How To Let Go Of The Past
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One thing that connects us as human beings is our ability to feel pain. Whether that pain is physical or emotional, we all have experiences of being hurt. What separates us though, is how we deal with that pain.
When emotional pain prevents you from healing from a situation, it’s a sign that we aren’t moving forward in a growth-oriented way.
One of the best ways to heal from hurts is to learn lessons from the situation and use those to focus on growth and forward momentum.
It’s a question many of us ask ourselves each time we experience heartache or emotional pain: how do you let go of past hurts and move on?
Holding on to the past can be a conscious decision just like letting go and moving forward can be a conscious decision.
“We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present.” ~Marianne Williamson
I’ve struggled with it.
Letting go, I mean. I’ve struggled with moving on from my past. I’ve struggled with ridding myself of guilt, shame, and grief. I’ve struggled with freeing myself from mistakes, past relationships, and worries about the future.
It’s not that I haven’t tried. Believe me, I’ve tried really hard. I’ve written goodbye letters, mentally cut the energetic cords, and fiercely gone back into the pain to free myself fully from it. I’ve cried my eyes out, talked about it, and brought it to my meditation pillow.
What I’ve tried has helped to some extent, but not completely. So, instead of moving on I’ve felt stuck between my past and my future. You know, like in limbo. And that’s not the place to set up camp; both you and I know that.
It’s frustrating because I’m fully aware of the importance of letting go and moving on. I know that attachment is the reason we suffer. I know that past pain, anger, and resentment holds us back. I know that holding on to the unwanted blocks the wanted from coming in.
Letting go is essential. But, it’s not always easy to apply theory to practice. If you’ve also struggled with it, here’s another approach that has helped me to truly let go and move on.
Why Letting Go is Hard
First of all, everything is energy. Our thoughts and feelings emit a vibration, and what we send out to the world is what we receive back. This isn’t some woo-woo thing—it’s quantum physics.
That means that whatever we give our attention to—wanted or unwanted—grows. If you focus on happiness, joy, and satisfaction, you’ll experience more of that. If you focus on pain, regret, and guilt, you’ll experience more of that.
Just think about it, have you ever tried to rid yourself of stress, only to have found yourself getting more stressed, especially when you knew you shouldn’t stress? Or have you told yourself to stop worrying, only to have found more things to worry about?
Mother Theresa knew about this. She said, “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
An anti-war demonstration focuses on war, which triggers feelings such as frustration, anger, and hopelessness. A pro-peace rally, on the other hand, focuses on peace.
The same goes for letting go. Unless you’re able to truly let it go—meaning that you withdraw your attention completely from it—you’re more likely to focus on the unwanted and thus draw more of that into your life.