It is hard to let go of the past because you have experienced it. It has already happened. In retrospect, when you assess the situation you had been in, you wonder if you could have done something to change that situation.
It is hard for you to accept that your past is out of your control and this prohibits you from living your life in the present.
Because certain situations and people in your past have affected you so negatively, it has become really difficult for you to believe that you are more than your mistakes.
It is certainly not easy to accept the mistakes that you made, as there is always the regret of not knowing better. But the fact is, you know better now and you are moving ahead in your life.
Don’t waste your time beating yourself up for something that is over
It might be hard for you to look forward because it is uncertain. But what’s certain is now. Whatever you do now will impact your future. So invest all your positive energy in the present to ensure a happy future.
Instead of fighting your past and trying really hard to get over it, put your focus on the present. Fighting will only make it harder for you to let go of your past. Focusing on your present and embracing yourself completely will allow you to get rid of your bitter past memories.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed by those painful memories, turn your attention to quotes – A couple of sentences that have so much truth and power in them, that they give us the strength to deal with struggles in our lives.
Below are few such powerful quotes to help you let go of the past:
1. “Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” – Gautama Buddha
When we keep living in the past, it becomes a burden on us. It hampers us from going forward and drags us down. Just like a snake sheds it skin over and over, we need to keep letting go of our past so we can move toward the future constantly becoming a better and stronger version of ourselves.
2. Through forgiveness, which essentially means recognizing the insubstantiality of the past and allowing the present moment to be as it is, the miracle of transformation happens not only within but also without. – Eckhart Tolle (Power of Now)
Forgiving is an extremely crucial part of letting go. In-fact, you cannot let go one that you cannot forgive.
Forgiveness removes the past from your psyche. You are no longer invested in it. And that brings enormous freedom to focus on the present moment.
3. “Your life is like a play with several acts. Some of the characters who enter have short roles to play, others, much longer. But all are necessary, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the play. Embrace them all, and move on to the next act.” – Wayne Dyer
In retrospect, you probably feel that your previous relationship was a mistake but think about all the insights you gained from it. So do not regret what happened but instead be thankful for the experience for teaching you so much about life and use your newfound knowledge to correct your route going forward.
4. “You can’t do anything about the past, it’s done and can’t be mended. But the future is different, if you just think what you really want and reach out and take it.” ― Lesley Pearse (from the book – Trust Me)
If you could go back to the past with all the knowledge that you have today, you would have certainly done things differently. But that is not possible, the past is gone and cannot be changed. But you still have the knowledge and growth that you achieved because of the past. And you can use this knowledge to change your future.
5. “We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.” – Lyndon B. Johnson
It’s only when you learn from the past can you change your future. But you cannot keep living in the past because if most of your energy in invested in the past, you miss out on the opportunity to better your future.
6. “If you have a past with which you feel dissatisfied, then forget it, now. Imagine a new story for your life and believe in it. Focus only on the moments when you achieved what you desired, and that strength will help you to get what you want.” – Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain
You are no longer the person you were in the past. You have changed; you have grown. So do not let yourself be a captive of your past. Let go of the past, think from your current capacity and refocus your attention toward empowering thoughts to mold your future as per your true desires.
7. “I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” – Alan Wilson Watts
If you think about it, the present moment is all you ever have. You think of the past and future while being in the present moment. The best way to become free from such thinking is to become fully present in the present moment. A simple way to become present is to become conscious of your sense perceptions. For example, become conscious of your breathing and all the sensations associated with it. Or become conscious of all the sights and sounds around you. As you stay conscious, you are no longer lost in your mind. You become free.
8. “Your past history and all of your hurts are no longer here in your physical reality. Don’t allow them to be here in your mind, muddying your present moments.” – Wayne Dyer
Holding onto past resentments is only going to drain you and keep you from focusing on the present moment. And it is only by focusing on the present moment that you can create a future that aligns with your true desires. So let go of the past and refocus on the present.
9. “You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.” – Maya Angelou
Everyday we gain new insights and we grow into better, more stronger versions of ourselves. So it would be unfair to compare what we did back then, with the knowledge that we have today. Instead, the best approach is to forgive yourself and be thankful for the experiences for making you what you are today.
10. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu
Our beliefs create us. They can make or break us. If you keep holding on to negative beliefs about yourself based on what has happened, you will become stuck. In order to realize your true potential, you need to let go of negative beliefs and re-focus on empowering beliefs.
11. “We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” – Rick Warren
What you are today is because of all your past experiences but the past does not define you. Yes, your can learn from the past, but you need not carry its burden on our shoulders.
12. “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”- L.P. Hartley
You were a different person in the past, you are a different person now. Your understanding has elevated, you have grown as a person. So do not judge yourself now for the things you did in the past.
13. “My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me; it has only strengthened me.” – Steve Maraboli
You have learnt from your past. You owe your personal and spiritual growth to your past. But do not let yourself be defined by your past. Refocus your attention toward the present and future.
14. “What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.” – Steve Goodier
Past scars are a testimony to your inner strength. They remind you how you survived your deepest wounds. Be proud of these accomplishments and realize how the past has helped you grow. How it has made you stronger than before. Use this as a motivation to move forward.
15. “Our past may explain why we’re suffering but we must not use it as an excuse to stay in bondage.” – Joyce Meyer
Everyone makes mistakes, but to keep holding on to regrets and resentments will only drain you and keep you from moving forward. Instead, the prudent way is to learn from our mistakes and refocus our attention on building a better future.
16. “Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop.” – Rumi
Trees don’t hang on to the dry leaves, they let them drop so they make way for fresh new leaves to grow. It’s only when we let go of the old, can we generate the energy to built the new.
17. “The past can teach us, nurture us, but it cannot sustain us. The essence of life is change, and we must move ever forward or the soul will wither and die.” – Susanna Kearsley (Mariana)
It is important that you learn from the past as that is the only way to grow into better versions of yourself but to live in the past is not the way as it halts your progress and keeps you stuck in situations in which you cannot fully blossom.
18. “People who say that yesterday was better than today are ultimately devaluing their own existence.” – Karl Lagerfeld
When you believe that yesterday was better, you begin to live in the past and miss our on experiencing the present moment to the fullest. The present moment is all that we have and within it is hidden the power of growth for reshaping our future.
19. “Those who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you now unless you hold on to the pain through resentment.” – Rick Warren
Holding onto resentments is equivalent to wasting energy on things that of of little to no value. Instead, it is best to let go of past resentments and use all that freed up energy toward building a life of your dreams.
Also Read: 4 steps to let go of past regrets.
20. “Focus on where you’re going and less on where you came from.” – Amy Harmon (A Different Blue)
If most of your energy is focused on where you came from, you will never be able to realize your true potential. Instead you will find yourself being stuck in a loop. The best way to break free from this loop is to refocus your energy on the present moment.
21. “Let today be the day you finally release yourself from the imprisonment of past grudges and anger. Simplify your life. Let go of the poisonous past and live the abundantly beautiful present… today.” – Steve Maraboli
A simple way to become free from past grudges is to become completely present even if only for a few minutes. When you become present, you become conscious of your mind and are no longer unconsciously identified with it.
22. Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. – Oprah Winfrey
Taking a conscious breath is a great way to come into the present moment. Spend many minutes taking deep conscious breaths and let go of thoughts of the past. While being present, remind yourself that this moment is all you have and that the past has no power over this moment.
23. “Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past.” – Tryon Edwards
Use the wisdom you gained from your past mistakes to take better actions for your future. Everyone makes mistakes but it is important to accept them and look at them as stepping stones for the future instead of using them as a means of self deprecation.
24. “Life moves forward. The old leaves wither, die and fall away, and the new growth extends forward into the light.”- Bryant McGill
The nature of life is to move forward. There is no use holding on to the past as its purpose in your life is over. Drop the past so you can focus all your energy in the present moment.
25. “We don’t have to be defined by the things we did or didn’t do in our past. Some people allow themselves to be controlled by regret. Maybe it’s a regret, maybe it’s not. It’s merely something that happened. Get over it.” – Pittacus Lore
It’s very important to remind yourself that the past does not define you. You need to take what the past has taught you, forgive yourself and others and then let it go. That’s the only way to move forward.
26. “The time has come to lay that baggage down and leave behind all the struggling and striving. You can be set free as you journey forward into a balanced healthy and rewarding future.” – Sue Augustine
The past cannot be changed, but it also does not define us. we can let it go and refocus our attention and energy toward building a new future.
27. “When you choose to focus on today and all the possibilities that lie ahead you automatically release your grip on yesterday. Layers of the past gradually fall away and you are soon set free.” – Sue Augustine
A simple change in focus is all that is required to let go of the past. Your mind is addicted to a particular pattern of thinking and will resort to it whenever you are not alert/conscious. But once you stay conscious of your mind and keep re-focusing your thoughts toward building a better future, the past no longer bothers you.
28. “The trouble with ‘if only’ is that it doesn’t change anything. It keeps the person facing the wrong way – backward instead of forward. It wastes time. In the end, if you let it become a habit, it can become a real roadblock – an excuse for not trying anymore.” – Arthur Gordon
Sometimes you get stuck in a depressing loop of ‘if only’ thoughts where you start wasting your energy blaming yourself for not making the right decisions in life. But this behavior is only going to keep your stuck in the same depressing state. Instead, it is imperative that we let go of the past, learn from the mistakes and focus all our attention on recreating a better future with what we have in the present. This approach will unblock your stuck energy and bring you back into flow state from the state of being stagnant.
29. “The more anger towards the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the present.” – Barbara De Angelis
When you hold anger and resentment inside, you are the one who gets burned. These negative emotions drain you and keep you from progressing in life. So let go of these emotions by forgiving yourself and others. This will free up your energy which you can invest in creating a better life that you truly deserve.
30. “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
The human mind prefers the known and fears the unknown and hence it will hold on to the familiar until you make a conscious attempt to let go of it and move on. Become conscious of all the anger, hurt and resentment that you hold within and make an attempt to let go of these emotions. Meditation is a great way to get in touch with your yourself and become more self aware. The more self aware you are, the easier will it be for you to acknowledge and let go of these emotions.
31. “Its more fun to think of the future than dwell on the past.” – Sara Shepard
Think of the possibilities, think of everything that you can still achieve and experience in this world. Use that as a catalyst to pull yourself out of past based living.
Move forward and give yourself a chance to find happiness and love again. It is out there, you just got to free yourself from the negativity of your past to harness them.