and not allow self-loathing and self-pity to dictate my actions instead I will act mindfully and the rest will be a clean slate and from there I have to make those right decisions of the man I want to be everyday versus the man that everyone thinks or thought i am.
Anonymous
June 5th, 2020 12:39am
It is hard to beat yourself up over the past however, a key to moving on is accepting what is in the past is staying there. By doing so you can focus on the person you are becoming and take everything as a lesson to make you a better person. Nobody is perfect and we all grow as people, don’t be too harsh on yourself the past is the past there’s nothing that can change that now, now is time to focus on the future and becoming a better version of yourself!, you may even be able to help others who feel the same way :)
safeshoulder2CryOn
July 2nd, 2020 9:15am
We each have a past that we regret and we often try to return to that moment in time to modify the course of events. Some of us are haunted or traumatised by specific past events. When unresolved, the past merges into the future to distort our realities. This is when we are hurt and will then relive past traumas. This will result in suffered from negative views of ourselves, negative evaluations of situations, events, and the future. We need to regulate our thoughts so that the past cannot impact our future happiness. In order to let go of painful past events,we have to learn to forgive the perpetrators and safeguard ourselves with systematic self-desensitization. This involves controlling our thoughts about past events. We have to tell ourselves that we can cope with positive n negative emotions whenever imagery of tge past comes back and It’s no one’s fault and that we can manage the pain and we have managed this situation before and can manage it again.