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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
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.
Anonymous
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.
thesunwillrise02
August 2nd, 2020 7:53pm
Hmm that can be a very controversial question. Although I don’t know what happened in your past, I think we cannot truly let it go because it is something that uniquely happened to you and shaped you to the brilliant person that you are today. Using myself as an example, I made fun of a classmate back in middle school which I sincerely regret. I tried to let go of my past and convince myself that I’m not the brat I used to be. But I realised that I shouldn’t do that because I didn’t change to a completely different person, I only evolved to a better self. Therefore instead of pretending I’ve always had this bubbly personality, I wrote a letter to my classmate along with gifts to apologise for what I did. So to answer your question, don’t let go of your past, embrace it and outgrow yourself to become a better version of you. Feel free to talk to me and share your progress. I understand that I don’t know what you have experienced but I’m willing to listen and help :)
KACOSMIC
September 2nd, 2020 10:37am
Making peace with your past is the first step. Nobody walks forward looking back. Nobody walks lighter, carrying the weight of the past on their backs. Nobody walks happy, with the pain of what is gone, aching in the chest. Wake up to reality. What passed, passed! It is no longer there. The only place where the past can still be present is within you. In your mind, I live in your thoughts. The reality calls you to the truth that what happened is behind you. It is when we insist on the opposite, wanting to maintain a situation that has already been, not accepting things the way they happened, wanting to change what is already accomplished, that we end up suffering. This pain is the voice of life, trying to wake us up. Everything happened in the best way that could happen: in other words, the way it was. If the past could have been better, it would have been. Of course, in the face of many situations we have the desire that they would be different from what they were. But, if we analyze everything as it happened, without letting our emotional speak louder, we will see that we acted as we could, that each one of us involved did everything within the conditions we had, that if things did not go as we wanted, they went as we could to be. To insist otherwise is like hitting a wall. We can help shape the future with our attitudes in the present, but as for the past, the only thing we can change is the way we see it. Enough looking back with suffering. Good situations should be remembered fondly. The bad ones with wisdom. You don't have to forget your past. You must come to terms with your past. First accepting that you can no longer change it. Second, accepting the limits that each one had at that time: forgiving yourself and others. Third, realizing that everything happened because of your need for experience: you are neither a victim nor an executioner. Fourth, being grateful for all that this experience can teach you. Fifth, leaving the past where it should be: behind! Open your eyes: there is an infinite world of possibilities ahead. Your past is not your definition, it is your reference for better attitudes and experiences. Making peace with your past is the first step towards better hikes. So, you never hate the experiences that helped shape what you are. A look of wisdom in the face of everything you've been through can be the miracle you need so badly in your life and the key to better experiences! So accept the reality that everything was as it could be. Believe that starting today everything can be better, as long as you are better with yourself. Probably what you wanted would not bring the happiness you thought, but it did bring the learning you needed. When we understand that we need to live certain experiences out of necessity, we understand that there were no culprits, but characters from an important situation for everyone. Those who could not do better one day will learn. Compassion for each one is an attitude of wisdom, of those who can see an event through the eyes of the heart. Leave your past in its place. Allow it to pass. He's gone outside, now he needs to leave inside you. Let go of that weight, let go of that hurt, shake off the dust. LOOK FORWARD: a new and beautiful path presents itself before you.
Anonymous
September 17th, 2020 8:20am
Letting go of the past can be difficult for many people. Past experiance are what make us who we are or give us the mindset we have. Letting go means we need to accept change. Change for some can be just as hard to manage, as we don't know what to expect and change can be unfamiliar to us. Somtimes change can be good, it means we can move on from a bad experiance and allows us space to evaluate our past experiences. It can be challenging to see the reality of a situation when you are involved in it at the time. Stepping back allows us to see it with a freash perspective and from a different view. Letting go of past experianced is not about forgetting them and more about understanding them. These experianced both good and bad can help us to know what it is we want and offer us tools that will allow us to make better choices in the future. With situations such as abuse, the abused will offten blaim themselves for what happened, even after the abuse has ended. However, if you can step back and allow yourself a moment to veiw the situation outside of the box, many come to realise that it was not them who was in the wrong but rather their abuser. We can then learn from this experiance and in turn gain life skils that will allow us to move on. So when you are holding on to the past, take a moment to step out, look at the experiance from another perspective, then you will have a better chance of moving forward with new and better life skils.
thundergimmick
September 30th, 2020 11:35pm
I journal about past trauma and experiences. Getting it out on paper is a relief for me. And I can always go back and see how I felt in that moment and what caused me to feel that way. I try to talk to friends and my spouse about my past. It's not easy but its nice to get it out of my mind and most of the time I feel better about it. If it's about somebody, I'll usually block them on social media so they do not appear on my feed or add list. Meditation helps to remove those negative thoughts.