How to let go of the past

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.

We all have our moments where the past suddenly reappears in our life and we get all the old emotions and thoughts back like it was yesterday. I have experienced a lot of times where I got confronted with past hurt in human form. Naturally I have always been a forgiving spirit who’s arms are always open to welcome back people with a hug.

Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future.

Swami Sivananda
 Yes some of them may have hurt me, but I always feel like there is a part of my own action that enables myself to get hurt in the first place. Blaming others doesn’t help me to heal, it only makes me a victim and that is one thing I have never wanted to be. So forgiving and accepting my past was not something I needed to work on actively. Letting go of it was my biggest challenge.

 Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Buddha

Because I have been identifying myself with my past for a long time, and I am now at a point in my life where I need to reinvent myself and therefore my way of viewing myself. I am more than my past. I am me right now in this moment. I can be who ever I chose to be right now. This all sounds great but how do I forget everything and just start all over? You might ask yourself, and so have I. This is why I have created a view tips and tricks to let go of the past:

  1. Stop talking about yourself in the past tense. This is something I did subconsciously but a lot. I would state how I was using examples from the past. Things like ”I always do this. It started (five years ago) and ever since I do it like that.” By doing so I had created an image for myself of who I was and that image got me stuck. When I let go of this behavior and just started to talk about myself in the present tense, I learned new characteristics and gave myself the space to grow. By changing the way I talked about myself I started letting go of the past.
  2. Stop letting the past influence the present. Forgiving is one thing, but that does not mean you need re-enact the past all over again! I have made this mistake a few times before I came to this conclusion. There is a big difference between accepting how things went and following the same path knowing darn well where it leads to. DON’T DO IT! Just forgive, accept, and let the past be the past. You are in the present now where the situation is a lot different and you should keep it that way.
  3. Create a vision. When you are unhappy with the choices you have made in the past and you want a different outcome in the future, you need to change the way you think! The most easy way to do so is by creating a vision for yourself. I believe that positive encouragement works miracles, instead of negative criticism where you only beat yourself down, and this is a great way to get yourself motivated and inspired. Think about what kind of person you want to be and where you want to go in life. This will help you letting go of the past and focus on a better future all together.
  4. Believe in yourself. Most of the time we are our own biggest enemy. I used to sabotage and destroy my own chances of happiness, because I simply did not like myself enough to go get it. I did not encourage myself nor did I believe in myself. If you feel like you have been stuck in a negative situation, one way of letting go of that past is to start believing in yourself. I did not let go of my past because I did not believe I deserved any better. Self love is one way to start believing in yourself and therefore letting go of the past and reaching forth to a brighter future.
  5. Focus on the now. You only get affected something that has already happened if you are not really busy enjoying the moment. Focusing on the now will leave you so concentrated by the present moment that you can not be distracted by the past any longer. The only time we have is now so make sure it is a beautiful one! It would be such a shame to see this moment destroyed by something like the past. It is already behind you and you can not change it anymore. What you can change is this very moment! So by letting go of the past you free yourself and give yourself room to just be you.

In my past article 10 Steps to Change I wrote some tips & tricks in how to change behaviors. Make sure to check it out! And remember,  you can always decide for yourself that you want things differently. So let go of the past that holds you hostage and fly towards the future!

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Surya Tanya