Everyone has pain from the past. It might be a failure in school, a cruel comment from a parent, or a failed relationship. Letting go of the past can be challenging, but it is necessary. Those that cling to the past are forever at its mercy.

A peaceful and meaningful life is easier if you can leave the past in the past.

Create Your Peaceful and Meaningful Life

Here are some strategies to help you leave your past behind you and get on with the business of living:

 

1. Remember: your past only exists within you.

Everything happens in the present, therefore the solution to your challenges is in the present. Everything you can control is happening right now. The past only exists because you allow it to.

2. Avoid ruminating over the past.

What do you think you accomplish by replaying negative events in your head? Do you think something positive will happen the 500th time that did not happen the previous 499?

  • Rumination is an activity with negative consequences. It ruins your mood and leads to more rumination. Reliving negative events can lead to shame, depression, and anxiety.

3. Accept the past.

You cannot change it and it has already happened. You do not have a lot of choices here. Stuff happens. Sometimes life sucks. Focus your attention on the present.

4. Forgive everyone that wronged you.

Forgiving them does not mean you have to let them back into your life. It does mean that you are ready to focus on something else in your life. When you forgive, you give yourself the emotional freedom to not feel bad about the incident anymore.

  • You might need to forgive yourself, too. We all make mistakes, so give yourself a break. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

5. Treat yourself well.

Ensure that you are eating well, getting enough sleep, and spending time with people you enjoy. What hobbies would you like to explore? Make yourself a priority. You are worth it.

6. Realize that you did the best you could.

For that matter, everyone in your past did the best they could. Our best is not always great at each moment in time. Everyone is doing the best they can. Believe that and you are free.

7. Make exciting plans.

Give yourself something to look forward to. What do you want to do and accomplish in the next 5 or 10 years? What do you want to accomplish next month?

8. Do something fun.

One way to overcome negative memories is to create some new ones. Do something fun with people you enjoy. Focus on making new memories to help you let go of the old.

9. Control what you can.

Much of the reason for reliving the past comes from wanting to control the uncontrollable. Rather than longing to do the impossible, focus on what you can control. Control what you can control and let go of the rest.

10. Realize the control you are giving to your past.

When we relive past pain, we develop defense mechanisms to protect us from future pain. The pain from the past creates fear. That fear of the past creates fear of the future. The key to a peaceful future is releasing yourself from the past.

How much is your past affecting your present and future? Will you allow this to continue?

Everyone’s past is checkered with failure and uncomfortable memories. You can choose to allow the past to define and limit you, or you can choose to leave it behind.

Learn from your past and then move on. Forgive everyone and yourself. There is plenty of life left to be lived!!

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