While it’s important to learn from the past, once you’ve learned, it’s good to let it go. Yes, taking from past experiences and relationships can be a great thing, but ultimately, they are in the past for a reason, right? The past doesn’t deserve a place in the present or future. Make sense of it, then forget it and leave that baggage behind.
You might be wondering, “Well, how exactly do I leave the past in the past?” The honest truth is that it can be really hard to do it, but there are a few things you can do to help move the process along.
1. Get Rid Of Reminders
Yes, I’m talking about photos, keepsakes, his old sweatshirt, etc. You don’t need these things. There’s truly no point to hanging on to anything that might even closely remind you of what you once had. If you feel guilty throwing things away, then place it in a box and put it in storage or in the basement of your parents’ house just – somewhere you won’t go looking for it. You can also donate items. Simply hanging onto these things “for the memories” is not a good idea. Rid yourself of this stuff and you’ll immediately feel some of that emotional burden lifting.
2. Push Old Memories Aside
When thoughts of the past pop into your mind (which they will … we are all human), push them aside gently. Don’t get mad at yourself for those thoughts entering your mind. Notice them, accept them, then gently push them away. Don’t let it frustrate you or make you upset. You’re bound to run into a mutual friend or eat at a restaurant you used to eat at with a former flame; it happens. Teach yourself to deal with these situations without dwelling on a past experience or memory. Refocus on the present moment and leave the past where it belongs.
3. Come To Terms With It
Maybe the reason you haven’t yet left the past in the past is because you haven’t gotten closure from a previous breakup. I hate to say it, but sometimes closure is out of your control. Sometimes the person with whom you want closure may not be interested in giving you that, so you have to just accept it. You have to come to terms of it on your own, and provide the closure to yourself. If you’re still clinging onto something from a while back because it didn’t end how you would have preferred it to, it’s never going to truly be in the past. Give yourself time to come to terms and then let it go. If you’re having trouble with this step, consider talking to someone about it; a good therapist will help you make sense of what happened so you can move on with a positive outlook.
Moving on from the past can be hard. It takes time, too, so don’t expect it to happen overnight. But by using these tips, you can get closer to your promising future and leave a disappointing past where it belongs. For now, enjoy the present and give up the rear view mirror (figuratively speaking, of course).
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