How to let go of the past: 8 tips for accepting and letting go (2023)

Letting go of the past, including the people who hurt you, can include accepting what you can't control, taking responsibility, and focusing on the lessons. Seeking help is also important.

Most people have at some point wondered how to let go of a hurtful past. It's natural to feel that your current emotional pain is forever connected to what you experienced before. But even if the past caused it, letting go of the pain begins with focusing on today.

How to let go of the past can mean different things to different people. It may also depend on your situation.

You might think letting go means being able to remember events or people without feeling the pain. Maybe you feel like it's about forgetting everything. Or it can mean that you want to move on, even though you haven't forgotten or forgiven yet.

Whatever it means to you, it is possible to let go of what weighs heavily on your heart and mind. You can heal, and these tips can help.

“I am not what happened to me; I am what I want to be."

~Karl Gustav Jung

Sometimes, if you're hurt long enough, you can get used to the emotional pain. Maybe it feels safe and familiar. Perhaps you internalized it as part of your identity. Maybe staying angry with this person is comfortable because you can keep your distance.

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Growing pains can be real. It can be uncomfortable to detach from the things you have been feeling and thinking about for a long time. But healing, joy andpeace of mindcan be on the other side of letting go.

It may not be the case for everyone, but if you're asking yourself, "Why can't I let go?" These questions can help you let go of your past:

  • Are there secondary benefits from focusing on what hurts?
  • Does reflecting on the past keep you from trying new relationships or situations?
  • Do you avoid resolving emotional pain because it would mean facing it first?
  • How would your life be if you left the past in the past?
  • What would happen if you took on a different role in the situation?

Sometimes you have to feel it first to heal. Holding up on your thoughts and emotions can hurt you more in the long run and make it hard to let go, especially if you're constantly thinking about the past and what was damaging you.

ruminationto the same negative thoughtscan influenceYour mood, relationships, and even your ability to be productive and creative.

Try to find ways to express how you feel healthy. Releasing the emotional charge can help youstop brooding.

Consider engaging in activities that provide you with a safe space to let it all out. For example:

  • Journaling with prompts
  • Write a letter to the person who hurt you (sending is optional)
  • Expressing your pain through art or playif you find it difficult to write or speak
  • Find a trusted friend, relative, or therapist to share your experiences and feelings with

Taking responsibility doesn't mean you have to do itblame yourselffor things that happened to you in the past. It's more about recognizing how much energy you're expending remembering things or feeling things that are no longer your presence. It is also the decision to turn your attention elsewhere.

When you hold on to your pain, resentment, or hurtful memories, you relive the painful experience over and over again. That maybehold onin the past, which you can no longer change.

Taking responsibility also means claiming your power and choosing that others will not control how you feel or live your life.

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Maybe in the past you didn't have a say in what hurt you, but now you do have a say. You can choose where to put your mind and heart today.

It is natural and legitimate to think that this is a difficult task. Maybe the pain is so intense you can't help but focus on it, or maybe you have to live with the consequences. But healing is still possible.

considerto consult a psychologistto find out how to develop effective coping mechanisms that can make letting go of the past easier. You deserve it.

Focusing on past events may leave little room in your heart and mind for new experiences, including those that bring you joy.

If you don't let go of the past, you can be more prone to missing out on the good in your life.

Consider these steps to make room for the new and let go of the past:

  • Set personal and professional short-term goals
  • cultivate gratitudeso you can focus on the good
  • assess the quality of your current relationships and choose those that are good for you
  • commit to a new hobby or activity each month
  • Clean and organize your spaces so you don't give away or throw away items that no longer serve you
  • Forge new bonds or try to strengthen casual relationships that have the potential to become great friendships
  • practice mindfulness, so you learn to return to the moment when your mind wanders to the past
  • commit to oneself-care activityevery week
  • Engage in altruistic activitiesthat can improve your mood by helping others
  • identifyPositive leaders and role modelswho lead with empathy and compassion

It's about prioritizing yourselfbe intentionalwith your decisions. This can start with realizing that choosing what's good for you doesn't mean you're being selfish.

Putting yourself first can also mean taking back your strength by putting what hurt you in the past and focusing on healing today. It's about recognizing thatOfObject.


(Video) Jordan Peterson: What to Do If You are Stuck in the Past?

  • go to therapy to find out how to let go of the past and the pain you have experienced
  • set limitswith other people who might want toreliving or discussing the pastif you're not ready
  • Making life choices that make you feel safe, peaceful, or happy, even when others disagree
  • reformulate thoughtsthis can increase your anxiety or sadness to focus on thoughts that make you feel hopeful
  • participation inself-compassionAndSelf-esteem

Prioritizing yourself can also be about finding waysfind forgiveness.

Forgiving yourself and others wasassociatedwith higher psychological well-being, including a higherTolerance to Uncertaintyand a lower propensity to feel anger.

"The wound is where the light enters you."


What have you learned about relationships, love, yourself, and life from your painful past experiences?

Your first response to this question might be to think of the negative aspects you may have learned. It is natural and valid. However, if this is your first reaction, try to stop and consider focusing on some positive lessons. For example:

  • how strong and resilient you are
  • who have appeared for you and have proven that you can rely on them
  • the things you now know you don't want in your life
  • the coping skills you may have developed to face life's challenges
  • the feeling that everything is passing and this too will pass

This is not an exhaustive list and may not necessarily apply to your situation.

The idea is to try to identify any strength, skill, knowledge, or clarity you may have gained from a painful event. Focusing on these lessons can make letting go easier.

(Video) How To Move On, Let Go & Leave Your Past in The Past (Powerful Speech)

One reason you brood over past events might be the need to reconsider past decisions or what could have been.

Focusing on the “what ifs” can cause you to engage in the same inner conversations and scenarios over and over again. But thinking about what happened won't change it.

It may be difficult to accept, but learning to identifyThings over which you have no controlcan help you let go of the past.

The "should have" or "what if" will not change what happened. The "what could" and "what will" can help you move forward and be aware in day-to-day decisions that affect your present and future.

Whether youlive with trauma, suffer from anxiety or another mental disorder, or are dealing with resentment in a relationship, a psychotherapist can help you let go and ease your emotional pain.

Learning how to let go can depend on your specific situation and your understanding of what letting go is all about. But it is possible and healing can be achieved.

(Video) The Unstoppable Power of Letting Go | Jill Sherer Murray | TEDxWilmingtonWomen

Being open about how you're feeling, reclaiming your power, making room for new experiences, and focusing on the lessons are some ways to let go of emotional pain.

If you're having a hard time letting go, consider seeking the help of a psychologist. They can help you explore the possible causes of your challenges and develop coping skills that work for you.


1. How to Get Over The End of a Relationship | Antonio Pascual-Leone | TEDxUniversityofWindsor
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