Letting go of the past can be very difficult, whether it’s someone, bad habits, emotions, relationships or ideas. Every day offers a new opportunity to start over and move on from our past, however, though we might know this and understand it totally, successfully doing it is very difficult in practice. People get stuck in a cycle of sadness and anger, always looking back, while missing out on how good their lives can be if they just learn how to let go of the past. Actually, there are skills that can be learned that can help us learn to forgive, let go and be happy.

How to Let Go of the Past Effectively

While learning to how to let go of the past can be a difficult process, there are some techniques you can use daily to help you learn how to achieve that. It will take time, but by practicing these techniques, you can learn to let go of the past eventually.

Understanding your past

Try looking back at your past as an impartial observer. Learn to understand that you are not your past. Recognize that the people and circumstances of your past created experiences of you, but they did not create you. Learn from those experiences and understand why those experiences and behaviors are repeated to you. This can help you break the cycle of self-destructive behavior.



Our lives are always busy. We spend our days working, doing housework and interacting with people. Meditation allows us to quiet our minds and reflect on our lives. It enables us to eliminate the noise of our lives, so we can reflect on where we are and where we wish to be. Meditation allows for reflection and helps us be tolerant to finally being able to let go of what has hurt us.


Remove the negative people from your life

There are many people in our lives, some we interact with daily while others we only see occasionally. Some of those people can be cynical with negative feelings about their own lives. This negativity can affect us and make us thinking like those negative people. By distancing ourselves from those people, we can step back and see things from a different perspective and start to view things in a more positive light.


Change the needs and goals of your life

A part of growth is that over time, our needs and goals are not the same as they used to be. You must recognize what it is you need now and move away from people or circumstances that no longer fill those needs. Maybe this means changing jobs or ending a relationship.


Stop living in the past

By reliving a past event you are hurting yourself and killing your chances of moving on and living a happy life. Hanging on to emotions related to circumstances that have already happened blinds us and keeps us away from new circumstances. Letting go of those emotions allows you to embrace new chance to move forward to new things and people.


Write down your goals

Take some time to reflect on what it is you want in life. Write down your goals and any actions you are currently taking to achieve those goals. Then write down your beliefs and see how they align with your goals. This allows you to see what you really want and how to take action to achieve the goals that you have set.


Be flexible

Once you have decided what your goals are, don’t expect too much from the outcome. Recognize that not everything will work out the way we want it to. Be flexible in your expectations. Allowing things to play out as they will can eliminate stress and allow you to see other potential opportunities in life.


Help others

When you are stuck brooding on past hurts or worrying about an uncertain future, take a step back and do something for someone else. It can be as simple as holding a door for a stranger or smiling at someone you pass on the street. These simple actions can make us feel better and maybe give you some perspective on your own situation. They also help us refocus on what is important and positive to our own lives.


Let go of fear

One aspect of letting go of the past is fear. We fear losing what we have known and have already been very familiar. We fear an unknown future. We also fear repeating past mistakes. Letting go of this fear will open you up to new possibilities and enable you to learn from your mistakes while letting go of the past.


More ways to help you let go of the past

  • Instead of dwelling on past mistakes, make a list of your accomplishments and add to that list every day. This helps you focus on the positives in your life.

  • Learning a new skill that can help you achieve future goals helps set you on the right track to letting go of your past by showing you more possibilities and opportunities.

  • Stop dwelling on things you cannot control and focus your energy on those aspects of your life that you can control.

  • Visualize how you see yourself as an empowered individual. See the person you were before you got hurt or let down and see yourself as that person again.


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