How To Leave The Past In The Past

How to leave the past in the past.

The hardest part of leaving the past behind us is learning how to let go. Our minds fixate on moments that we can’t change, holding onto the things we’re desperately trying to let go of. We can never move forward if we remain exactly where we are, or fixate on things that we should’ve never held onto in the first place.

Learning how to let go of the past takes time, patience, and commitment. It takes time for the transition, patience for who you’re becoming in the process, and the commitment of learning how to let go. Leaving the past behind us is crucial to our well-being, to be fully present in the current moment.

You can’t go back and change what’s already happened, which can be the hardest part of letting go. Sometimes, no matter how deep we try to bury something, it’ll eventually resurface. But looking inward, and digging to the root of the problem, can help you understand why you’ve been holding onto the past for so long. While each journey is different, here’s how to leave the past in the past so you can start living a happy and fulfilling life:

Be Honest With Yourself

Be honest with yourself why you might be stuck on holding onto the past. To start learning how to let go of the past, dig deep and ask yourself the hard questions to help explain why you feel the way you do, such as:

  • Am I refusing to let go because of shame or fear in certain decisions or choices I made?
  • Is there something I’m fixated on that I’m not willing to let go of?
  • Am I afraid of what I’m losing and what’s to come?

There’s always a reason why we’re holding onto the past, even if we can’t see it right away. I’ve held onto the past for too long before, convincing myself that I didn’t deserve to let it go. There was so much within myself that I didn’t want to confront and deal with. Letting go of the past can come with the feelings of not knowing how to forgive yourself. But know that once you’re honest about how you feel, grace and forgiveness can always be woven together, which helps the process of starting to let go.

Never be afraid to be honest with yourself why you might feel the way you do. Discover why you have an attachment to the past, even if it requires digging into memories you tried to bury. When you learn how to be real and honest with yourself, you’ll find that exposing those vulnerabilities will open closed doors and answer the question of why you’ve been feeling the way you have. Finding the courage to be honest with yourself can enable your strength, helping you discover what the reasoning is, so you can learn how to release the past.

Feel What You Need To Feel & Let It Go 

Situations and experiences change us. They tear us open, altering the way we think and feel, and shift our perspective moving forward. It’s okay to let the pains of the past soak in and briefly consume you, while you’re learning how to let it go. But never hold onto it longer than you need to. 

We become so consumed with the past because we try to bury it in faraway places. We think that if it’s out of sight and out of mind, then we won’t have to deal with the hard consequences that come with learning how to let it all go. But taking the steps to learn how you can let go of the past, includes recognizing that you did the best you could with what you had. 

Immerse and allow yourself to feel everything you need to feel. Cry it out, talk it out, exercise it out, sleep it out—do any and everything that you need to do so that you won’t carry it longer than you have to. The longer you hold onto the feelings of the past and what you’re trying to let go of, the more it’ll consume you. Releasing your feelings will provide clarity on what you couldn’t understand before.

Learning how to let go becomes difficult when your mind fixates on replaying the past over and over. Once you’re able to let go of the past, it won’t be the biggest part of you anymore. You won’t forget what happened because the past is a part of who you are, but it won’t consume you like it once did. You can’t change the past, but you can change how you choose to handle it moving forward. So that you can be fully present where you’re at. Feel what you need to feel, and let it go.

Focus On The Lessons The Past Taught You

Instead of only focusing on the negative aspects, or remaining stuck replaying the same situations over and over, focus on what the past taught you. If we’re able to look at the inside of a situation, we realize more about what it brought us, rather than what we lost in the process. Reflect on questions to help you understand, including asking yourself:

  • If it was a mistake you made, how can you learn from it to prevent it from happening in the future?
  • What do you know now, that you didn’t know before?
  • How have you noticed your strength has changed and increased in the times you needed it?

Instead of focusing on what a situation took away from you, focus on everything that it taught and brought you. I used to fear letting go of the things that I didn’t want to confront and deal with. I held on too tight, because I didn’t want to accept things as they were. The past is hard for us to let go of when our minds focus on everything we’re trying to forget. Instead of feeling fear for letting go, be thankful for everything the lessons taught you. You wouldn’t be who you are without them.

If we’re able to dig deep, we’ll find there’s a purpose attached to everything we face. Focus on the lessons the past brought you, rather than remaining stuck in the same continuous cycle.

Be Present Where You Are 

It’s hard to live in the present when we’re so focused on the past. To live a happy and fulfilling life, it’s important to be present in the current moment. Our minds fixate on the moments in the past because we’re not ready to deal with the present. I always found myself fixating on moments that I couldn’t turn back the clock and change. We can’t change the past or dictate how the future goes, all we can do is live the moment we’re in.

Digging into our deepest memories and learning how to be honest with ourselves exposes the most vulnerable parts of us. Appreciating everything as it comes, and not fixating on what ‘could’ve’ or ‘should’ve’ been. I realized that I was struggling to be present where I was, while learning how to let go of: the memories, places, people, and the feelings of everything I didn’t want to lose. I focused on everything I was losing rather than what I was gaining in return. Throughout this process you might lose people you never imagined losing, but in turn, you’re always given exactly who you need at the time you need them. 

Sometimes we don’t realize how often we’re living in the past until we take a moment to realize why we feel the way we do. Holding onto the past and the things you’re meant to let go of can make you feel like an entirely different person. There’s more self-fulfillment and happiness when you let go of the things that aren’t meant to consume you.

Letting go of the past doesn’t erase what happened. It helps clear your perspective, allowing you to learn how to let go of what you can’t change. Lean into your pain, not away from it, so you can feel and release it. You can never change the past, but you can always choose how you’ll continue walking forward.  

Leave a Comment


  1. 2.21.24

    Yeah, I think most people play coy when they have trauma and simply pretend it wasn’t happening, and they get difficulties and stock to go forward. Or happily, forward, let’s say. I think, for example, when you are in heartbreak, the best is to just get a weekend’s worth of heartbreak movies and ice cream and cry a whole lot, and this helps to fast forward all that lingering pain. Feel it! it’s good to feel it!

    • 2.21.24

      So true!! Just taking that time to acknowledge and process our feelings can start the healing process, no matter how long it takes. & yes, sometimes that’s just what we need to let it all out!

  2. 2.21.24

    Good tips for letting go of the past. I harbor unforgiveness at times. I’m learning to let go. It’s not worth it!

    • 2.21.24

      Thank you! Ironically my next topic, haha! It can be so hard learning how to forgive but once we realize that it has more to do with peace for ourselves, it becomes easier taking that step towards forgiveness and healing ❤️

  3. 2.21.24

    Thank you for sharing. Learning to let go is a long process with so many emotions and grief to process.

    • 2.21.24

      Absolutely agree with you! The journey to healing and growth after learning how to let go of the past is anything but easy, but always worth it!

  4. 2.21.24
    Angelia said:

    This is a helpful post. Thank you for sharing.

  5. 2.21.24
    Sheenia said:

    Great post. Letting go of the past can be challenging, but it’s so necessary for our healing and happiness. Love this!

    • 2.21.24

      Thank you so much! Yes it can be, something I personally struggled with for a long time. But once I learned how to not let the past consume me anymore, I felt so much better mentally. It can make all the difference!

  6. 2.22.24
    Hari said:

    Leaving the past and focusing on the present provides more inner peace for ourselves in my opinion. Awesome read!

    • 2.22.24

      So true! It’s hard to be completely happy & content with where we’re at until we can learn how to let go of the past. Thank you so much!

  7. 2.22.24
    Amanda said:

    I love your blog and this post is so beautiful. I struggle to let go so much. Thanks for this.

    • 2.23.24

      Aw thank you, that means a lot! Letting go can be one of the hardest things that we learn how to do. But know that even the smallest steps forward can make all the difference. Wishing you all the strength, I hope it gets easier for you with time ❤️