We have all experienced some type of pain and heartache. You can’t be an adult, or teen, or alive today without feeling some kind of emotional pain on a regular basis. Even those that we admire the most – those who we think have perfect lives experience pain and heartache.
Sometimes the pain and heartache of our past continue to haunt us in the present. So much so that they interfere and consume a good portion of our daily lives. But what you do about the pain and hurt that you are currently feeling is probably more important than anything else.
Would you prefer to get back to living a happier and more meaningful life – the life that you are meant to live? Or would you rather allow your past to suck away any and all enjoyment knowing that no matter what you do, your past cannot be changed?
I will admit that I am guilty of holding on to grudges for far too long. Blaming others for our unhappiness is what most of us resort to because it is simply the easiest option. Somebody wronged us in some way or another, and instead of moving forward, we hold on to that feeling with all of our might.
We want them to apologize. We want them to acknowledge what they did was wrong. We want them to feel the way that we feel when they wronged us in the first place.
But very rarely will they ever even know that what they did created such an impact in your life. So while we allow our past to consume our present, those who wronged us are out there making the most of their lives. It doesn’t seem fair, does it?
How To Make Peace with Your Past
I have a past. You have a past. We all have a past. But our pasts never have to define our present or our future. That is, of course, unless we allow them to.
At any moment in time, you have the power to take back control of your life. Those who have wronged you don’t shouldn’t get to control the life that you lived, so don’t let them. Take back what is yours.
Maybe you were wronged years ago and are still holding on to the past. Maybe you were wronged yesterday and have no idea how you are going to be able to move forward. F
or me, I still hold on to my past from high school. I still feel wronged. But this is where we have to make a choice to either let go or to allow our past to continue to live on. It’s time we all let go of the past and move on because that’s the only way we can reclaim our lives.
5 Ways to Let Go of the Past and Move Forward
1. Decide to let go of the past and move forward.
With every change, you first need to decide if you truly want to let go and move on. Every action first comes from a decision. The pain and heartache of your past aren’t going to go away on its own. You need to commit to overcoming the pain and heartache, to fighting off negative and limiting thoughts as they appear, and to claim what is yours.
Making the conscious decision to let go of the past and move on means that you are accepting the fact that you have a choice to let it go. Everything in life is a choice. Even if we were wronged, we always have the power of perception.
2. Express your pain – in a proper manner.
It isn’t going to do you any good to hold on to that pain. The more that you keep it bottled up inside of you or try to act as it didn’t happen, the more strength you are feeding it. Eventually, we all reach a boiling point. Don’t let yourself get to that point and do something that you may regret.
One way to prevent this is by finding an outlet before you reach that boiling point. Talk with somebody about how you are feeling, write your thoughts down in a notebook, or talk with the person who wronged you in the first place and let them know how you feel. Any decent human being will feel remorse for wronging you, just as long as they know what they did was wrong in the first place.
Plus, it also lifts the baggage that you are feeling. Just by releasing your thoughts, you are able to get them out of your head and lessen the pain that you are feeling.
3. Stop blaming others and acting like a victim.
Why do we enjoy acting like a victim? Because it’s easy and doesn’t require us to take responsibility for where we are currently at in life. As long as we remain a victim of our past, we will always have an excuse for why we aren’t where we want to be in life.
Here’s the thing, as long as we continue to be a victim and hold this mentality, we are never going to overcome our past or make any substantial progress in life.
Know that you have a choice and a role in everything that happens in your life. You can continue to feel bad and let somebody else’s actions stop you from living your life, or you can start to take what is yours and find the happiness that you deserve in life. It all starts with taking responsibility for your own happiness, and not allowing others to live your life for you.
4. Focus on the present – not the past.
It’s not going to do you any good to focus on the past. No matter how wronged you feel, you aren’t going to be able to change what has already happened. Whatever happened is set in stone forever. So now that you know you won’t be able to change it, quit spending your time and energy trying to do so.
Instead of seeing your past experiences as ones in which you have been wronged, ask yourself what you can learn from them. How can you grow from these past experiences? How can they help shape you into a better person? If you feel wronged, recognize what caused that feeling and prevent yourself from doing the same to others. Learn from those who have wronged you and grow into a better person as a result of it.
5. Forgive those who have wronged you.
Forgiveness is the best way to let go of the past and move on with your life. Until you forgive somebody for their wronged actions, you will never be able to truly move forward. You will only have emotions that are holding you back and preventing you from living your best life.
As difficult as it may be, don’t forgive others as a favor to them. Forgive others as a favor to yourself. Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness or a way of saying that you are okay with being treated the way that you were. Forgiveness is about accepting your past for whatever happened and allowing yourself to move on from it so that you can progress and move forward with your life.
I know it’s difficult. Even writing this, I still look back on some of the things that have happened in my past and hold a certain feeling. But this is where we have to recognize that feeling, recognize that it is only holding us back, and do everything that we can to move forward.
Life is about learning and progressing in any way that you possibly can. Good or bad, nobody is ever defined by their past. As difficult as it may be, learn to let go, take back what is yours, and live your best life from here on out. Commit to yourself that you are going to live your best life each and every single day because you deserve nothing less.