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How to let go of the past if you are stuck in it

Everyone goes through some kind of emotional turmoil or hurt. There is probably no one in the world that has not experienced any kind of pain or trauma, be it a teen or an adult. It becomes challenging to let go of the past.

It is natural to feel hurt as we are all born with a heart that can experience things deeply.

Life is not a bed of roses, so instead of dwelling on your emotional pain, you can learn to grow from it. It is important to know how you can move on from the hurt itself. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life pondering over the past.

Thinking about something that you cannot change will do you no favors. If you do not break the shackles now, how will you go back to being the thrill-seeking lover of life that you once were. 

A Guide on How to Let Go Of the Past

An important step that you must take is to open yourself to newer opportunities, happiness, and joys of life.  If your mind and heart are not free of the feelings of previous hurt and pain, you cannot truly invite new happiness into your life.

You must never allow fear to get in your way of accomplishing your goals. You have to eliminate the source of fear to achieve a 180 degree breakthrough.

Here are a few steps that you can take to help yourself let go of the past in order to move forward and have a better and more fulfilling life in the future.

Choose To Let Things Go

Your heart cannot rid itself of past feelings and hurt on its own. You have to promise yourself to make up your mind to let things go. If you don’t make a consistent, conscious effort, there is no telling what havoc your past will wreak on your future.

You can do anything if you put your mind to it, so it is basically a choice that you have to accept that you cannot go back in the past to turn things the other way round.  Deciding to let go of the past involves making a choice to move on from it.

View failure as a positive thing. If you don’t fail, you can’t succeed at what you do. Failure is a learning process, and when you learn from your past, you can turn that into a positive experience. Did you get hurt? Now that you learned from it, you’ll find a mechanism to never get hurt again. Did you suffer? Now that you know the pain, you’ll find a new way to avoid it.

Stop reliving every detail of the painful events of your life in your head. When you acknowledge that it is merely your choice either to dwell on the pain or to live a life free of it, you will feel strong and empowered.

Take the conscious decision to stop the bad habit of over-thinking, or it might disrupt your mental health.

If you learn to take charge, you will feel more confident that you can successfully let go of the past. This belief is the first step of the tedious process.

Don’t Bottle Up Your Pain – Express It- Accept Your Responsibility

More often than not, we tend to bottle up our feelings when we should be expressing them. And this is what lets the past haunt us.  Let go of the past. You must express the emotional hurt and let it out of you. It is your choice how you want to let it out.

If you have a close friend, you can write them a letter explaining your feelings, or if you like, you can write a letter to yourself too.  You can also start a diary or a journal or express your pain through art and paintings.  

Writing a letter to express your emotional pain can keep you from negative emotional responses such as anger.

The important thing is to free yourself by letting it all out at once.

This is important because you have to identify the main thing that is the root cause of all the hurt.

Great leaders build on these attributes. They make decisions that will alter the course of their path. By writing, they can separate what went right from what went wrong.

They accept responsibilities and they are humble enough to understand they commit mistakes. They accept them, and learn from them.

Channel out your pain, build a mechanism around it. So that every time pain comes in, it goes right out. Don’t send it to others, simply meditate, identify, write, and let go.

What keeps you up at night

Another important thing to identify is your own responsibility for the heartache that still needles you and keeps you up at night. 

If you look deep within yourself, you might find out that a part of the emotional pain you are experiencing was because of your fault.

You will then be able to ask yourself what it was that you could do differently then?

You may even find out the things that you can do differently now to avoid the pain of the past end up hurting you in the future.

Take control of your life so that your hurtful past does not become your life-long identity. Do not make your personality more complex than it is by having pity on your current situation. Express your pain so that you are able to deal with it better and learn to let the past go.

Don’t Victimize Yourself or Blame Others

To let go of the past, you need to stop playing the victim card. Honestly, the world is a ruthless place, and it will not care about you, whether you are a victim or not. 

Yes, you have a heart, and you feel, but sometimes you have to put your feelings on the back burner and see that there are other things that matter too. Life involves a number of tasks and responsibilities, and it is not always pretty.

Sometimes life can get really ugly and complicated so do not expect your feelings to override everything else.

Make the choice

Every day you are faced with a choice – the choice to let the actions of someone hurt you or to let yourself be happy and feel good. Learn to take responsibility for keeping yourself happy. Do not depend on another person to do it for you. Find your own self.

If you give someone the power to keep you happy or hurt you, you will always stay trapped and depend on them to make you happy. Do not place such a power in anyone’s hands.

Sometimes, you have to take the power away from the person you gave it to in order to let go of the past and to avoid getting hurt in the future.

Instead of thinking why the person wronged you, channel your energy into doing something productive and positive.

If you continue to blame someone else for the hurt they caused you, or for something they did that wronged you, just because you want them to realize what they did wrong, then you are making a big mistake.

The reason is that, if they see that they have control over you, they can either refuse to accept their fault or be arrogant about it. This sort of behavior can wear you down emotionally.

If you believe that your feelings are justified, you must learn to embrace and feel them to let them go.  

It is very toxic and unhealthy to keep replaying a painful event of the past in your head. You do not want to get stuck in your past.

Live In the Present

Focusing on the present is one way of leaving behind the past. Let go of the past and stop replaying it in your head.  You can make your present beautiful by staying in it and living it up. By empowering yourself, you can be the hero of your life, instead of being a victim of someone else’s actions. 

You will see yourself spending less time and energy thinking about the past if you decide to focus on your present.

Enjoy your present moment to stay mentally present where you are. Do not let the person who hurt you disrupt your present moment of happiness.

Your past may try to haunt you in the present but you have to remind yourself that it was just your past and you have to let go of it now.  For some people, this might be very easy to do, but for others, it is a very daunting task. 

You have to remind yourself that things are going to be alright, and you will be able to come out of your past. You must tell yourself that you will be able to smile and be happy again if you claim your life from the hands of the person that hurts you.

If you want to welcome joy in your life, you have to stop the hurt from clouding your life. Stay positive and work upon yourself.

Practice forgiveness

It might be a difficult task to forget what another person did but if you want to let go of the past you have to practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is an art and it does not come easy. However, if you want to forget about the thing that hurt you, you have to forgive.

Your ego and stubbornness might not allow you to let go of a bad behavior easily but forgiveness is the only way you can move forward and stop yourself from getting stuck in the past.

Forgiveness here does not imply that you are alright with the hurtful actions of the other person. You acknowledge that what the other person did was not right but choose to forgive the person for your own mental health.

Forgiveness involves seeing things from the other person’s perspective and empathizing with them.  It also involves understanding yourself and seeing your fault in all of the hurtful events of the past.

The person who hurt you might not have made a conscious decision to do so.  A bad habit may be the cause of the emotional pain they inflict on you.

If you want to live a happy and peaceful life in the future, let the person hurting you go.  Some people are meant to be loved from a distance. If you think your relationship with that person can no longer proceed, then it is important that you stop beating yourself for what happened, or blaming the other person for it. 

Learn to practice forgiveness in order to forget about all the negativities of your life. It will be good for your mental health too.

Spend time on yourself

Pamper yourself and take care of your physical and mental health. Make a conscious decision to spend your hours thinking about what you want to do for yourself, and essentially about what makes you happy.

Find your passion in life. Do what you love, and love what you do.

Going for a body massage, or a walk in the park can make you feel refreshed and fade all your stress.  The person who hurt you does not have to be a part of your life anymore. You can have all the time in the world to yourself.

Focus on improving your appearance and intelligence.  Change your style of dressing, and get up to date with the latest fashion.  

Read books to expand your vocabulary, or learn a new language to divert your mind off of your emotional pain. Your intelligence is often measured by the kind of vocabulary you use in your conversations. So work upon that to let go of the past and focus on your future.

Spend Time with People You Want To Be Like

Spend time with the people who make you feel happy.  Your friends and family members might be the people you are fond of the most so spend time with them and learn about their achievements. 

Your family members and friends will motivate you and support you. They might even invite you to some fun activity.

If you own a business, you’ll want to hang out with entrepreneurs who share your business core values.

Enjoy and have fun with the people you want to be like and with the people that stir positivity in you.

Declutter to have mental clarity

The stress cleaning technique may come in handy here.  Clean your space to clear your mind and improve your mental health.

A clean environment will help you think clearly and have a broad perspective on things and life and you will better be able to deal with your emotional pain this way.

Imagine yourself cleaning the dirt of your past while cleaning your study table or any other furniture of your room. When you will start thinking this way, you will unconsciously be cleansing your mind and heart of all the hurt and sorrow.

If you declutter your space, you will clean your mind and it will help you let go of the past. Focus on your present moment, and LIVE it!

In A Nutshell

Find happiness within yourself. Build self improvement systems that function 24/7 around your life.

No one’s life is perfect, and your life is too sacred to be defined by your painful past.  Study and work are not the only two things that can suffer if you hold onto your pain.  Your friendships and other relations in your life are also impacted.

 Your friends and family members suffer along with you every day you choose to dwell on your painful past. 

If you must do something, then learn to let go of the past by following this guide.

Are there other things that you can practice to let go of the past?  Let us know in the comments below.


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