From my experience and from talking to people I work with, it’s clear how many of us find it hard to let go of the past. Our memories become our world, they keep us stuck, constantly going back to what if’s. Learning to let go of the past is an important part of moving forward in life. That doesn’t mean we don’t ever think of the past, or that we pretend something never happened. It simply means we don’t live in the past.
You maybe thinking but how? How do I let go of the past?
If you keep clinging to the past it will continue to cause you pain. So for your own sake it’s time to make a real effort to let go of the past, it really is only alive while you keep it alive.
Change How You Relate to the Past
See it for what it really was
You can make a difference to your life by changing how you relate to your past. If you start to be objective, without the added dramas, emotions and often unrealistic stories you tell, then your connection to the past starts to change too.
What you start to do is to be real, to not romanticise what was probably not so romantic. It takes courage to strip away the stories you have been telling yourself and start to see it for what it really was. You may have to accept the things you put up with and made excuses for just to keep everything together.
But it’s time to get real, see it for what it was. Then you can start to change how you relate to your past.
Let things be – If you can’t change it why waste time?
The truth is that it’s difficult to let go of the past, it is part of your life. All you really can do is begin to accept it and leave it be. You don’t have to live in the past, you can recognise when you get lost in the past and make sure you guide yourself back into the present.
In meditation we practice being the observer of our thoughts and as such we learn to just watch our thoughts pass by. That is a skill that takes time to learn, watching your thoughts, catching yourself when you get involved and moving your focus away from these thoughts. The more you practice, the easier it gets.
You don’t have to practice whilst sitting in meditation, you can practice during your day. When you notice that you have got lost in thoughts of the past, then stop for a few minutes. Catch yourself, adjust your thinking, bring yourself into the present and carry on with your day.
Learn to watch your thoughts, not be your thoughts.
For more on Letting go of the past, read the following post: