20 Steps To Let Go And Release Your Past

Whether you are suffering from emotional pain that comes from heartbreak or tragedy, or physical pain due to various reasons, it can be difficult to let go. 

When you hold on to the pain you are allowing yourself to dwell in the negative emotions which can bring you further down the rabbit hole of despair. Learning to let go of these negative feelings is the only way to set yourself free to truly enjoy the life you have been given.

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20 Tips For Letting Go

If you are struggling with letting go of a hurtful past, these 20 tips may be just what you need.

1| Express Yourself

When you are attempting to let go of painful experiences, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to talk it out. This typically means finding someone you can talk to whether it be a professional or a friend.

Expressing yourself can also mean keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings about the situation. This can help you to slowly let go of the past and move into your future. 

When you take the time to speak the words that you have been dwelling on out loud to someone then you are owning the emotions. When you own these feelings, you are better able to get control of them to start letting go.

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2| Adopt a Positive Mantra

Many experts believe that if you are having a hard time letting go of a painful experience, you may want to adopt a positive mantra. Whatever you choose for yours, make sure that it is something that lifts you up and gives you hope.

Once you have decided on the positive mantra that fits you best, then you can post it in a prominent place where you can see it daily. It is important that you not only post it but also repeat the mantra several times a day.

The best place to start with this method is to begin a search on the internet for various positive mantras that exist. The important thing is to not just grab the first one you like but to adapt it to your own life so that it will be helpful.

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3| Give Yourself Some Space

Many times when an individual experiences something painful such as a broken relationship, it can be difficult to let go and move forward. This is especially true if you have to see the other person regularly.

Keep in mind that during this time, if you truly want to let go of your past, you need to give yourself the space to move forward. This can only happen if you are not around that person during the grieving process.

This could mean that if you work with the person, you may need to change jobs or at least take a vacation. The important thing is to give yourself the space you need to move forward and move past the pain.

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4| Forgive Yourself and Those Who Hurt You

What many people do not understand when they are going through a painful experience is the importance of forgiveness. No matter what the situation is that caused the hurt, you have to be able to forgive yourself and those who hurt you.

Keep in mind that forgiveness does not mean you are going to allow them in your life, it just means that you are ready to let them go. This also does not mean that you have to go to them to let them know that you forgive them. The forgiveness is for you.

Just as important as forgiving the person who wronged you, it is just as important to forgive yourself. In many cases, if you do not take this step, you can end up hurting for years to come.

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5| Develop a Mindfulness Practice

No matter what stage of the grieving process you are in, developing a mindfulness practice is always a great idea. Mindfulness activities help you to take your mind off the hurt and focus within for just a moment.

Mindfulness practice could mean that you begin doing yoga or meditation as a beginning. Whatever you decide to do, you should do this daily so that it becomes a habit that will help you to move forward.

Research shows that taking just a few minutes every day to tune into your body in a way that these activities provide can help you to take control of your life and let go. Once you are in control of your thinking, then you will be able to permit yourself to move on.

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6| Find a Support Group

While talking out your feelings and all of the other helpful tips can be a great help, it can also leave you feeling exhausted and lonely. It is important during this time of healing that you find others that you can get support.

Finding a support group could mean that you find a group at a local church or other organization. In other instances, this could be people who are your friends and family that want nothing more than for you to be okay.

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7| Allow Yourself to Grieve

Just as important as giving yourself space after a hurtful experience, it is essential that you also give yourself time to grieve. Since grief looks different for everyone, it is important to understand that you may not recover from the experience as quickly as others.

If this describes you, then you should understand that there is no set time limit to getting over a hurtful experience. This means that you can take all the time you need to move past and let things go.

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8| Let Yourself Cry

When it comes to grief, there are no set rules and regulations that can help you get over your painful situation any faster. This is because you, like many other people, have to learn what works for you.

Allowing yourself to cry is therapeutic in its own way since it provides you with the outlet to let go of bottled-up emotions. Crying is the body’s most natural way of dealing with grief and other hurtful experiences.

9| Learn Something New

When you are trying to let go of past experiences, one of the best things you can do is learn something new. This is because it can take your mind off the painful memories of the past by focusing on new experiences.

You can explore the many things that you have always wanted to do but never had the opportunity to try. This could include learning a new language, learning a new craft, or even taking a class or two on something you are interested in.

The point is that you should try to immerse yourself in something new so that you can take your mind off the past. Doing this pushes you through your pain and helps you to truly let go.

10| Do Things that Bring You Joy

Most people will agree that when you are attempting to get over something that was painful or that left you feeling unhappy, you need to focus on things that bring you joy. This is because the happiness from doing something you like can go a long way toward replacing the negative feelings.

Sometimes when you are attempting to let go of past experiences, it is difficult to focus on other things that will make you happy. This is mostly because you feel like you should sit in your grief for some time.

However, letting go requires you to find joy and happiness in new ways so that you are not just focusing on the pain. By doing things that bring you joy, you are permitting yourself to move forward with your life.

11| Seek Professional Help

In some instances, especially when you experience tragedy or an extremely hurtful situation, you may need to seek the help of a professional. Keep in mind that reaching out to someone for this help is not a sign of weakness, but instead is an action that shows strength.

Professional counselors or psychologists can help you learn new skills and ways that you can move forward with your life. They are great resources for teaching you about things you can do to let go of past negative feelings.

12| Stop Blaming Others

When you have experienced something tragic or painful, it is easy to blame other people. This is especially true if the situation is a broken relationship and the other person is the one who broke it off.

In this situation, you may be dwelling on the fact that the other person is the one that caused all of the negative feelings and pain. However, you cannot move forward with your life until you stop blaming them and take some of the responsibility on yourself.

This does not mean that you need to focus on beating yourself up, however. It only means that you are taking on some of the responsibility. Doing this can help you to let go of some of the anger you most likely feel towards the other person.

13| Develop a Self-Care Routine

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to focus on taking care of yourself in ways that you may not have in the past. Developing a self-care routine can help you by allowing you to focus on yourself for just a little while.

Although many people think that focusing on yourself is selfish, it can actually be extremely therapeutic. Keep in mind that self-care can include anything that is focused on you for just a bit. 

Some self-care routines include taking the time to exercise, read a book, meditate, get your hair done, eat a healthy meal, and much more. Basically, anything you do for yourself to make yourself feel good is self-care.

14| Cut Yourself Some Slack

When people experience painful situations, it is easy to get into a cycle of blaming yourself and trying to figure out what you could have done differently. This cycle can be detrimental to your self-esteem and prevents you from moving forward.

To get to a point where you can begin to let go, you first need to cut yourself some slack about the situation. This means that instead of staying in the cycle of self-blame, you accept that some things are beyond your control.

15| Give Yourself a Time Limit on Feeling the Grief

Although people are different about how they deal with grief and painful experiences, it is important to set some boundaries. Giving yourself a time limit on feelings and dwelling on the negative emotions is vital.

This does not mean that you have to adhere to what other people say about time limits on getting over certain situations. This concept is more about giving yourself a time limit during a certain day to only dwell on the situation before moving on to your daily routine.

Doing this can help you by still allowing yourself to grieve, but also allows you to get on with your days instead of feeling stuck.

16| Take Time to Laugh Everyday

Whoever said that laughter is the best medicine had the exact right idea when it comes to letting go of past experiences. Laughter sets certain hormones in your body to build the feeling of happiness and joy.

Taking the time to watch a comedy on television or hanging out with friends that will make you laugh is a great way to begin the process of letting go. Laughing every day will build up the hormones over time and can help you to begin to deal with your grief.

17| Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Many times when you are dealing with hurtful experiences, it is difficult to want to try new things or do things outside the box. Stepping out of your comfort zone provides your brain with a much-needed distraction from the pain and sadness you are feeling.

This could mean that you go out and try something new, take up a new hobby, start a new career, or anything else that challenges you. By doing this, you are giving yourself permission to let go of the past while diving into your future.

18| Keep a Journal

Similar to the previous method of expressing yourself, keeping a journal can be helpful to let you air your feelings out. Since journaling is something that you do only for yourself, it allows you to be more honest than if you were talking to someone else.

Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to keep a journal, especially if you are using it to get over something in your life. Taking a few minutes every day to write down your feelings, thoughts, and actions can help you release them and allow you to let them go.

Since there is not a specific method for journaling, many people struggle with wondering what they are supposed to write. The thing is, it is something that is for your eyes only so you can start it however you want.

19| Get Out of Your Head

Another great method of letting go of past experiences is to get out of your head, even for just a little while. Many times when you experience something negative, you tend to dwell on what happened and how you could have prevented it.

This cycle keeps you bound to the grief and pain for much longer than you should or need to. Getting out of your head could mean that you take some time to focus on other activities and aspects of your life.

For example, watching a movie is a great way to give your brain a break from your situation while focusing on someone else. This is also true for other activities such as attending a lecture, meeting up with friends, reading a book, or many other things.

20| Take One Step at a Time

The most important thing to remember when you are going through something is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grieving is a personal experience that only you know how to handle for yourself.

Your well-being needs to ensure that you are not rushing through the process of grief but are taking the time to focus on each step. Taking one step at a time allows you to work through each piece one at a time.

If you are truly going to move past your pain and hurtful experiences, then you have to give yourself the time that is needed to let go. For many people, this means that you go through the grieving process one step at a time until you have successfully let yourself move on.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line when it comes to letting go of past experiences is that there is no specific way to make this happen. Since every person is different, it often takes getting to know yourself much better before you can begin letting go. Once you find your way, however, you will be able to let go of the past and move forward with your life.

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