How To Let Go And Move On When You’re Stuck In The Past

You’ve heard it time and time again. Be present, live in the moment, leave the past where it belongs: behind you. However, it’s easier said than done. If you’re finally ready to move on and set down the baggage for good, here’s how to let go so that you can live the life you’re meant to live.

  1. Distance yourself. Constantly being around negative people or situations is bound to take its toll. In order to really let go and move on, you need to create distance between those people and situations. If you can safely get away, do so. It’s not to say you have to move across the country to find peace. Simply hanging out at different spots or avoiding prime times of places will help you not be reminded of what or who hurt you.
  2. Take inventory of your habits. With the loss of a relationship comes heavy feelings to process. And sometimes, those heavy feelings have us diving into habits, and not all of them are good ones. When moving on from the past, it’s more about getting into the right headspace. Constantly rehashing what happened or what could’ve happened if you’ve done something differently gives away your power. You’re revisiting that state of uneasiness on a daily basis instead of focusing on the here and now. When you feel yourself slipping back into those bad habits, change the channel. Focus on a hobby to get your mind off of it.
  3. Know that others don’t define you. The past is often a tricky place to revisit. It’s easy to get caught up in everything that went wrong and more specifically, what the other person (or people) did. Understand, as hard as it is, that’s what done is done. More importantly, you can’t control other people’s actions. Only yours. You can’t live your life always thinking about how someone did you wrong. You can only move forward with the knowledge you have now. Now you know what not to let people do.
  4. Remember they weren’t perfect. Sometimes when we look back on a lost relationship, it’s easy to think they never did anything wrong and it was all on you for what happened. It’s a downward spiral that’s hard to avoid once you get that thought into your head. Stay strong and remember that no one is perfect. Relationships take two people. Both sides will have strengths and weaknesses. Don’t give in to remembering them as a hero because they’re at fault for things too, whether you realize it now or later.
  5. Delete reminders. Old photos, upcoming calendar events, and social media are things you need to look at closely. While it may seem like a good idea to hold onto the good memories you once had, you’re constantly putting yourself in a state of distress. With those good memories come bad ones. It’s best to get rid of it all. Delete those photos and events and unfollow them on social media. Block them if you have to so you don’t see their account anywhere on your feed. You’re not being mean, you’re simply moving on in the way that’s best for you.
  6. Be compassionate with yourself. Letting go and moving on is hard. We all experience loss and grief differently. What’s important is remembering to lead with grace. Give yourself compassion on the days you can’t help but think of the past. Don’t beat yourself up for it. You can’t compare your healing journey to someone else’s. Healing isn’t linear. When it feels hard, think of what you’d say to a friend going through your situation. Say that to yourself.
  7. Engage with real life. Our phones and computers transport us out of reality. We enter a world where anything seems possible and our options are more open than ever when it comes to the dating and professional world. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be when you spend too much time staring at a screen. We’re taken out of the present. We either focus on our future, which lives in our imagination, or we focus on the past, which lives in our memory. The present moment is gone altogether. Engaging with real life keeps things in the present.
  8. Forgive yourself. When life doesn’t go the way we want it to, we blame ourselves. All we can dwell on is how we didn’t do enough to change the outcome. But here’s the thing: it happened for a reason. There was a bigger lesson to be learned. And no matter what might’ve changed, it would’ve ended up the same way. So forgive yourself. You’re human. And part of being human is making mistakes. It’s how growth happens.
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