By Mick de Boer
Are you trying to move forward from a breakup or losing a loved one? Is a traumatic experience haunting you? It’s not easy to let go of the past and move forward. Relationships, for example, often develop over a long time. And if you spend a lot of time building something, you won’t forget it within days and weeks. There’s simply no button to erase such memories.
Even if that were possible, it’s not a good idea because times of adversity provide life’s most valuable lessons. Yet, clinging to the past or hoping it never happened only causes more suffering. So how can you let go of the past and be happy again?
Rather than make a massive change, seek to make smaller ones instead. Small positive changes feel achievable. If you keep taking small steps toward a better life, you’re more likely to move on from what happened.
So, what types of positive changes can you make? Try these below and double down on the ones that work best for you.
1. Focus On Yourself
Shifting the focus from your past toward yourself is one of the best ways to move forward. But how do you do that? Well, the first step is to ask yourself self-discovery questions like these:
Self-awareness is essential to figuring out where you should focus your attention. The next step is to set a few goals in the area that matters most to you. For example:
• Learn a new skill in the next six months
• Try out a new hobby or sport this week
• Explore a new interest or passion this month
Setting self-improvement goals and sticking with them is a powerful way to let go of the past and move forward.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a technique proven for its many health benefits, like reducing stress. The basic idea of mindfulness is to shift your attention 100% to what you’re doing. You can practice mindfulness at any time while eating, walking, or even when you’re relaxing.
Let’s take, for example, eating an apple. Look at the apple and place your attention on its colors, spots, and shape. Smell its sweet scent and feel its weight in your hands. Explore the flavor each time you take a bite. The idea is simple: focus 100% on the experience, and the moment will bring more calm and happiness.
3. Let Energy Flow
If you’re upset or depressed, you may not feel like doing anything. But when you sit still, energy gets stuck. And that’s a problem. If you want to let go of the past and be happy again, you should start moving more.
Yoga is an excellent exercise to get the energy flowing. Not only does it benefit you physically, but emotionally and spiritually too. That said, the most important thing is finding what you enjoy doing most. That could mean playing a sport or going for a walk in nature. Find what works for you and get moving.
4. Use Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations instill positive emotions and can help you let go of the past. A common mistake is to use affirmations to deny negative feelings. If you’re feeling unhappy, telling yourself, “I’m happy,” isn’t going to cut it. After all, you know that’s not true. Instead, you want to acknowledge your feelings. Then transform them into something more positive. For example:
“I feel alone and hurt by this breakup, but I know I am strong and will overcome this. I will take care of myself first. And I will soon attract the right person to share my life with.”
Once you create an honest yet positive statement like this one, try to affirm it after waking up and before going to bed. That way, you’ll reap the most benefit.
5. Engage in Self-Care
Loving yourself is essential for a good life. And when you feel good, you can spread your love more quickly. Besides, feeling amazing also helps to attract the right people into your life. That’s why self-care is essential to let go of your past and be happy. Focusing on yourself for a bit isn’t selfish; it’s necessary. Here’s how:
• Take a bath
• Get into nature
• Read a book
• Have a movie night
• Take a road trip
• Go to a spa
Find out which ways of relaxing and enjoying yourself work best for you. Then, incorporate it into a daily, weekly, or monthly routine. After all, your self-worth starts and ends with you.
6. Surround Yourself with Uplifting People
The people around you make a massive impact on your life. So, do whatever you can to surround yourself with inspiring people. The opposite is true. If people drag you down, it’s best if you can create distance with them.
I understand that’s not always possible. So if family or close friends drag you down, try to reduce your time around them. Instead, increase the time you spend around those who inspire you.
7. Talk About It
The last positive change is a challenging but important one. Just like physical energy needs to flow, so does its emotional counterpart. Talking about your troubles makes you feel better. Of course, you need to find someone you feel comfortable talking to, such as your partner, a close friend, or a family member.
You may also have the option to seek a mental health professional who is well trained in areas such as relationships and trauma. So, if you feel stuck and think you need help, reach out to a professional.
It’s not always easy to let go of the past. However, the tips above will help you forget history, move forward, and be happy again. So, experiment with each of them. See what works for you.
Make sure not to forget about yourself. Take care of yourself. Rebuild your self-confidence and esteem. Soon, you will shine again. And in the process, you’ve learned valuable skills to let go of your past and move forward, reducing your chances of ever feeling stuck again.
About the Author
Mick is a personal development enthusiast and blogs about it on Insideout Mastery. His mission is to inspire others to achieve lasting success through personal growth. Get access to his best tips and strategies to unleash your full potential.