There are so many quotes about letting go and living in the moment. “Let go for your own peace of mind.” “Forgive others for yourself.” We all know that the stories in our minds of past relationships, past jobs that have gone wrong, past family problems are not healthy to ruminate over. We don’t really need anyone to tell us. We know simply by the way it makes us feel.
But I don’t see a lot on the internet about how to let go of the past. Unless you’re following people like Eckhart Tolle who talks about living in the moment, meditate regularly or are in counseling to deal with past problems, it seems like the “how to” part is missing.
Like most people, I’ve had late nights where I’ve thought about past hurts and have dwelled on situations I felt were unjust. I knew that’s not the person I wanted to be though. I totally knew it wasn’t worth the stress and anxiety I was putting myself through. As a result; I’ve learned my own way to let go. I’m posting this in hopes that it might help someone to let go of even one thing that they’ve been holding onto; one thing they want to let go of if they only knew how.
In Buddhism, when you dwell on past hurts it’s called Double Dukkha. Dukkha is the Sanskrit term for suffering or the pains of life. We all experience dukkha. We experience double dukkha when we dwell or relive those pains. Learning to accept dukkha for what it is then let it go is a main concept in Buddhism which helped me a lot. I listened to darn near every one of these talks and then I listened to them again! You don’t have to be a Buddhist to listen to them. They are talks about how to handle life situations on a practical level. They helped me through some very dark times.
We must have an understanding that life is not fair. It has ups and downs. When something negative happens, you can become bitter over it or you can become better because of it. The choice is yours. You are not stuck. You can learn to grow from situations. A motto I now have is, “there are no problems, only situations from which I can gain a new skill set.”
When you were in school, did you learn from everything that was easy? Of course not. If you knew the answers to everything you wouldn’t have been there. You learned from challenges presented to you. You had to learn a concept or idea, then study it inside and out, memorize it by practicing over and over. You read about it, discussed it, wrote it down or maybe did something hands on to learn. You did whatever you had to do until it clicked. It’s the same way with life’s challenges.
If something has you stumped or “stuck” it’s because you haven’t learned from it yet. You’re dwelling on one aspect and not able to see the whole picture. You have to step back and look at it from a bigger perspective. Use a format if you need to.
- Identify the situation you haven’t been able to let go of
- List the FACTS of the situation or memory
- Then list your emotions regarding the facts separately next to each fact.
- Try to identify in yourself why you have those emotions. What are you defending in yourself? Why do you feel the need to defend? What are you holding onto from your past that makes you feel this way? Try not to focus here on what another person did or said. Focus instead on your own childhood or a traumatic event perhaps, and why you are allowing someone to have control over your mind like this now.
- What advice would you give a friend?
You are more than what happened to you. No matter how tragic and traumatic it was, it was one point in the timeline of your life. If you live to be 85, you will have lived 31,025 days. Whatever happened might have been just one of those days. Even if it’s something that happened over a period of time longer than a day or month or even a year or more, it is still just a small portion of life. That is unless you keep reliving it every day until the day you die.
Whenever you start to ruminate, you must train your mind to stop. The more practice and effort you put into stopping, the less and less you will ruminate. Conversely, the more you allow yourself to ruminate, the harder it will be to end that cycle and the more solidified the problem will be in your mind and the more you’ll end up in a victim role. You can actually start to identify as a victim which has a lot more problems in itself. (If you send “I am a victim” vibes out into the world, you will end up in more of the same scenarios).
So the moment that first thought of the painful incident occurs, STOP and reset your mind by thinking of something positive. It’s done. It’s over. Life is happening now. If you can’t think of anything positive in that moment, try body awareness. Start thinking about your breath going in and out of your nose. Feel the feelings in your toes and work your way up your body. Alternatively, you can start using your senses. Go through each sense in your mind. What can I feel (touch) right now? What do I smell? What can I see? Can I taste anything? What do I hear? Don’t just do this flippantly. Be appreciative of each sense you have for the blessing it is.
Remind yourself that everyone acts according to their own level of understanding and station in life. The person who upset you was only acting from their level of awareness. You were acting from your level of awareness. Sometimes those levels collide. When we know better we do better.
You are not a victim. You are doing whatever it takes to live your best life. Introspective work is difficult and messy and painful. But you’re doing this to get to the root cause of your emotions. You’re doing this so you will never be in that situation again. You are doing this because you are a bad ass warrior who is taking control of your life. And you aren’t going to let your emotions make you their bitch!
Guys, it took me a long time to get over past hurts. I spent too much time dwelling. My life is so much better now that I’ve been able to process emotions. I can feel them then let them go. I don’t stay mad for too long because I remind myself every day that my goal is simply to live my best life. If something doesn’t feel right, I let it go with love. No one deserves the torture of reliving a situation over and over. If you are a dweller or worrier I highly recommend that you do some work on yourself for yourself to get passed that level of awareness. You can totally transcend those lower emotions. Your whole life will change. The way you view everything and everyone changes. It’s not to say you never get upset but you know how to handle it when you do. If you can’t do it on your own a psychologist can help you. (I would have went to one but personally couldn’t afford one at the time so went the long and probably harder way).
You are destined for greatness. You are a divine being of love and light. Remember that only the ego is what’s hanging onto such things. That’s not who you really are.
I sure hope this helps someone. I realize we all have to go through our own journey and come to our own realizations and find our own truth. However, I remember feeling very alone sometimes and wish I had read something like this. I’m not an expert when it comes to mental health but I am a person who has gone through my own metamorphosis. I know what it’s like to feel hurt and sad. I know what it’s like to totally and completely overcome that and feel the peace and love on the other side. I want to tell you that if you clicked on this post because you are going over some past scenario and taking it apart piece by piece while reliving the pain, there is a better way. If I can forgive and let go, so can you.
May you be happy and well.
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