How to let go of the past and move forward

12 Tips for Letting Go of the Past

One thing that connects us as human beings is our ability to feel pain. Whether that pain is physical or emotional, we all have experiences of being hurt. What separates us though, is how we deal with that pain.

Experts have found that when emotional pain prevents you from healing from a situation, it’s a sign that we aren’t moving forward in a growth-oriented way.

One of the best ways to heal from hurts is to learn lessons from the situation and use those to focus on growth and forward momentum. If we get stuck in thinking about what “should have been,” we can become immobilized in painful feelings and memories.

If you’re trying to move forward from a painful experience, but you’re not sure how to get started, here are 12 tips to help you let go.

1. Create a positive mantra to counter the painful thoughts

How you talk to yourself can either move you forward or keep you stuck. Often, having a mantra that you tell yourself in times of emotional pain can help you reframe your thoughts.

For example, says clinical psychologist Carla Manly, PhD, instead of getting stuck in, “I can’t believe this happened to me!” try a positive mantra such as, “I am fortunate to be able to find a new path in life — one that is good for me.”

2. Create physical distance

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say that you should distance yourself from the person or situation that is causing you to be upset.

According to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD, that’s not such a bad idea. “Creating physical or psychological distance between ourselves and the person or situation can help with letting go for the simple reason that we are not having to think about it, process it, or being reminded of it as much,” she explains.

3. Do your own work

Focusing on yourself is important. You have to make the choice to address the hurt that you’ve experienced. When you think about a person who caused you pain, bring yourself back to the present. Then, focus on something that you’re grateful for.

4. Practice mindfulness

The more we can bring our focus to the present moment, says Lisa Olivera, a licensed marriage and family therapist, the less impact our past or future has on us.

“When we start practicing being present, our hurts have less control over us, and we have more freedom to choose how we want to respond to our lives,” she adds.

Online meditation options

Read our review of the best online meditation options to find the right fit for you.

5. Be gentle with yourself

If your first response to not being able to let go of a painful situation is to criticize yourself, it’s time to show yourself some kindness and compassion.

Olivera says this looks like treating ourselves like we would treat a friend, offering ourselves self-compassion, and avoiding comparisons between our journey and those of others.

“Hurt is inevitable, and we may not be able to able to avoid pain; however, we can choose to treat ourselves kindly and lovingly when it comes,” Olivera explains.

6. Allow the negative emotions to flow

If you’re fear of feeling negative emotions is causing you to avoid them, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, Durvasula says that many times, people are afraid of feelings such as grief, anger, disappointment, or sadness.

Rather than feeling them, people just try to shut them out, which can disrupt the process of letting go. “These negative emotions are like riptides,” explains Durvasula. “Let them flow out of you… It may require mental health intervention, but fighting them can leave you stuck,” she adds.

7. Accept that the other person may not apologize

Waiting for an apology from the person who hurt you will slow down the process of letting go. If you’re experiencing hurt and pain, it’s important you take care of your own healing, which may mean accepting that the person who hurt you isn’t going to apologize.

8. Engage in self-care

When we are hurting, it often feels like there is nothing but hurt. Olivera says practicing self-care can look like setting boundaries, saying no, doing the things that bring us joy and comfort, and listening to our own needs first.

“The more we can implement self-care into our daily lives, the more empowered we are. From that space, our hurts don’t feel as overwhelming,” she adds.

9. Surround yourself with people who fill you up

This simple yet powerful tip can help carry you through a lot of hurt.

We can’t do life alone, and we can’t expect ourselves to get through our hurts alone, either, explains Manly. “Allowing ourselves to lean on loved ones and their support is such a wonderful way of not only limiting isolation but of reminding us of the good that is in our lives.”

10. Give yourself permission to talk about it

When you’re dealing with painful feelings or a situation that hurt you, it’s important to give yourself permission to talk about it.

Durvasula says sometimes people can’t let go because they feel they aren’t allowed to talk about it. “This may be because the people around them no longer want to hear about it or [the person is] embarrassed or ashamed to keep talking about it,” she explains.

But talking it out is important. That’s why Durvasula recommends finding a friend or therapist who is patient and accepting as well as willing to be your sounding board.

11. Give yourself permission to forgive

Since waiting for the other person to apologize can stall the process of letting go, you may have to work on your own forgiveness.

Forgiveness is vital to the healing process because it allows you to let go of anger, guilt, shame, sadness, or any other feeling you may be experiencing and move on.

12. Seek professional help

If you’re struggling to let go of a painful experience, you may benefit from talking to a professional. Sometimes it’s difficult to implement these tips on your own, and you need an experienced professional to help guide you through the process.

Online therapy options

Read our review of the best online therapy options to find the right fit for you.

To let go of past hurts, you need to make the conscious decision to take control of the situation. However, this can take time and practice. Be kind to yourself as your practice refocusing how you see the situation, and celebrate the small victories you have.

Top tips on how to let go of the past

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Mind & Meaning

9 tips for moving on from the past – for good Posted by:
Team Tony

Why do we hold on to the past? Why is it so difficult to let go of experiences that have caused us pain and suffering?

Many of us get stuck in the past because of our need for certainty. Certainty is one of the Six Human Needs and is fundamentally about survival. We need to feel certain that we can avoid pain and, ideally, find some comfort in our lives. Letting go of the past also means stepping into the unknown. It means having the courage to let go of what is familiar – even if it’s negative – and being vulnerable enough to embrace and learn from what’s ahead.

The other reason it’s so difficult to learn how to let go of the past has to do with the way we link emotion to information. Consider, for example, a woman who has a feminine core. If her partner does something that causes her emotional pain, she may tend to bring it up over and over again throughout the relationship. Her partner feels like it’s impossible to win because no matter how much he does to amend the situation, she continues to punish him for his previous transgressions.

But there is a very real reason why she can’t figure out how to let go of the past.

Think back to the tragic day of 9/11. Chances are you can probably picture who you were with and what you were doing when you heard about the terrorist attack. Can you say the same for August 11, 2001? Your memory is likely blurry when it comes to those details. Few people can remember what was happening a month before the attacks. This is because we do not retain information that does not have feelings attached to it. 

Information with emotion makes an indelible impression. A person with a highly feminine core will attach emotion to anything that impacts them in a significant way, especially if it causes them pain or suffering – and it makes letting go of the past more difficult for them.

Compare that to someone with a masculine core. A highly masculine person does care and feel things deeply, but masculine energy is about breaking through and letting go while feminine energy is about filling up and gathering. When there is still emotion tied to a memory, moving on from the past becomes increasingly difficult for those who are biologically predisposed to gather.

What is this all costing us? How do we loosen our grip so we can move forward in a healthier, happier way? 

As Tony says, “We’re not experiencing life at all – we’re experiencing our mind. ” Watch the video below and read on to learn how to forget the past and start living a life full of more joy and freedom.

1. Turn letting go of the past into a “must”

The first step is to acknowledge what is holding you back and think about why you must move on. What exactly are you holding on to – a failed relationship? A slight from a friend or family member that you just can’t get over? Do you need to forgive someone – either in person or in your own heart – so that you can let go of anger and step into a more peaceful state?

Once you have identified what’s holding you back, ask yourself: “What are the reasons that I absolutely must move beyond this?” How will your life change when you learn how to move on from the past? How will it change the trajectory of your relationships and help you stay connected with your partner? And how will you feel in this new chapter of your life?

This is one of the most important parts of the process because it will help you stay committed to letting go of the past. Gaining a clear sense of purpose is essential to establishing any goal. Your purpose will serve as your emotional drive when you feel like giving up. You will inevitably face setbacks and challenges, but if you have a strong enough reason and a purpose that drives you, you will stay focused and dedicated.

2. Identify your emotional habits

Identifying your emotional habits is one of the most challenging parts of letting go of the past because it requires deep introspection. How do you live your life? What are your limiting beliefs? Where do you live emotionally?

When you grow accustomed to certain emotions, even negative ones, you don’t notice how they affect you on a daily basis. You don’t realize that you’re stuck in a negative emotional loop – you believe you’re reacting as anyone would to any given situation. But our unique emotional habits can have a profound influence on the way we look at life, the way we act and how good we are at moving on from the past. So why settle for a life where we empower the negative emotions and disempower the positive?

Identifying your emotional habits starts the shift toward a more positive experience. Your emotions are like a muscle: You can train yourself to feel frustrated, sad, stressed or even depressed after a challenging situation arises. Or you can train yourself to feel passionate, joyful and strong, even when something bad happens in your life. When you take charge of your emotions, you can learn how to let go of the past in a way that makes you feel lighter and freer instead of fearful.

When you catch yourself falling into a negative emotional habit, work to cut off the thought and switch gears immediately. The more you condition yourself, the more wired those emotions become and the more you adapt to any situation thrown your way.

3. Condition your mind

The ultimate breakthroughs in life happen by learning strategies, developing an empowering story and ensuring you’re in the right state to move forward. To do this, you must condition your mind every single day.

If you don’t take the time to examine and change your habits, life starts to happen to you instead of for you. No matter how smart you are, how savvy you are or how inspired you are, if you don’t stand guard at the door of your mind, then you give tacit approval to what is disempowering, disenchanting and disillusioning. Instead of focusing on how to let go of the past, you’ll find yourself distracted by thoughts that keep you rooted in negative patterns.

Tell yourself empowering stories instead of limiting ones. Feed your mind with new knowledge and positivity. Surround yourself with people who make you better and put yourself in a peak state. Work on cultivating a thriving garden instead of a dry patch of weeds.

4. Create empowering rituals

Letting go of the past isn’t easy. Empowering rituals can help you cultivate that thriving garden. There’s a reason that the world’s most successful people all establish daily routines that include things like a healthy breakfast, meditation, exercise and learning new things. It’s the small rituals that you do every day that build momentum and lead to massive change.

Practicing gratitude is another habit that can help you live in the moment, instead of in the past. Start a gratitude journal or practice it during your morning meditation. Think about all that you have to be grateful for in your current life. Realize that everything that happened to you in the past is what made you the person you are now: a strong, powerful person who can bounce back from anything. When you love yourself and your life, it’s easier to let go of the past for good.

5. Shift your focus

So much pain in life is caused by thinking you can control the way other people feel and act. We think that our circumstances are the result of some mysterious force, when they are really the result of our own decisions. We have the ability to turn negatives into positives, setbacks into opportunities, failures into lessons. All we need to do is accept that the only thing we control in life is our own actions and decisions – and shift our focus away from other people and events outside our control.

You can’t take back an unhealthy relationship, but you can learn from it. You can’t go back in time and fix a bad childhood, but you can realize that, as Tony says, “Your past does not equal your future.” Every day is a chance to start over. From the minute you wake up, you make choices. Learning how to let go of the past means breaking the pattern and focusing on creating the life you deserve, not dwelling on the one you used to have.


Teach yourself to be present

You must also shift your focus to be mindful of the present. Remember, the present is the only time that matters. The future only exists in your imagination – it isn’t real. The past only exists in your memory – and memories can be tainted with falsehoods. The only thing that is real is what is happening right now. And that’s why there’s nothing more powerful than the human soul rooted in the present moment, free from the past or the future.

You can teach yourself to be present. If you want more joy, more happiness, more fulfillment: Engage with your real life, not your phone screen. Stop giving in to the temptations of technology to transport you out of reality. Bring your attention to this moment right now and take stock of what is beautiful. The biggest key to how to forget the past is to stop living there.

7. Work on personal growth

There’s no better time to work on a personal growth plan than when you want to learn how to move on from the past.  Focusing on learning and improving is not only a distraction from negative thoughts – it’s also empowering. Take this time to figure out what it means to you. Do you want to develop your career? Create the healthy relationship you deserve?

Once you’ve identified the areas you want to work on, pinpoint the obstacles you may face and assemble the tools you need to succeed. As you gather these tools, consider working with a coach during your personal growth journey. 


Surround yourself with positive people

What separates those who achieve their goals from those who don’t? It isn’t time or skills – it’s knowing how to use the law of attraction to get what they want. They know that what you focus on, you feel. The energy you put out into the world is what you get back. And who you surround yourself with is who you become.

Letting go of the past is much more difficult if you are around people who constantly remind you about it. When you put the theory of peer elevation to work in your life and surround yourself with positive people who are committed to growth and progress, you’ll find it much easier to move on. As Tony says, “The quality of a person’s life is most often a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group.”


Give back

Lastly, as you strive to understand how to let go of the past, find something you want to serve that is greater than yourself. Live for your family, for your community, for humanity. Motive does matter, so find motives that go beyond yourself.

No matter how broke you may be or how broken you feel, you have something to share with others – even if it’s something as common as a smile or a listening ear. When you finally realize that the secret to living is giving, your life will improve dramatically and you will be able to see how to move on from the past.

Your life matters – and if you align yourself with the truth that you’re here not just to “get” but to give, then other people will feel your authenticity and open up to you. Giving back reminds you what you’re made for. Focusing on the needs of others has a way of empowering you to do more than you thought possible.

You’ll feel the benefits immediately and you will become grounded in the moment. You become more productive and you find creative solutions to problems. You find strength when you’re exhausted and you’ll learn how to let go of the past and step forward into the future in a more loving, conscious and compassionate way.

For more life-changing coaching and material, go to the Tony Robbins YouTube channel, podcast and Firewalk page.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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90,000 Ways to let go of the past and move on. By holding, you live in the past, by letting go, you open the way to a brilliant future.

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Ways to let go of the past and move on. By holding, you live in the past, by letting go, you open the way to a brilliant future.


20.02.2019 Normal Importance

Ways to let go of the past and move on

Ways to let go of the past and move on
By holding, you live in the past, by letting go, you open the way to a brilliant future.
8 ways to find a promising and completely new future: nine0004

  1. Accept the truth and be grateful. You need to let go with gratitude for the experience, which was accompanied by laughter and tears, which helped you grow and develop. Accept all that you have, that you have ever had, be aware of all the possibilities that lie ahead. The main thing is to find the strength in yourself to accept life changes, trust your intuition, evaluate your achievements. You must understand that any experience is priceless, only after that you can confidently continue your path to success. nine0007
  2. Look at the situation from the other side. Sometimes you have to take a few steps back in order to objectively assess the situation. The best solution is to take a short break and do other work. Why? That way, you can re-evaluate your actions and look at the situation with fresh eyes. In addition, others will also look at you in a new way. Returning to the starting position is always better than continuing in the wrong direction.
  3. Focus only on what really needs to be changed. Of course, not everything in life is subject to change. Live, study, but at the same time do not waste your energy on changing the impossible. Focus only on what really hinders you and does not allow you to move forward. If it does not work out, then change your attitude to the problem. Remember the original moment that made everything go wrong and try to fix the situation in the bud. nine0007
  4. Take control of your own life. Understand that no one is responsible for you. You have to control everything throughout your life. For your failures, you blame your parents, teachers, mentors, the education system, the government, but not yourself. Right? It's not your fault... YOU ARE WRONG! This is entirely your fault, because only you can change, let go of the situation and move on!
  5. Focus on yourself. You are part of this world. You need to help others, but you need to start with yourself. If earlier you were worried about whether you fit into society, whether you correspond to the team and the requirements of others, it's time to focus on yourself. Think about who you are at the moment, what you have achieved, what values ​​\u200b\u200bfollow. Such an assessment will allow you to make positive adjustments to those moments that give you discomfort, after which you will begin to grow and move forward. nine0007
  6. Change your environment. Some people come into our lives to give us invaluable experience, but not to stay with us forever. They become only part of the memories. If you feel discomfort from communicating with people around you, then it's time to change your environment. Discover new acquaintances, attend conferences, communicate online, find a new, interesting, useful social circle.
  7. Don't be afraid to take risks. When problems come your way, it's a test. Its purpose is to test your courage and readiness for change, for risk. The situation is changing, but you should not be afraid to take a step forward. No matter how much you hesitate, the problem will not be solved from this, but only on the contrary will worsen. Life goes in only one direction - forward. In this case, you need to let go of the old to make way for the new. Your destiny awaits your decision! nine0007
  8. Start today! Right now, you must realize that the negative circumstances of the past should not affect the future. Determine for yourself the next step, even if it is small and difficult, but still take it. The main thing you have to do every day is to keep moving forward unceasingly. Do it without looking back. Just forget the past, boldly look ahead and head towards the future.

You can get a psychological support service from a psychologist at the Employment Center. nine0026

Information prepared by professional consultant
MGOBU TsZN, Kirovsk
T.Yu.Lisitskaya, tel.: 8(81531) 5-60-76

When the past doesn't let you move forward

We call it traumas, and for a reason. Certain events do leave us with emotional scars and false beliefs that govern our lives for years without us even noticing. nine0004

Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo believes that this is one of the main tasks of any therapist: to help the client discover their own limiting beliefs and say goodbye to them, once again standing at the helm of their own lives.

The psychologist recalls the story of one of his clients: in his 30s, a man was sure that he was not capable of a long-term relationship. He regularly had affairs with women, but it did not result in anything serious. This happened because everything in his parental family did not develop in the most prosperous way: his father regularly cheated on his mother, and in the end it ended in a rather painful divorce. nine0004

As a result, in the course of work, it turned out that the man simply did not know how to build relationships and how a healthy union should look in general. At the same time, however, he absolutely did not resemble his father in any way - neither in habits, nor in temperament, nor in his outlook on the world.

He was not at all hopeless, he was simply overcome with anxiety. Self-doubt and fear of losing a partner made him desperately jealous of her, which led to conflicts and, in the end, to parting.

In the course of working together, Nimmo's client realized what was happening to him and parted with the harmful belief that he was not made for a serious relationship. Moreover, he learned to treat himself with great compassion, began to recognize his feelings and, accordingly, behave differently with girls. nine0004

So what exactly do you do when you feel like you're stuck in one place - in relationships, career or life in general?

1. Recognize what is going on

Cognitive behavioral therapy is very helpful in this regard: the therapist teaches the client to notice, identify and change false thoughts, beliefs and behavior. As part of this approach, a person learns to take concrete steps aimed at solving a problem.

In a simplified form, the algorithm of actions looks like this:

  • Ask yourself what label you have put on yourself and how it bothers you. Examples of labels: "I'm too shy to speak in public", "I can't do it because I'm afraid of being judged", "I work in a job I hate so my parents can be proud of me", "I'm unattractive - hardly anyone wants to date me”, “I am completely unimaginative, so it’s not even worth taking on creative projects”, “I am too inexperienced for this job, I will not even try to get it.” nine0007
  • Question the limiting belief. Does what you believe correspond to reality? Do you have proof? Are some qualities really "sewn" into you or can they be changed? The situation will definitely not change until the end of your days? And what is the smallest step you can take today to get things off the ground? An important point: be sure to first figure out what exactly you want, otherwise you will go in circles.
  • Do things that help you "rewrite" your label. Take small steps towards what you want to do, what you want to achieve. Do not rush, do not set too ambitious goals, otherwise nothing will come of it. nine0007

2. Make peace with your past

Few people can boast that their past was “perfect” and serenely happy. However, you must firmly say to yourself: I am not obliged to repeat the fate of my relatives and be like them.

Don't derail your life just because you were bullied at school or people were generally mean to you. It is not necessary to forgive others - just make the decision to continue to live by your own rules and go towards your own goal.

Learn more