Letting Go of the Past | Great Health Guide
Letting Go of the Past

Letting Go of the Past

Written by Dr Suzanne Henwood

Have you ever struggled to put a difficult thought or painful memory into the past?

Have you woken up feeling the pain of the hurt as if it has just happened?

Have you even mourned for something, that in hindsight you realised didn’t even truly exist but instead you are mourning what you had hoped existed?

To let go does not mean to get rid of. 

To let go means to let be”.

Jack Kornfield”

You are not alone. Many people find it hard to move on from painful events. There are many potential reasons for this:

  • We are negatively wired, focusing on negative feelings, especially when they are strong and linked to our memories.

  • We can be more comfortable with what we know (even when it is uncomfortable) than something we are not familiar with.

  • We can hold on to a need for justice.

  • We may hold our hurt at an identity level, so that letting go may mean we don’t know who we are any more.

Here are seven tips to help you let go of past hurts:

1. Recognise the impact of holding on.

Whether it is signs of stress or anxiety, losing sleep, feeling irritated, holding on to hurt and pain can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing. Recognise and express how it is making you feel. Allow yourself to feel that fully. Express the hurt, pain, anger, injustice, disappointment (name the feelings).

2. Make a conscious choice that you are going to let go.

Even if you don’t know how (yet), make a choice that you have held on long enough. That you deserve to feel at peace in yourself and that you do not want to feel this way anymore. Decide to stop any ongoing impact on you.

3. Be kind to yourself.

It can be too easy, if you are a nice person, to look for how you contributed to difficult situations, even blame yourself. While it is healthy to reflect on your own behaviours, taking all the blame is unproductive (especially when you know deep down someone else did something that caused the hurt/pain). If there are valuable learnings, take them on board. If you owe someone an apology, give it genuinely from the heart. And, once you have done that, accept that you cannot control how others respond and accept they may never take the blame or apologise. Be OK with knowing in yourself what occurred and stop waiting for them to change. Stop giving them that power over you.

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4. Feel into your heart and decide what you want moving forwards.

Ensure that this is something in your sphere of influence. Identify the key steps to moving in that direction – starting with the first baby step. Write down the options and make them happen. Consider working on forgiveness, not for the other person, but for yourself, so you are free to move on, staying true to yourself.

5. Create a different story about what happened.

Be conscious about the story you were telling yourself, then adjust it, to consider several other possible interpretations that give a different spin on what happened. Choose a story that supports you to let go of any feeling of any lose ends. This puts you back in the driving seat. Let it be about decisions you are making now and that move you towards the outcome that you truly desire. Write down some key points, or find big, bright, bold pictures to illustrate the new outcomes. Have that visible to review often to keep you focused forwards and know how amazing that will feel. Savour who you are becoming.

6. Be patient with yourself.

Old thinking patterns might return occasionally. Recognise them for what they are and gently remind yourself you have moved on.

7. Have some affirmations.

You can use them to remind yourself of how you are moving on and some simple skills to be able to feel emotions when they arise while not letting them overpower you. Breathing some long sighs out, humming a happy song, rocking gently, giving yourself a warm hug, reminding yourself what you are grateful for, are just some simple strategies you can use in that moment while the feelings come and go.

In Summary:

Neuroplasticity means that we can rewire our brains and choose a different outcome. It just takes a little effort. We need to build that new way of being up to be our new habit. What have you been holding on to? Is it time to let it go?

And if you need support, find a great coach, or therapist (if required) to support you in making the change.  It’s time …

Author of this article:
Dr Suzanne Henwood is the Director and Lead Coach and Trainer of mBraining4Success. She is a Master Trainer and Master Coach of mBIT (Multiple Brain Integration Techniques), An NLP Trainer and Master Practitioner and holds qualifications in Havening, Existential Coaching, Heart Math, Map of Meaning, Refocusing Counselling, ACT, IDT, Polyvagal Informed Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Time Line Therapy. She can be contacted via her website.

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