How to let go: 6 ways to overcoming a painful past
May 21, 2019
“To let go does not mean to get rid of. To let go means to let be. When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.”–Jack Kornfield
We’ve all been hurt either as a child while growing up, as a teen or as an adult. Everyone alive today at one point in their life has experienced some kind of emotional pain. It hurts. no doubt but. What you do with that hurt is probably more important than the hurt itself. some people get “stuck” in this cycle of hurt because they hold on to it way longer than they should – they keep replaying the experience over and over again and the pain keeps coming back as a result of their thought. letting go is one of the hardest things to do but yet one of the best feelings ever when you eventually do.
Holding on to the past can keep us from reaching our goals in life. Whether it’s a grudge against a friend, holding on to memories from a relationship or holding on to a negative experience that replays in our minds, is simply unhealthy for us and truth is, we all do it. But the question is why? One reason is that we mostly, use our past experiences to make an excuse for the present choices we make and to justify our present decisions as well. Some time ago a friend betrayed your trust and ever since then you have vowed never to trust anyone ever again in your life and it is now affecting your relationship with others because of that reason.
But the thing is whether you trust ever again or not, people will still betray trust because that is the world we live in. Holding on to pain and replaying the past over and over again in your mind doesn’t fix or change anything. Wishing things were different doesn’t make it so but only by accepting whatever it is you’re holding on to and let it go. Letting go in this sense is releasing all doubt, worry, and fear about a situation, person or outcome. It’s releasing anything that affects your mood or happiness.
Letting go is a choice to decide that you will no longer allow yourself to dwell on things that are out of your control, and focus on what you can control, instead. Letting go creates space for a fresh start and opening doors of brand new opportunities.
It involves much more than just saying you have let go. It’s an internal process that must happen for you to truly feel better and get on with life in a healthy way.
however, how do you let go of past hurts and move on? Let’s find out…If you find it hard to let go of the past, a bad relationship, grudges, etc., these 6 tips could help:
1. Be in control of your mind
The human mind is the most complex tool and it can either be our greatest asset or worst enemy. Having the power to let things go begins from the mind. Making an intentional choice to no longer let past issues and people who hurt us control our mind is what can break those unending and unhealthy cycle of thoughts, ideas and feelings that goes on inside us.
The reality is your thoughts is not who you are and does not define your value. You are not the sum total of your past experiences. Truth is letting go becomes easy when we learn to detach our thought and feelings from whatever the situation is. The power of letting go involves controlling the meaning you attach to events in your life. Thoughts are nothing more than thoughts. What we decide to do with them is what can either make or break us.
2. Let it all out
I believe everyone has a story perhaps that is tied to one experience or the other, what is your story? Well, your story is what you tell yourself to justify your decisions. For example, you tell yourself that you can’t have a successful relationship because of how you grew up. Your parents argued in front of you all the time and eventually divorced. You then believe this is why you can’t maintain a healthy romantic relationship. You don’t think there is any partner out there that is faithful probably because your ex cheated before.
Some people who end up in violent relationships say things like, my dad always beats up my mother when I was younger –and so it’s a genetic trait. You use this past experience to justify your current life state – even though your current state is actually a choice you make on your own.
But the key to letting go for instance a relationship or any other painful past experience is that you have to come to terms with reality and with what has happened. The first question you should ask yourself is that can what has happened to me be reversed or change? If not the next best thing to do is to find a way to let go and move onto something best for you.
Once you’re able to move on and close old doors, inevitably new doors will open up, better opportunities will arise and, most of all, you’ll have a better story that moves you forward, instead of holding you back. You can start writing your new story today.
3. Practice Acceptance
we all want to know why something ended the way it did or how someone could end up hurting us so badly without having any concern about how it made us felt. The “why” most times is always the issue while we hardly let go. It’s true that terrible things happen, but you cannot change the past – continuous harbouring of the past only affects your emotional state of wellbeing.
We believe that we deserve the right to these answers. We want some to understanding things by all means. The painful truth is, we don’t always get those answers we seek for. Truth is, not everyone will explain why they did something or even apologize when they are at fault. I can say to you convincingly, this is a painful reality that hurts a lot.
Fully accepting things the way they turn out to be instead of wishing it would be different is really the only way you can get past that pain and move on with your life. And this isn’t only about accepting situations. We also have to start accepting people for who they are as well and coming to terms with their true character notwithstanding.
4. You have no control over the actions of others but yourself
While growing up I struggle with this idea a lot – expecting that people should behave in a certain manner I thought of to be the right way. Though I might be right sometimes truth is – it is an impossible mission. And a friend of mine would always say to me “people do not always see things the way you do.” He was right and which I know but it took me a long time to finally come to terms with it. I still struggle with it sometimes but the good part is that I have more control over it than I use to and I remind myself of that every day.
What I am trying to say is that you can’t change another person, because as humans we all see things and behave differently. So don’t waste your time and energy trying. No matter how weird or absurd a person might perceive a thing to be –suck it in! Take my advice – you can’t do anything about it. I tried and didn’t succeed but I learned to change myself instead by deciding on my own course of actions each time.
5. Live in the present
Stop wishing things could be the way they once were. Bring yourself into the present moment. Yesterday is long gone and today is where you are at present. Learn to live in the present – it is all we have. The past either good or bad experience is all in the past and it only takes us back instead of moving us ahead.
Live are full of so many ups and down; sometimes you lose and other times you learn. Learn to let go of such negative circumstances, hurtful people, unrealistic expectations and worries about things far beyond your control. Instead, enjoy every passing day and moment.
6. Forgive others – and yourself
To truly let go and move on, sometimes you have to forgive people who aren’t even sorry or who do not deserve it. Sometimes you have to accept an apology you’ll never receive. That takes so much strength, courage and humility. Though it may seem unfair sometimes, what can help most times is to learn and decide to give excuses for people by forgiving the situation in order to truly forgive them and let go for good.
Having grudges or holding onto resentment about someone or something for years is a terrible state to get stuck in, while the offender perhaps is happily moving on with life. Another thing is that not just forgiving those who hurt us, we also have to heal from the hurt faster andlearn to forgive ourselves from allowing our anger and pains hold us back at all and making a decision to take better choices next time.
Every day, I pray and work to improve on myself
I owe it to myself to be better than the day before regardless of some things not going my way. I take the opportunity of the present am in instead of allowing the past to decide my present state. I choose to let go of the things, people, unrealistic expectations and daunting experiences that reminds me of the past in order to give room for new and greater opportunities. Make your choice today it’s not too late!