5 Tips To Let Go Of The Past & Live A Happier Life

Written by Gail Brenner, PhD

The effects of being dragged down by your past are far-reaching: a distorted view of yourself, stressful relationships, squashed dreams, everyday sadness and frustration. And all of it is unnecessary.

You can heal the pain of your past. You can step out into a life of happiness, freedom, and possibility. But time doesn't heal all wounds. It takes making these five smart choices.

You're smart, right? Then don't waste one more second of your precious life fretting about the past.

1. Get fed up with being stuck.

Get very fed up with the tears and depression, the blaming and if-only's. Be really, really tired of carrying this baggage around. Because then you're open to solutions. You're willing to look at yourself.

You're done with the story about how you've been wronged, and you're available for real change from within.

2. Give up being a victim.

If you carry around pain from your past, you've identified yourself as a victim. You believe something was done to you, and if only things had been different, you would have been fine.

Well, here's the truth. What happened, happened. But how you hold it is completely up to you. It's true: suffering is optional. You can choose a mindset of blame and victimhood and continue as you are. Or you can focus on your own peace and happiness.

Don't be concerned about other people — what they did or what you think they deserve. Instead, open your heart to yourself and find the place in you that's never been touched by anything that happened.

3. Don't wait one more minute for an apology.

Believe me when I say you don't need an apology. Why? It puts your well-being in the hands of something you can't control and leaves you waiting — not for an apology, but for happiness.

The only thing you need is to decide that you're going to be at peace. Make this the guiding principle as the moments of your life unfold, and what to do becomes perfectly clear.

4. Get to know how you feed your pain.

Take a look at your inner world and get to know how you feed unhappy stories and painful emotions. Yes, these stories arise in your mind, and the feelings appear. But you can choose to not give them your attention.

When you notice you've been captured by an old story and the feelings that go with it, this is your golden moment. Instead of feeding them, orient your attention to experiences that offer peace, calm, and delight. If you take off your blinders from the past, you will notice them everywhere.

5. Expand your view of yourself.

If you've been holding on to old pain for a long time, it's colored how you see yourself. You're not the limited, broken one you might think you are. Behind the veil of pain, you are way more beautiful than that.

See how this identity has held you back. Then let yourself emerge unveiled — fresh and openhearted.

When you're no longer defined by this story, you'll see that who you are is already whole, never wounded, magnificent beyond measure. Live here, and the pain of the past will be barely a distant memory.

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