We are conditioned to carry the burden of our past into our present, but to live fully in the now and future, we must learn to let go
You know you need to move on from a negative experience, like a breakup or the loss of a family member. But you can’t seem to let go of thoughts about that event that swirl around in your head.
Yes, you can let go.
For your mental health or just so you can enjoy life again, you have to. You have to let go of the person, your way of thinking that is holding you back, and your negative perceptions of yourself. It all needs to go and you need to start fresh, but how can you do that?
Change Your Mindset
We all have old thought patterns, things that just don’t serve us anymore, and to move on, to make room for our future selves, we need to let those things go. But it’s hard. To let go is to leave behind our sense of self; things that make us who we are. But to have room for new experiences and to blossom, we have to.
Look at letting go as holding a glass of water. If we hold on to the glass for just a short time, it is light and easy to grip. If we continue holding it for an hour, it starts feeling heavy and our arm starts to ache. If we hold it for a day, our arm throbs unbearably and begin to feel numb and paralyzed. Eventually, we are forced to drop the glass. The weight of the glass remains the same, but the longer we hold it, the heftier it feels. Our thoughts, anxieties, and disappointments are like that. The longer we grip them, the harder it becomes until we have to eventually let them go.
One thing that many people struggle with is how to have a healthier relationship with food. Is it your habit, when you feel the pangs of stress, to reach for the salty pretzels or that sweet brownie? It’s time to develop healthier habits and come up with better coping techniques. Instead of raiding the fridge, talk with friends or maybe even join a support group.
When changing your mindset or making any changes in your life such as establishing an exercise routine, it may help to remember the 3 Big Rocks of Health. To succeed, you need to remain consistent, put forth the effort, and be willing to adapt. No change is easy nor can it be accomplished overnight, but if you remain steadfast and work on it a little each day, it will get done.
Strengthen Your Relationships
Yes, our feelings matter, but we shouldn’t allow them to dominate everything else. We shouldn’t allow other people to control our feelings; we need to be responsible for our own happiness.
It is also not true that you are no good at relationships, and by thinking that, you’re putting limits on who you are. We need to recognize some of these limiting beliefs. By seeing them for what they are, they will lose their power over us:
- If someone seems to be performing better than you, that does not mean you are less than they, and you need to play catch-up. Instill in yourself a feeling of self-worth that has little to do with what you achieve.
- If a person does not give back to you what you give to them, it does not mean they do not respect you. Learn to give of yourself without expecting anything in return.
- Do not assume that people do what they do because they are selfish or wish to hurt you. You’ll never know another’s intentions, but they’re probably not bad. Stop judging others and assume they are inherently good.
- People are not always going to meet your expectations, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t care or are trying to hurt you. They are only human. Instead of focusing on what they’re doing wrong, see what they’re doing that’s right.
- Do not stay angry over past wrongs. By doing so, you show no compassion and force others to pay for their mistakes. Forgiving someone shows that you can accept their humanity and grow as a person.
By doing these things, you can let your guard down around other people and be there for them, as you would like them there for you.
Focus on the Here and Now
You can’t change the past, no matter how much you think about or brood over it. In Life, the Truth, and Being Free, Steve Maraboli puts it simply, “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
Roy Bennett said it best: “If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.” Here are some things that you can do, now that will put you in the present and allow you to heal more quickly.
- Exercise or do yoga
- Bring out your creative side through painting or blogging
- Volunteer to help the less fortunate
- Journal about what’s troubling you
- Meditate or pray
- Make a list of your accomplishments
- Go for a nature walk, get a massage, or read a book. Make some “me” time.
It’s easy to get stuck in the past and have difficulty moving forward, but it is something you must do before the cup becomes too hard to bear. Work on changing your mindset, altering limiting thoughts that are holding you back, and moving forward in the present. Your entire sense of well-being depends on it, and it will allow you to live the future that you deserve.
You may also enjoy reading 6 Steps to Creating Your Future, by Michael Annese