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6 Steps to Let Go of the Past Now

You have the power to create the life you desire. You can choose right now to let go of the past and move into freedom and joy.

Holding onto the past creates a world of limitation and pain. Constantly thinking about the past, whether it is remembering the good or the bad, brings fear that we can’t escape the story. It feels like being buried in the sand and having the air crushed from your lungs, you feel as though you have to dig forever to unbury yourself from the memories. You question whether life is always going to be difficult and yearn for freedom.

You keep wondering why the same thing keeps happening. Why you keep attracting the same abusive relationships. Worried that you are never going to have the things you want. You can’t even dream about them, because you know it isn’t going to happen for you. Living in the past, there is no light in the present, just fear and darkness.

None of it makes sense to you. You feel confused and you want a reason for why this is happening. All of this is just some of the thoughts that may be running through your brain if you are stuck in the past. 

On top of overthinking, you might be creating a reality based off the past, projecting the experiences that you went through before onto a new situation or person. The reality is, what is happening right now is a totally new experience. You have the power to create the now that you desire and the key is letting go of your past.

Letting go of the past isn’t always easy. Especially when you feel like you have been desperately trying to let it go. It can feel daunting and exhausting. Ultimately you just want to move on and maybe you do by distracting yourself. The problem is the old story is still playing in the not so distant background, taking up room in your subconscious brain. 

In my experience, these six steps have helped me to let go of my past, to let go of abusive relationships and stories about my personal success. Following this process helped paved the way to open myself to experiencing life in a different way. They have led me to fulfilling relationships and feeling truly free to live my life. By learning to let go of the past, I have learned more about myself and how strong I am. I have learned to see beauty in my life and recognize that I am truly blessed. Most of all, letting go of the past has helped me not to become paralyzed everytime something “bad” happens because I know that I can create a new story.

Letting go of the past requires following each of the steps. There are no shortcuts, you must move through each one to find release. Be gentle with yourself during this process and find support along the way. If you find yourself struggling to let go, revisit these steps and work through the ones that you need to until you have completed them. The process of letting go takes practice and time, so give yourself permission to keep trying and take as long as you need to on each step.

  1. Letting go of the past requires acceptance and a conscious choice to let it go. Accepting the past means that you acknowledge that it happened. Be honest about what happened, don’t over dramatize it and don’t belittle what happened. Trauma is trauma and abuse is abuse, how severe trauma or abuse is is subjective and what really matters is how it affected you. What you have been through is your own personal experience and the same type of trauma or abuse will affect two different people totally differently.

    Part of acceptance, is accepting that you can’t change the past and you can’t change other people. The only person you have control over is yourself and the choices you make in the present moment.

    You don’t need to figure out why something happened or what it means about you. The fact is that it happened and it is in the past. Choose to accept it and then choose to move on.

  2. Often emotions from the past can keep resurfacing when you are holding onto your past. You may have sudden outbursts of sadness, anger, or fear. These feelings will keep resurfacing until you allow yourself to truly feel them. Those emotions need to move through and out.

    Shutting them down and bottling them up is what results in these sudden outbursts. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling the way that you feel and you have every right to feel those emotions. You can’t just choose to be happy when inside you are holding onto anger and sadness. It may work for a little bit, but at some point in some way, those feelings are going to surface.

    Choosing to be or feel something you are not is not living in your truth and it is always better to be in your truth. When you have truly allowed those emotions to move through you, then you are able to choose differently.

  3. Forgiveness is the process of releasing those feelings and not allowing them to hold you prisoner anymore. Forgiveness frees us from the pain. It does not mean that you forget what happened or that what happened to you was okay. When you forgive someone, they don’t need to deserve it, you are making that choice for yourself and your own freedom. Not only must you choose to forgive others, but you must also forgive yourself.

  4. Every experience we go through is there to teach us something. Realizing what you learned can empower you. There is often something to learn about yourself. The most difficult experiences teach you your own strength and personal power.

    Sometimes the past comes up again because you still have more to learn. This gives you the chance to do things differently than you did before, to show that you have learned the lesson. For instance, after an abusive relationship, you might attract someone who is slightly less abusive but none the less abusive. You don’t need to suffer through the abuse, it is just an opportunity for you to choose something different, to choose better for yourself. If you find yourself in this situation, ask yourself, “What can I do differently?”

    When you choose to discover what you learned and honor the lesson, you choose to see the situation differently. This can empower you to move forward in your life in a new way. You can let go because you no longer need a reason for what happened or why you feel and think the way that you do.

  5. You deserve to love yourself, to feel whole and complete. During this process, find love and compassion for yourself. Take time for self care and work on becoming the person that you want to be. Get in touch with your inner truth, find the light, the power within you. Trust me, it is there. The more you love yourself, the easier it will be to find. Know that you can choose to be whoever you want to be.

    You don’t need to blame or be angry with yourself. You don’t need to hold onto self-criticism and self-sabotaging thoughts. None of that is your truth. That came from something outside of yourself that imprinted those thoughts on you. Recognize that is not you and let it go. Surround yourself with people who love and support you, who help you to see the light within you. Find others who see the beauty and the truth of who you are. You have the power to choose different thoughts, the highest version of you is just waiting to be discovered and embraced.

  6. You can only be in one place at a time. You can not be in the present and the past at the same time. In order to let go of the past, you have to practice being in the present. You have to pay attention to what is happening within you and in front of you, right now.

    You can practice presence in many ways, ultimately it means devoting all of your attention to what you are doing in the present moment. You can do this while you eat or brush your teeth. Just do one thing at a time and notice the sensations as you do so. This is mindfulness. Another way to be present is meditation. Even if you can only stay present for a few seconds, continue to practice. Those seconds will turn into minutes and each minute you are present during your day adds up. The key to being present is practice and awareness.

    Choose to be in the present, now.

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