To let your past go is hard because you associate yourself with your past more than with your present. But it’s normal because while your life is happening in the present moment, everything you’ve ever lived is archived in your past.
Letting the past go is hard and I’ve been struggling with it for a while now.
It’s fair to say that everything that happened in our past is part of how safe and secure we are right now. If you’ve been fooled before by someone before, you don’t want to be fooled again so you use your past experience in the present moment just to make sure you are safe.
Unfortunately, that’s not all. In order to make sure you don’t repeat the mistakes of your past, you keep the negative emotions from your past with you, in the present moment, and that’s what creates anxiety.
Therefore, you’ll find below 12 reasons that I listed simply because I want to be able to move on and become conscious of the power my past has over me.
But before starting, I’d like to share one secret with you.
I’m sure you had great moments in your past that are now positive memories. You don’t really want to let them go and it’s not recommended. Having this said, instead of just looking at your past from one point of view, make sure you shift your perspective and see your past structured as two different things: your positive past and your negative past.
This way, you’ll have great clarity of what you should keep and what to let go of.
1. Your past doesn’t matter anymore
When I’m thinking about all the previous experiences, I realize that they don’t really matter anymore. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been bad or some people treated me badly. It doesn’t matter if I’ve made mistakes or I failed.
All these things that are negative don’t really matter anymore.
Instead, if you want to hold on to something from your past, hold on to those things that you did well. I ran and finished an ultra-marathon, wrote and published 5 books, helped a lot of people grow, and so on. The good things from my past are helping me understand who I am right now. Knowing who you are is giving you clarity over your identity and that’s crucial when it comes to living a great life.
2. It has zero control over your present actions
While your past is connected to your current actions and can influence them, it has no control over what you are doing in the present moment.
For example, if you got fat in the last year, it’s not your past that is making you keep getting fat but your present actions. What you do today is what makes you keep getting fat.
If you want to have a different perspective over the power your past has over your present actions, think of your past as someone who’s constantly giving you advice. While you can’t control the advice you’re getting, you can always control what you’re doing with the advice you’re getting.
The influence your past has on you is nothing more than simple advice. What you do with it is only up to you. By focusing on your present actions, you will eventually let go of your past.
3. Your past makes you worry more than it makes you happy
Remember the secret I shared with you at the beginning of this article? Your overall past is structured as a negative and positive past.
As long as your negative past is more powerful than your positive past, your general past will always make you feel sad. If you’re struggling to let go of your past, most probably your negative past is more powerful than the positive one.
Therefore, I recommend you to read again the 1st point of this article and try to let go of your negative past.
One way of doing it is to make a list of as many things as you can remember from your past, and then, next to every element on your list, put a P (for positive past) or N (for negative past). Then try to understand that those that are negative are not helping you live your life the way you want to.
4. Your negative past is made of negative emotions and experiences
While this makes a lot of sense, people still hold on to their past and do their best to not let it go.
As soon as you realize that the negative feelings you’re having right now are connected to the negative experiences and emotions you had a while ago, your mind will become empty and it will feel like you are floating.
Your negative past is made of negative emotions and experiences and your present is influenced by your negative past… as long as you let it. And most people let this influence happen. Therefore, you’re living in your negative past instead of in the current moment.
5. Your past is not real anymore
Whatever you’ve been through in your past, it’s not real anymore.
Your past is just an illusion you’re holding on to just because it feels real, but it’s not real anymore. The feeling that you have when you think of your past has more clarity compared to the one you have when you’re thinking of your present. Therefore, it’s absolutely normal to value your past more than you value your present. But it doesn’t make it real.
The more you live your life thinking how good things were a while ago, the more you keep disconnecting yourself from the present moment. Eventually, your life will become an illusion because you’ll be more connected to the past.
6. It’s just bad memories
Your memories are not as trustworthy as you think they are.
Actually, your memories are so delicate that you are rewriting them constantly because it’s absolutely impossible to remember everything the way it was. That’s why, if you describe right now something that happened to you two days ago, and then you’ll describe the same thing two years from now, the way you’ll describe the same event will make you think of two different events.
This applies to both your positive and negative past. You are always rewriting your memories because you want to have control over them. But they’re not entirely real. Therefore, when it comes to the memories from your negative past, not only they’re bad, but they’re also not real.
7. It’s holding you back
I have recently discovered that my past is holding me back when I’m trying to build better relationships with people. I don’t know what part of my past is doing that, but is really annoying.
And because it’s not that clear what things from my past are affecting my current behavior, trying to solve it would be impossible. If I don’t know what to find a solution for, trying to improve it would be crazy. Therefore, the best thing I could do right now is to let go of everything that happened in my past and move on. It’s the best way of moving forward.
8. Your past doesn’t define who you are
While your past can help you have a clear identity in the present moment, it doesn’t define who you are.
Who you are today is not what you did in the past. Yes, you can use the things you did in the past to enhance the person you are today, but it doesn’t define you.
Instead, here’s a list of things that define you:
- Your attitude
- Your patience
- Your compassion
- Your involvement
- Your excitement
For sure, there are a lot more things that define who you are. And guess what? They are all part of the present moment.
9. Your negative past makes you feel unworthy of becoming a better version of yourself
The more your past is made of negative events, the more you’ll feel like your life is built around negative events.
But life is more than just negative and positive. Life is more than black and white. Life is more than ups and downs. Your life – the life that you are currently living – is the most amazing gift you’ve ever gotten and there won’t be anything else better than the life that you are currently living.
As soon as you understand this, your mind becomes open to other things, not just to the possible negative events.
10. It disconnects you from the present moment and connects you to a fake future
As long as you keep fueling yourself with the illusions from your fake past, you are disconnected from the present moment. More than that, the future that you’re hoping to have is going to be fake as well.
If the things that you’re doing right now are driven by something that’s not real (your past), then your future will be as fake as your past.
For example, if you’re trying to build your current relationships with the beliefs you have from your negative past, your future will be as negative as your past.
Let your past go and enjoy the life that you have left to live. Or keep living your past on repeat, every single day, for the rest of your life. It’s up to you.
11. Your negative past is an illusion that only triggers your bad traits
For example, maybe it’s not clear to you right now, but if you’ve been impatient in the past and you didn’t let go of your past, you’ll be impatient in the future.
Let’s assume that you are rushing things out constantly and you never give time to breathe to those around you. That’s not a healthy behavior and as long as you’re doing it, you’ll always have a negative feeling around your relationships.
Even more, as long as you’re not able to let go of all the moments you’ve been impatient in the past, you’ll keep being impatient in the future.
Let your past go and find good traits at yourself that are helping you live your life better.
12. It can’t be changed
The obvious reason to let your past go is that it can’t be changed. Period.
There’s nothing you can do about your past instead of letting your past manifest in the past, not in the present moment.
Let it go and accept your past. That’s the healthy way of approaching it.
With love and optimism,
PS: If you’re struggling with anxiety, here’s a list of articles I wrote recently that will come in handy: