In this post we are going to look at how to let go of the past and live in the present. The events, situations, and people that enter our lives, all play a part in shaping the person we become. As humans we take both positive and negative experiences from everything that happens to us.
The problem is, most people will focus on the negative events that have hurt us, and continue to let these events effect our lives even years after they have happened. If you allow this to happen, it can drain your mental resources and prevent you from being happy.
Learning how to let go of the past and live in the present is something that will completely transform your life. Let’s take a look at the tips and techniques on how you can achieve this.
Why Holding Onto the Past Is Bad
Holding on to the past can be very damaging and creates boundaries and limitations which prevents you from moving forward in the future. Surprising, even holding on to positive events from the past can have the same limiting effect. Reliving a goal you achieved years ago, as good as it might be, will not progress you any further with current or future goals.
It’s more than fine to be proud of a goal you once achieved, but if it’s all you ever talk about, it shows that you have not let go of the past.
Most people also struggle when it comes to failure. You have to failure at something over and over again before you finally hit success. The trouble is, people will give up after just their first failure. Anybody who is currently successful in the world would not be where they are today had they given up after the first failure.
The key to a happy successful life is yes learn from your memories in the past, but also leave them there where they belong. You will need to fully let go of the previous part of your life to fully enjoy the next stage.
Does The Past Teach Us Lessons?
Our past teaches us some important lessons which shapes us as a person and creates a slightly new version of ourselves after each experience. It will teach us the things to do and the things to avoid, but they will also hold us back if you do not let them go. The reason for this is you will not fully experience anything new if you are stuck in the past.
The problem with this is, if you allow the past to mold your current life, your vision will be that clouded from past events that it will prevent you from seeing or creating new things into your life. If you don’t live in the moment, then you cannot properly plan for the future. If you only rely on your past, then your education becomes very stale, which is why you need to start learning in the present.
How To Let Go Of The Past And Live In The Present
You now know why it is important to let go of the past in order for you to be the best version of yourself, and to live a better happy life. In this section you will learn how you can actually achieve this with some of the best tips you can start using straight away.
#1 Identify your negative emotions
For a lot of people, this is going to feel strange and it may to a while, but you will have to learn how to identify your negative emotions. Try to pinpoint exactly what your feeling as soon as any kind of negative emotion or anxiety kicks in. A good example of this and a very common emotion in life is jealousy.
If jealousy kicks in, be consciously aware of the emotion and acknowledge what you are telling yourself that makes you jealous. Hiding your feelings from yourself is the worst thing you can do, and unfortunately it’s what most people do. You do not need to tell anybody these feelings such as friends or family, as long as you tell yourself, that’s all that counts.
As hard as it may seem, what you have to remember is, you are in control of your own emotions. Don’t ever blame your emotions on someone else. The faster you take responsibility for your own emotions, the quicker you will be able to let go of the past and live in the present.
#2 Let the emotions flow
This was briefly touched upon in the first tip. It’s important that you let the emotions flow and do not try to hide them in anyway. Ignoring your emotions altogether is the worst thing you can do. In order to live a happy leave you will have to be consciously aware of your emotions, and let them all flow.
#3 Don’t let negative thoughts cloud your mind
So far I’ve talked a lot about being aware of your emotions and not trying to hide them in any way. It’s then equally important to not dwell on your emotions for too long. Negative thinking can be very destructive. It kills productivity, distracts you from seeing the positive in life, and prevents you from having a happy life.
As described in the tips above, be aware of the emotions, pinpoint what you are feeling and why you are feeling it, and then steer your mind away from it. Let them flow then let them go!
Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.
#4 Learn from your experience
Identifying your emotions and letting them flow are just part of the solution. Before your let your emotions go and leave them in the past where they belong, identify the the positives that you can take away from the experience. By doing this you will learn more about what makes you both happy and unhappy in life.
#5 Replace the negative experience with a positive one
The best way to completely eliminate a negative experience is to replace it with a positive one. Positive thinking alone is great, but positive actions will take you a lot further. Using jealousy again as an example, instead of being jealous of an ex, get out there yourself and meet new people.
Identify the jealousy, let the emotion flow, let the emotion go by leaving it in the past where it belongs, then go and meet new people. Take the action needed to move on with your life. The way this works is you will create new memories. These new memories will then replace the old negative ones.
#6 Stop being the victim
Having the mindset of a victim plagues your thoughts towards past traumas. This way of thinking leads you to think that everything in life always goes wrong for you. This is far from the truth, we as humans are in control of our own faith!
#7 Don’t wait for an apology
Most people find this one very hard, but you should always forgive and forget. It’s always difficult when you know somebody is in the wrong but they do not apologize, but waiting for that apology is the worst thing you can do. The only thing your doing here is hurting yourself, because your holding on to the past and that negative energy.
You could be waiting years for an apology or it may not ever happen. Imagine what holding on to this negative energy will do for your mind. Don’t let someone else’s mistakes ruin your life, move forward and start living happy.
#8 Expand your view of yourself by loving yourself unconditionally
The way you view yourself is an importing part of letting go of the past and living in the present. Here are some tips of what you need to do to expand the view of yourself.
- Get to know yourself better
- Learn what makes you happy
- Take part in new activities
- Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Getting a better understanding of who you really are and what what you want out of life will make you a happier person. Loving yourself unconditionally is one of the most courageous things you can do. Until you reach this level of love for yourself, you will always have limitations on what you can do or achieve in life.
#9 Practice being more present
There’s no point looking back in the past because you cannot change it so you have nothing to gain. It’s also a good idea to make future goals, but concentrating on the future and feeling anxious about it is a bad idea because it hasn’t happened yet. There’s only one moment you should be living in, and that is the present. Live in the present by being consciously aware of the present.
Focus on yourself and take in everything around you that is happening in the present. Being completely present will eliminate any kind of thoughts of the past or future from being a factor in your life. This may take a lot of practice to be able to do this, but if you take consistent action, it is very possible for anybody to achieve.
Living in the present will allow you to:
- Become a better listener.
- Prevent you from overthinking about everything.
- Eliminate past, negative memories.
- Notice your surroundings and environment which could open up more opportunities.
- Have a calmer happier mind
- Will improve the quality of your sleep as you will not be overthinking or stressing over the past.
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. Buddha
#10 Take responsibility for your own happiness
Your happiness is your own responsibility, you cannot blame unhappiness on anybody else. As soon as you become aware of this responsibility, you will start to find true happiness. True happiness doesn’t depend on other people or any other external conditions, but on on your own attitude.
The way in which you interpret events or situations is controlled by your own emotional state. This is the reason why you get so many different witness stories of the same crime because everybody has a different interpretation of the same event depending upon their emotional state.
#11 Recite happiness and confidence affirmations
Words are very powerful and can change how you feel by repeating positive words on a daily basis. Being consistent and repeating affirmations on a daily basis has been proven to change your thinking patterns by re-programming your subconscious mind.
It was mentioned above in this post about replacing a negative event with a positive one, well affirmations work in a similar way. The positive words and affirmations will replace the negative self talk going on inside your head. Here are five examples of affirmations.
- I have the power to shape my ideal reality
- I create the life I desire with my good feelings
- Everything is always working out well for me
- When I feel happy I manifest more reasons to be happy
- I am willing to be happy now
The best thing to do is to setup a Google Docs for your affirmations. This allows you to access the list from any device no matter where you are. Every time you find new affirmations just keep adding them to the list. Read through them every single morning and every night before you go to sleep.
#12 Practicing Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness exercises are a great way to keep your mind focused on the present moment. The practice involves focusing your thoughts on bodily sensations and breathing. Thoughts will always come into your mind, but when they do just let them float away without any attachment to them.
Mindfulness is very powerful, and one of the keys to success when learning how to let go of the past and live in the present. The best way to learn about mindfulness is to head over to YouTube. Below is a great video talking about mindfulness.
Hope you enjoyed this article and that it has answered all of your questions on at how to let go of the past and live in the present. If you have any thoughts or questions, leave them in the comments below. If there are any topics you would like me to cover, drop me a message and let me know.