How To Let Go Of The Past

Be Free From The Past

Hi everyone,

If something seems to be troubling you from your past, if there is something that you feel as if you just can’t let go of, no matter how hard you try; rather than trying to let go of it, perhaps look at it in a different way…

As human beings, it is our habit to hold on to things. Even as children we like to grasp and hold, and we don’t like it when things are taken away from us. We are the same internally as we are externally - we like to hold on to things. In holding on, there is apparent safety, there is something extra we can use to protect ourselves or make us better equipped to be safe in the future.

Identity

The habit of holding on to painful memories or emotions can be put down to a few different causes. One of them is that it gives us a sense of identity. If I was wronged in the past, or if something happened that I did not like, then that creates a very definite identity, something that feels very solid and real. If I didn’t hold on to this grievance or pain, then what would I be? Would I be nothing? Sometimes unconsciously, if we are honest with ourselves, even dwelling on something we don’t like feels more appealing than being nothing.

Control

It is also about control. If I dwell on something, perhaps this will allow me to change it. If I go over a memory and look at how it could have been different a thousand times over, perhaps it will somehow make things different. Is it possible to no longer wish to control your past?

Safety

Another reason is safety. Unless I hold on to something I don’t like from the past, then maybe it will just happen again. Perhaps I will not learn from it if I let it go. This mentality is like holding slime in an attempt to keep away more slime. We learn from things naturally, and sometimes even incorrectly. What has happened to you in your own past does not necessarily mean it will happen again, but we have a way of looking for patterns in everything, and mapping out apparent paths of action so that we can avoid certain things. Learning just happens if it is necessary, if we are conscious and attentive. Dwelling is just something that we add, sometimes because we are addicted to the pain or discomfort.

Addiction

Ask anyone if they like pain. Most will say no. And yet, there can often be a part of us that is in some way addicted to drama, regret, guilt or anything else. Without it, would you feel dead? Without it, who would you be? Do you really need it, or is it fulfilling a habit that we have picked up from an early age - that dwelling on the past serves a helpful purpose?

These are all good questions to ask yourself lightly, if you feel you are trying to let go of the past, but can’t. The main question is - what does it achieve? Ask the question openly, but deeply. If you ask superficially, you will have superficial results. If you give the question space, it can do its work within you.

Hope that can be useful.

All the best for now, 

Adam

 Letting go of the past is easier when we realise why we were holding on…

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