How To Let Go Of The Past And Move On

By Kenny Lee | Life

Apr 20

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Life has a way of hinting us when we are doing something wrong, but if we pay no attention to what it is trying to tell us, we will soon find our world crashing down one day and wondered what just happened. As we are humbly brought down to our knees in defeat, our confidence shattered, dreams dashed and we wondered what if we have done things differently.

As we plunged deeper into the state of negativity; regrets, anger, hatred, and disappointment washes over us. We are drawn into denials and blames as our mind weakens. But these do not last, as eventually, we gather our courage and look within, only to find us and our ego is to blame for all that happened.

Does the scenario above sound familiar? It is exactly what happened to me and I believe others are experiencing it as well. We all made mistakes and some grave enough that we are ashamed that we made it, as there is no way to make up for those mistakes.

There are things that once broken cannot be fixed. If you too are going through a similar scenario with me then you may have lived through a past that you are not proud of. You may wish to forget the past and to quickly move on in life. But for you to move on in life, you have to learn how to let go of your past in a manner that you do not carry any emotional baggage with you and you do not fear when your past revisit you again (Oh it sure will).

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Do not be tempted to quickly brush off your past, and just move on in life as if you are a changed person and nothing has happened. Every single event in your life happens for a reason, good or bad. You have to look at your past, your character, attitude and be sincere in accepting every flaw that you showed.

Take a deep look at your actions and speech that may cause the eventual destruction of the life as you know it. Some feelings may resurface again: shame, guilt, regrets. But just let it come and go naturally. As you humbly accept your limitation as a human being.

By fully understanding your mind, thoughts, speech, and action as you once were, then there is only hope that you are aware and do not make the same mistake as you move on to another chapter of your life.

By fully understanding your mind, thoughts, speech, and action as you once were, then there is only hope that you are aware and do not make the same mistake as you move on to another chapter of your life. Know that as you are distancing yourself from your past, your mind has to change, but change does not come easily, especially if some habits have been around for decades.

The mind is the core of our thoughts, speech, behavior, and action. Any changes that do not start with our mind is superficial, and it is only time before you go back to your old pattern of living. It takes much longer time and effort than you think to finally rebuild yourself from your core. It is difficult but not impossible. You can only let go of your past when you do not harbor any negative emotion over it.

As One Door Closes, Another Open

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Moving on is a healing process. Once you have truly accepted and has made peace with all the mistakes that you have done, you will find that you are grateful to a certain degree that you have been foolish enough to be your own downfall. Because of that, you are now able to draw the greatest strength from your past as you vowed to never go back to how you once were.

You may have a tendency to flip to another extreme of your previous characteristic but this is the part that you’ve got to have control and not follow the flow of your emotion. Only strive to change the Negative aspect of your past and enhance the Positive side in you. If you need feedback, talk to your friends and family who have the best of your interest at heart for they will bear the whole truth to you, unpleasant as it is.

The fact is, you cannot just cut off your past, and jumped into the future. Life does not happen that way. But when you know how to let go gracefully of your regrets, guilts, shames, “what-if’s”, disappointment, anger, and other emotional baggage, you are removing any power that your past has on you. As you continue to do so, you will find that eventually, remnants of your past that resurface has no power over you. This is when you know you have truly moved on.

It is also equally important to have the correct expectation of your life as you have moved on from the ashes of your past. Learn well from your past. It is your best teacher. Here’s a good blog on that.

Learning From Your Mistakes

Life does not get easier, but you have grown tougher. The challenges that you will continue experience will relate to your new found strength. Have you made it this far?

About the Author

I am an engineer-turned-writer who once struggle with social anxiety. After overcoming problems inflicted by low self-esteem and the fear of interaction, I realize the need for taking a holistic approach in developing our mind. I'm sharing my experience, remedies, and techniques that interest me in my quest to be a better self.

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(18) comments

Stuart April 20, 2016

Hi Kenny, I totally agree with you. Once you make a mistake, you need to learn from it and then move on. As far as I know, no one can travel in the past, so you can’t go back in time and erase a mistake. Accept the mistake, learn from it and move on, don’t dwell on it.

Reply
    Kenny Lee April 20, 2016

    Stuart,

    Great for you to have such positive thinking. The world needs more people like you.

    Reply
Joon April 20, 2016

If it’s something that I did wrong, sometimes I can be hard on myself, but at the end I can take responsibility for what I’ve done and learn from it and move on.

However, I think one of the most challenging things that i still have not and I’m not sure if I will ever will since my life’s been pretty decent without going back to it…is my past relationship with my family members. As Eric Thomas had to eventually go back and talk to his estranged father despite of his successful life so he can finally face that stuff in his basement. And he was saying despite of how he turned his life around and became successful in his life, something will hold you back if you don’t face that deep issue that is covered up….I don’t know if you have gone through something like this and dealt with it. If you have, I’d like to hear your story.

Reply
    Kenny Lee April 20, 2016

    Hi, I have gone through some life changing event. I’ve seen my marriage got torn apart in a day. I’ve seen my fledgling business collapse. And other events that happened closely to each other. It brought me to the realization that all these are caused by my habits and limited mindset. The process of letting go of the regrets are hard, but in the process of doing it, I’ve also uncovered mental blocks that has been programmed into my subconcious unknowingly. I’ve mentioned some of it here.

    Reply
Anh Nguyen April 20, 2016

When you mentioned the fact that you should not brush off your pasts if nothing happened. I can really relate to that. Truth be told, I don’t feel like a person living in my past but at times, I found myself being dragged down by childhood memories, maybe you can call them traumas.

I really like the methods you gave in this post, they are really inspirational and I will try to apply them. I do have a hard time accepting my flaws, but I guess we all do to an extend.

Thanks for sharing!

Cheers,
Anh

Reply
    Kenny Lee April 20, 2016

    Hi Anh,

    I am glad that you’ve found the first step in facing your past. It can get tricky especially when it came from our childhood as we have limited control of that. I do have a fair share of mental blocks from my younger days and I’ve mentioned it here in one of my previous posts. No one is perfect, but striving for improvement is a lifelong journey.

    Reply
Nnanna April 20, 2016

Hi Kenny, thank you for sharing such lovely thoughts. You’re right in saying that we have to make peace with our past. I quite agree because it is one of the first steps towards emotional healing.

The point on gratitude is also amazing. I’m of the opinion that why many people hurt or remain bitter after breakups or Heartbreaks I because they’ve not reviewed their good, bad and ugly experiences. They’re often stuck with the bad and ugly and refuse to be grateful for the good, which is their ticket to peace.

Well done on a job well done. Keep it up.
Cheers!
Nnanna.

Reply
    Kenny Lee April 20, 2016

    Hi Nnanna,

    Agree with you that people got caught up in their negative experience. When they invest energy in negative emotions, they make them grow and got attached to it. It is a unhealthy position to be in.

    Reply
Dawn April 20, 2016

Hi Kenny,
Very well written you have some very great points in here. What spoke to me was making peace with your past. Its not easy to get rid of what happen in the past. I had to take baby steps to let go of the wrong that I had let happened to me sometime ago. It wasn’t until maybe just last year that I finally let the drama that had happen in my life go. For me I’ve always been able to brush people off and continue on with my life, but I still was dwelling on the things that were done and how they were done. A person can make themselves sick by holding on to the past especially a negative past.

Reply
    Kenny Lee April 20, 2016

    Hi Dawn,

    I can relate with your experience. For me it was taking few step forwards and one step back. But with the right determination, we will eventually push through. Changes happen in small steps. Staying still is scary.

    Reply
Michel April 20, 2016

Interesting post. It is true what you say. A person needs to let go of the past by first confronting their mistakes and dealing with issues before letting them go. This is easier said than done a lot of the time.

But we need to also know that we all make mistakes and bad choices in life, and we need to learn from them in order to grow.

Reply
    Kenny Lee April 20, 2016

    Hi Michel,

    Easier said than done. It was never easy. But definitely possible. Even if we have to take a baby step at a time, then we shall do so.

    Reply
Andrea April 20, 2016

How true! Joel Osteen says, “The reason the windshield is so large and the rearview mirror is so small is because what’s happened in your past is not near as important as what’s in your future.”

Sometimes it’s not easy, but forgiving yourself, as well as others, is just as important to living a healthy life in the moment.

Keep up the positivity Kenny!

Reply
    Kenny Lee April 22, 2016

    Hi Andrea,

    Definitely its not easy, and we just can’t cut off our past just like it has never happened. But we can make a gradual determined move to move on and rebuild. Thanks for reading.

    Reply
Neil July 2, 2016

I gotta tell you, moving on from the past is not an easy task, especially when I had a really rubbish start to 2016 due to several unfortunate circumstances. But nearly 6 months on, things are slowly looking up for me.

The thing is if we let the past dictate our future, it will consume and destroy us. So I agree with you that we must make peace with our past and move on naturally, no matter how long it takes. Time’s a healer as they say!

Thanks for the inspiration..

Neil

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 3, 2016

    Neil,

    Thanks for reading. I know it’s aweful to get stuck in the past, especially if we are trying to move forward into the future. We just have to unshackle and untangle the past one at a time. Sometimes it’s taking 3 step forwards and 1 step back.

    Kenny

    Reply
jessie palaypay March 28, 2017

I like how you help others get to the bottom of whats going on in their life and help them move to a better place.

I was wondering, there are days when I get depressed about the past because there are points where I felt on top during those periods in time and I just miss it, what do you suggest I do to move on from that so I can focus on my future?

Thanks for your help

Jessie

Reply
    Kenny Lee March 28, 2017

    Hi Jessie,

    These days when my mind was pulled back by the past, I do a re-collection of my new set of core values and beliefs. That would ground me in the present.

    You may also like to check out my new post to overcome depression, if it’s not severe. Else, seeking professional help is always the best.

    Hope it helps,

    Cheers,

    Kenny

    Reply
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