Alice Weil Novels

Pinnacle Book Achievement Awardee

How to Let Go of the Past

One of life’s hardest lessons is learning to let go of the past. Regardless of who we are and our current age, we all have gone through something that we regretted when we were younger and less experienced. Here are some ways to learn to let go of the past to stop living in emotional pain and regret.

  1. Create physical distance.

Sometimes the best way to move on is to distance yourself from the people who have hurt you in the past. Whether it’s an ex-friend or a boyfriend, one way to help you move on to the future is to distance yourself from them physically. You can also distance yourself from them digitally by changing your social media friends list or undergoing an online detox.

However, this tip may not be helpful for people you have to interact daily. If that’s the case, grey rocking can be a temporary solution until you can physically move on. 

  1. Practice mindfulness.

We often live in the past when we ask ourselves helpless questions. These questions or statements include, “Why did I do that?” What was I thinking?” or “If only I could’ve gone back in time…”

While it’s common to think of these questions, ruminating on them is harmful because you can’t change the past. One way to avoid obsessing over the past is to be mindful by focusing on what you can do now and taking things one step at a time. You don’t have to change your life overnight, but you can at least make today better than yesterday.

  1. Forgive yourself.

Living in the past or regret is emotionally taxing because we may blame ourselves for our mistakes. It’s also painful because of a cycle of guilt that could lead to self-hatred, potentially leading to destructive behavior.

One way to avoid this risk is to allow yourself to start over again. Forgive yourself for not knowing better through changed behavior, even if the person you’ve hurt won’t forgive you.

  1. Start all over again.

Sometimes the best way to move forward is to let the past stay in the past. We cannot change what happened to us, but we have the power to make our next choices count. By starting all over again through learning our past lessons, we allow ourselves the chance to become better and encourage personal growth.           

Bottomline: Living in the past is common but not healthy. When we obsess over our past mistakes and focus on our regrets, we are robbing ourselves of the present to become better. By practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, we’ll find that becoming a better person can be an opportunity we need.

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