Struggling to let go of the past? You’re not alone

A new dawn

Without fail, each morning the sun rises to signal the start of a new day. In the natural world, the division between yesterday and today is clear.

Unfortunately, we as humans have blurred the lines between yesterday and today. For some of us, it’s even worse. We’ve blurred the lines between last month and this month, this year and last year, or even this decade and last.

In an ideal world, what happened yesterday would not impact our mindset today.

This is something I’ve struggled with a lot. I still find myself worrying about things that happened over a decade ago. Where is the sense in that? I cannot change it, it’s out of my control.

However, I cannot simply forget about it, there’s no magic wand to do that. We attach emotion to anything that impacts us in a significant way, especially if it causes us pain or suffering. This is what makes letting go of the past so difficult.

I let the past affect me for over a decade

I recall being teased by a couple of more popular kids in my early teens. Over night, I went from being confident, to being self-conscious and insecure!

For over a decade I allowed my insecurity to negatively impact my decision making, and the feeling of being self-conscious affect my mindset.

When you take a step back and consider that I’ve allowed a couple peoples opinions to impact my life for over a decade, it’s laughable. But, unfortunately, this is something many of us do.

How I let go of the past

There’s no ‘single thing’ I’ve done to let go of the past, it’s been a combination of actions.

Spent time with the right people

Firstly, I started spending less time with people who were materialistic and image conscious. By spending less time with these people, and spending more time with positive people who are committed to growth and progress, I became less worried about my image.

Considered the impact not letting goes was having on my life

Secondly, I sat down with some pen and paper and wrote down how not letting go was, and would continue to, impact my life.

By not letting go, and still feeling ugly and insignificant, I was making bad decisions. For example, I was purchasing expensive branded clothing to try and impress women. This was being done using a credit card, money I didn’t have. I was actually making my life harder, not easier.

I was also trying to be someone I wasn’t to try and attract a woman. The problem with this is the woman becomes attracted to that person, which means to keep her attracted, I had to continue to be someone I’m not. This isn’t sustainable, and eventually I would get found out. Inevitably, she’d leave and it would just compound my feelings of being ugly and insignificant.

In short, not letting go was making me broke, and preventing me getting the right woman.

Revisited the painful experience and became an observer

Instead of trying to ignore the pain caused by the teasing, I made peace with it. For example, I would sit and revisit the moment in my head. More specifically, I would first experience the painful moments looking through the eyes of my younger self. Again, I felt pain and anger.

I then changed my perspective, and starting looking at the situation from outside myself. So, I came out of my own skin and looked down on the situation from high above in the sky as an observer. I immediately felt at peace.

By coming outside of myself and looking down on the situation from far away, it became insignificant.

Learn from the natural world

We could all learn something from nature, and one of them is ‘it’s a new dawn’.

Today is a new day.

Let go of yesterday, and move on!

Life is too short.

This photo was taken beside Derry Lodge in the Cairngorms, Scotland.

If you’ve experienced trouble letting go of the past, share it with the community and we can help you move forward.

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