Everyone, no matter how happy they may seem, has regrets and struggles in their past. Whether it’s residual trauma or unprocessed grief from losing a loved one, one of life’s biggest hurdles is letting go of the past and letting ourselves move on. In this post, we’ll talk about how to let go of the past and move forward – whether that’s through grief processing, therapy, or other means.
Let Go of the Idea That You’re Always the Hero
Past hurts hurt not just our hearts. They also hurt our ego. If you’ve been victimized or traumatized in the past, it can be extremely hard to come to terms with your own vulnerability. Remember, you don’t have to be indestructible to deserve joy and healing.
Be Gentle With Yourself
For many of us, our first response to dealing with past hurts is to beat ourselves up for not being “over it” quickly enough. While this knee-jerk reaction can be hard to shake, remember that everyone processes the past differently. Letting go is often a form of grieving, and grief is never linear. Let yourself feel your feelings on the timeline that works for you. If things seem to be progressing slower than you’d like, give yourself permission to take the time you need.
If a specific person is the cause of your pain, consider reevaluating that relationship. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to move across the country or cut off all ties with the person (though that may be exactly what you need, depending on the nature of the past hurts you’re dealing with). If you’ve tried to come to terms with a past experience and seeing that person continually reopens that wound, look for ways you can adjust that relationship to keep your mental health intact. Sometimes that’s physical distance. Sometimes it’s simply communicating a need for emotional space.
If creating space between someone you care about sounds distressing, remember that it doesn’t have to be permanent. Sometimes you just need enough space to heal. Let yourself have that.
See a Therapist or Life Coach
If you feel like you’re doing everything you can and still feel haunted by past experiences, consider seeing a therapist or life coach. A trained professional will have the skill set and tools to help guide you through your maze of emotions and help put you on the right track to recovery and finding joy again.
While some people still feel the stigma of seeking help, remember that life is a team sport – no one completes their journey on Earth alone. Just like we rely on doctors to help heal physical wounds, there’s no shame in asking for professional help to heal mental and emotional wounds,
“What ifs” from the past can be one of the most challenging parts of life to come to terms with. But if you use your support systems and take the time you need to find perspective, there’s hope. You can find joy again!