Are you feeling depressed or anxious because life isn’t unfolding the way you thought it would? You’re not alone. Learning how to let go is not easy, but thinking about the way things “should” have gone is toxic for your mental wellbeing, and it really brings you no positive benefits. If things in your life haven’t gone the way you hoped, dwelling on this will only bring you unhappiness, and hold you back from uncovering your true potential. Here are our tips for how to let go of the past and keep moving forward.
Letting go of the past isn’t easy, especially if you’ve been holding onto intense negative beliefs for a long time. The longer we’ve been dwelling on the past, the more difficult it will be to change those thought patterns. However, it’s not impossible – it just takes some dedication and practice to change the way your brain sees the situation.
Luckily, I have a few strategies for you to teach you how to let go of the past and keep moving forward. I will touch on:
Intrigued? Keep reading!
First things first, you have to let go of how you thought things were “supposed” to go. This is key for how to let things go. Holding onto “could’ve” “should’ve” and “would’ve” is really not beneficial to you at all.
We try and try to manipulate the outside world to match our internal preferences and most of the time, life throws us curve balls that we don’t expect. We hold on to ideas of “how it was supposed to go,” and by never letting go of the past, it causes us to feel disturbances inside of us that create feelings of depression, anxiety, overwhelm, and regret. Not great feelings to have, right?
Almost all of us hold on to an idea or situation we thought was supposed to be different and that holds us back from living our best lives and keeps us playing small instead of living big. What if you let go of the ideas you have of how the past should have gone? What if you looked through the lens of “everything happens for a reason” or “everything happens for a reason that serves me”? This is one method for how to let go of the past. Everything that’s happened in your past has led you to where you are at this moment. You are where you’re meant to be this very second. Focus on how to forget the past preconceived notions you had for your life.
When you’re stuck in the past, you aren’t living your life in the moment, meaning you certainly aren’t living your best life. One way you can focus on letting go of the past is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about being in the here-and-now, observing each moment as it comes without judgment. Easier said than done, I know. But practice makes perfect! Mindfulness will also help you reduce anxiety and gain mental clarity – both of which will help you keep moving forward and live life in the moment.
Instead of dwelling on the past, focus on what you want right now. Letting go of the past allows you to tap into what you want now, which will lead you to be inspired to find your true purpose and passion in life at this moment. The past is irrelevant. What matters is the now. Do what you want now – what brings you pleasure, what fulfills your desires, what brings you closer to your goal. If you don’t know how to let go, you don’t know how to live your best life. So take a deep breath and just let go.
Before you completely move forward from your past, see what you can learn from it. There are always lessons to be learned from the things that happen to us in life. Instead of looking back at the past and just moping about it, look at it objectively.
Ask yourself, “What did I learn from this situation and how have I become stronger?” This will give you insights into how the situation actually happened for you and made you stronger as a person. Writing down this information in a journal can help you slow down and process your thoughts, and this is a great tool for learning how to let go.
Now that you’ve analyzed, asked, and learned how to let things go, you are truly on the right path to keep moving forward. The last step is to do just that: move. You need to move physically and mentally. One of my favorite quotes is from the movie World War Z, where Brad Pitt is hiding from zombies during an apocalypse. He is encouraged to stay hidden instead of going out into the outside world where he would be vulnerable. Pitt’s character tells the man, “Movement is life,” and leaves the apartment where he is hidden. Eventually, he is able to escape while the group that stayed behind is eventually found and killed.
Of course, that scenario is extreme, but the same is true for us. Movement is life. We have to keep going, we have to trust ourselves that the universe has more in store for us, but we have to be willing to take a risk and take the next step. When we hold on to the past, it locks us up like a ball and chain. But once we break those chains and move forward, the universe will unfold in a more beautiful way than we could ever imagine.
Now that you have these tips and tools, it’s time to break the chains of the past and keep moving forward. It truly is possible to let go of the past and focus on the here and now as well as your future – it just takes hard work to focus on truly letting go of the past. If you’d like even more tools to change your life for the better, check out our challenge that will help you change your daily routine and put in place powerful, simple habits for the best week (and life) ever. You can also use our app to change your life with small daily shifts every day.
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