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Live In The Now & Set The Past Free

If you are like I once was, you are probably looking for a quick way to get rid of your feelings of hurt and anxiety and improve your happiness.

The easiest way to get rid of this psychic pain is to learn how to let go of the past, especially the pain that specific people or circumstances have caused.

Now, I know what you are thinking: This is easier said than done, right? You are probably telling yourself that this isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Letting go of the past will allow you to live a happier life that is free from negative thoughts. It will allow you to be content with living in the here and now.

Why Holding Onto the Past Is Bad

Holding onto the past is always damaging in some way. Even holding onto positive events from the past creates limitations in people's lives and sets boundaries for the future.

Could you imagine someone who is living a successful life today spending all of their time reliving a goal they failed to meet 10 years ago? No, they likely learned from their failure but then moved on and achieved many other successes.

Let's look at an common example of someone who has a problem letting go.

Have you ever met a retiree who is always talking about their former career? Pretty common, huh? But also sad.

It is fine to be proud of a previous career and want to talk about it. But when it is ALWAYS the topic of conversation, it shows that they have not let go of that part of the past.

Unfortunately, this constant talk of a previous career means that they are not living life in the present. It is hard to enjoy retirement and get on with the next phase of life when they really want to still be working.

You need to let the previous part of your life go to fully enjoy the next stage.

Even innocent statements can sometimes show you are being held back by the past. Let's look at an example of what I mean:

“That dessert I made at Christmas a few years ago was the best I have ever tasted”

Innocent, right? Yes, but this can also be an example of a limiting mindset.

This statement creates a judgment about the dessert that staves off any improvements that could be made in the future. You are stuck on an old recipe being “perfect”. This means no experiments to improve the recipe, and closing your mind to the idea that something better is possible.

While this is an innocent example, if you’re making comments like that about a career or a former relationship, you can be limiting yourself or even setting yourself up for failure in the future.

Holding onto the past prevents you from moving on in life. While it is great to appreciate your past positive experiences and learn from your mistakes, it is best to use that information in the present moment to create your best self.

But doesn't the past teach us lessons?

Our mistakes do teach us important lessons.

Our experiences, good and bad, change us. They make us into slightly new versions of ourselves. They teach us things to do, and things to avoid.

But once the lessons are learned, these teachable moments can begin to hold us back.

You will never be able to fully apply past experiences to present situations. No current situation will ever be identical to something that happened years ago.

For example, if you are trying to apply a negative experience from a past relationship to a current relationship, it will never be exactly the same. Different people are involved, and different circumstances exist.

You may be tempted to use your past experience as an excuse or justification to act in a certain way in your current relationship, but the situations are different and the outcomes will be different as well. You may want to avoid responsibility and blame your past for your current actions (or inactions), but that will not empower you to get out of the victim mindset.

You can accept and embrace the person that you have become due to your past relationships, but those relationships will not be duplicated with new people. You have to move on from old situations and accept your current life as it is. Rather than wasting your energy reliving your past, it is best to focus on improving your future. That means letting go of the past.

Relying fully on past experiences prevents you from experiencing anything new.

Anytime you rely on your past to mold your current life, you limit what you see to things that you have seen before. This makes your past your only source of future creation. You must think of the past as being largely irrelevant in order to experience the present.

You won't be able to properly plan for your future and truly live in the moment if you don't let go of some of your life's history.

Seven Steps to Let Go of the Past (and Negative Emotions)

1. Create an environment to tell the story of your negative emotion in order to satisfy your need to be listened to and understood.

Not feeling like other people really know you can cause you to feel hopeless and even estranged from the rest of humanity. Without being able to have the experience that other people understand you or can relate in some way, you are left feeling empty and discouraged.

Enduring these feelings of isolation can even make your existence feel artificial. Loneliness and depression go hand in hand, which is why feeling alienated can be harmful.

Instead, if you are able to create an environment that will allow other people to relate to your negative emotions or past experiences, you will be able to feel validated and move on.

This may involve finding a support group or a counselor who is willing to listen to you and provide empathy for your experiences. This will help you feel less alone and more supported.

2. Identify your negative emotions and the things you tell yourself that keep you stuck to those emotions.

It takes practice to learn how to notice and identify your negative emotions. When you start to feel a negative emotion such as anxiety, try to pinpoint exactly what you're feeling.

For example, if you feel jealous when you see an ex with a new person, recognize that the emotion is jealousy, and acknowledge the things you are telling yourself to keep you feeling that way.

Don't hide your feelings from yourself. While you might not need to tell everyone around you what you are feeling, you don't need to suppress your feelings completely.

Being able to identify the feeling by putting a name to it is better than pretending it is not there.

Recognize why you feel the way that you do. Think about what happened that got you to this place, and don't blame your emotions on someone else.

For example, your ex likely isn't seeing a new person to get back at you. Your feelings when you see them together come from inside you, and it is best to accept your emotions as being natural.

Acknowledging your emotions can help you move on. This can be an essential step in letting go.

3. Evaluate these emotions and their impact.

What are these emotions doing to you? Are they bringing you happiness or misery? Are they helping you or hurting you?

Using the same example of seeing your ex with someone new, are your feelings of jealousy benefitting you in any way? Is feeling jealous going to change the situation?

Recognize that these negative emotions are likely causing you unnecessary stress that isn't going to affect anyone but you.

Your jealousy will not have an impact on your ex or their new relationship. It will also not impact your future in a positive way.

Take notice of the misery that your negative emotion is making you feel, and reevaluate its position in your life. Let it go!

4. Discover your positive motivation for letting go of negative or painful emotions.

Finding some motivation to let go of your negative feelings will give you a boost to help you move on. Get into good habits and think about your purpose in life to help motivate you to move on.

Offer forgiveness to your ex and to you for any negative circumstances or events that you endured, and consider the positive possibilities for your future to keep you motivated to move on.

5. Take responsibility for your own happiness.

You cannot blame your feelings on someone else. Doing so is allowing someone else to have complete control over you.

People who have sought out and found happiness know quite well that a crucial milestone on the path to happiness is taking personal responsibility. This means not blaming other people for your unhappiness, and figuring out ways to be happy in spite of the past and the previous behaviors of other people.

6. Evaluate your ability and willingness to let go.

Some wounds tend to stand the test of time more than anyone could ever expect. They feel so deep that it seems like there is no way they can be let go. Check your resistance to letting things go.

Look closely. There may be an endless shadow cast by the pain of your past that is clouding your future. It is easy to get stuck in this darkness, but are you willing to let it go and move on?

If not, think about what is stopping you. The power of moving on does not only lie with the nature of events themselves. The power relies on the steps forward that a person is willing to take, and how much effort he or she is willing to put forth to push the emotional rock out of the way.

Letting go involves remembering the circumstance, but reconsidering it from a different and more realistic perspective.

7. Create a new positive experience that will replace the negative one.

Create a change for you by focusing on new positive experiences. While positive thinking is great, positive actions will take you farther. Make a deliberate decision to initiate positive change in your life, and make positive actions that will connect you with your desired outcome.

If you are trying to get over the jealousy of seeing your ex with a new person, get out there and meet new people yourself. Take action to move on with your life. Create new memories to replace the old, and start enjoying your current life.

Once you start to let go of your negative emotions, you can live more in the present moment. The best way to do this is to build specific habits into your daily routine.

-Best Wishes


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