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How to Let Go of the Past

Letting go of the past, means that we have accepted that a relationship had a place in our life,

that we learned from it and left it behind. But we tend to like what is familiar vs. the unknown, even if it is unhealthy.


We have a picture in our minds of how things could and should be but this is NOT real and is usually very different from what IS actually real in our relationship. 


Wishing things were different doesn’t make it so


You Cannot Change Anyone but Yourself


How many times have we read articles that have told us to change the way we think? More than I can count. The reality is that the way we think about anything affects everything.


Letting go of a relationship is difficult but may become necessary. This will depend upon the amount of pain and hurt that they bring into our lives.


Let’s say that you are in a relationship that is challenging. Getting along is difficult, maybe it is one sided and you are always trying to calm situations down & fix things. When you argue, you know that it is unhealthy.


Maybe you realize that the person brings out the worst in you and yet you have those good times. You think that they really need you to keep everything together. So you tell yourself that your love will fix everything.


There have been times when they have shown you they can be that person that you want them to be. You keep hoping that you will say those magical words that will make them say “aha!” or your love will be enough to make the relationship work.


But that usually does not happen, deep down you know that action must be taken. You THOUGHT that you could change them.

Letting go of relationships like this is difficult because we “think” that we can change them. Letting go means that we accept the situation for what it is, realize that it will not change and move on.

We need to let it be, learn our lesson and move on to something healthier

We want a relationship with people that invest as much into the relationship as we do. If it is one sided, that is very telling! People show you who they are every day by their actions. Pay attention!


Accept their limitations


Sometimes Letting go includes toxic friends or family. Our lives take so many twists and turns that sometimes friends or family can’t or won’t make that journey with us.

Major life events can show the weaknesses of others and that can be difficult to accept especially when we need them most. Friends come and go and as sad as it may be, we need to be grateful for the times that we had.


The old saying is that you “can’t choose your family.”


People that drain our energy or that are always taking and self centered need to be kept at arm’s length. Some people will always be the victim and that is something that you cannot change. What they really need is professional counseling, someone that will not allow them to play on emotions.


Accept when you have done all that you can and let them know that they need to find someone that has the skills to help them get healthy. Know when you have been sucked into a cycle of being a sounding board when these people have no intention of getting any real help.


If we are constantly wanting someone’s behavior to be different, then that’s a very good clue that we need to let go.


Being Grateful helps us to move on


Ariana Grande has a great song about moving on that talks about this, “Thank you, Next.” Her lyrics explain how each person left their mark and she is grateful for each, and moves on to “Next.”


Letting go of someone is not easy but if we learn to be grateful for what we have had, it is much easier to move forward. This song is very popular because it takes something painful and creates an uplifting way to see the experience. The lyrics also talk about the most important relationship, which is with yourself.


Focus on the lessons that people bring into your life. Maybe you learned that you are stronger than you thought or maybe you realized some values that you hold cannot be ignored.

Either way if you look hard enough you can find lessons that help you understand yourself better. The better that you know yourself, the healthier each relationship will be moving forward.


Letting go of our Mistakes


We are constantly changing and hopefully growing. We have to forgive ourselves for making human mistakes. Sometimes we do the best that we can with the tools that we have available.


Hopefully we will learn how not to make those mistakes again and give ourselves another chance. The only time it is too late to change our behavior is when we are dead. If you are reading this you are probably not dead yet!


We are going to disappoint others and make mistakes, when that happens apologize to the offended party and then give yourself a break. A simple “I’m sorry” goes a very long way any apology must be genuine and a big plus if its given before it’s asked for. 🙂


How Can I let go of Emotions?


Why do I have a hard time letting go of things? These are all questions that we ask ourselves and it will take some effort. Like it or not, you need to recognize what you are feeling and allow yourself to be OK with that.


You have to get to the point where you realize that you are hurting yourself more than anyone else by not letting go. Holding onto anger and resentment will only hurt you. You are the one that will be stuck if you don’t find a way to be happy.


Accept that your feelings are your feelings. You will need to take small actions to break the cycle of replaying it over and over again in your head.




Accepting people’s limitations is key to putting things in perspective. Some family members are just horrible and they have done irreparable harm. Forgiveness is for you not them.


To forgive does not mean that they should be in your life. It also doesn’t mean that they are let off the hook.

It is about you and giving yourself another tool to detach if necessary.


They became who they are because of their limitations. They didn’t tell you they were sorry, because of their limitations. They made your life hard because of their limitations. They may have never developed to the point that they can fix what they have done.


They are who they are. Those words that you long to hear, may never come. Accept that and put them away. They cannot hurt you unless you let them. Any guilt or resentment has to be put away, you have the power to close that door.


They have deficiencies that cannot be fixed. But you can take the power of those past hurts away by accepting and letting go.


People show you who they are by their actions not words


Letting go photo


How to Let go of the Past and be Happy


1. Helping people is a fast way to take the attention off of yourself and putting it towards the needs of others. Being around others in need helps us to put things in perspective.

It’s easy to get so wrapped up with ourselves, that we cannot see past our own issues. Check into some local places where you can volunteer.


2. Figuring out our passions and taking small steps toward them will help you refocus on more positive aspects of your life. Find out where your curiosity lies, what would you like to learn more about? What holds your interest for good amounts of time?


3. What you focus on will grow, if that is guilt, shame, anger, then that will expand. If you focus on positive aspects, then that will grow. Read some uplifting books, quotes or take a class.

Joining a club or checking out a local Meetup can open you up to some new possibilities. Focus on what you want and how you will create a better version of yourself.


Small steps equal big results!


Choose where your attention goes and kick its butt if it boomerangs back to anything negative.


4. Try to create some distance from the past problems & Assess. Imagine that a friend is relating the same issues to you. Does your perspective change? What advice might you give? How did your reactions or actions help or hurt past situations?

The more you can observe the situation from a distance the more you may be able to see it in a new light.


5. Keep a journal of your thoughts and the steps that you are taking to start anew. Writing down your thoughts may help to clarify the actual feelings.

Only actions can make a change, if not you will be stuck in the same situations over and over again.

The healthier you are the stronger that you will become. One step at a time….


Living in the Present


1. Enjoy some nature. Take a walk in a garden or a yoga session. All of things will help you to live in the present. When you are walking, take the time to really look at your surroundings.

Make it a habit to look for details, such as the way the light hits the trees or the way the branches are bent. This helps you get out of your head and refocus.


2. Making a “uplifting & happy” song playlist can do wonders instantly. It becomes literally impossible to not feel better if your playing your favorite music.


3. Meditating is a fabulous way to become present. Being in the moment, feeling your breathe and focusing on your body completely settles the mind. Meditation takes a little practice but is not difficult. I like guided meditation, since the audio or video tells you exactly what to do.


4. If you like to cook, it can become almost mindless. When I cook my brain is on autopilot and time disappears. This may be a nice to invite a friend over for coffee and cake, whether it is homemade or not.

We all need social interaction period. Find a reason for a little celebration and share the moment with friends or family.


5. There are some great book clubs that you may enjoy. Some are online and others meet in real life. Check some out!

The bottom line is to find moments that you enjoy and by focusing more on them, the positive moments will grow and grow


Read more Relationship articles

Ghosting in a Relationship


20 Letting go of the Past Quotes


“The pain of letting go is often the mourning of a fantasy relationship”- Kim Petruska

letting go quote

“Letting go hurts so much because the relationship we envisioned never materialized”- Kim Petruska


“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. –Eckhart Tolle


“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.”― Steve Maraboli


“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar”.- Thich Nhat Hanh


“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell


“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”― Eckhart Tolle


“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”― Ann Landers


“If you truly want to be respected by people you love, you must prove to them that you can survive without them.”
Michael Bassey Johnson


“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”
Eckhart Tolle


“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.”― Roy T. Bennett


“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
Eckhart Tolle


“If you spend your time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to your heart, then you’re allowing them to hurt you a second time in your mind.”
Shannon L. Alder


You can only lose what you cling to –Buddha


“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” –Oprah Winfrey


“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.”― Eckhart Tolle


“Think about any attachments that are depleting your emotional reserves. Consider letting them go.” – Oprah Winfrey


“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” – Henry David Thoreau


“The most difficult aspect of moving on is accepting that the other person already did.” ― Faraaz Kazi


“You will evolve past certain people. Let yourself.” ― Mandy Hale



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