15 March 2012
5 ways to let go of the past
One of the most painful aspects of love is when it doesn’t work out. The pain caused is sometimes increased because we simply can’t move on even though there is no chance of the situation changing. It’s important to learn how to let go.
The end of a relationship can leave you feeling rejected, hurt, angry, confused, betrayed amongst many other painful emotions. It is often hard to let go, not just of the person, but also of the memories and the feelings of sadness that your dream of love wasn’t fulfilled. If you are re-entering the dating scene that is a good sign that you are ready to move on with your life but before you can welcome someone new in you need to let go of the past, here are five suggestions to help you do that.
1. What did you learn?
Often people are reluctant to let go of the past because they feel that by keeping it alive they will have some protection from being hurt in the same way again. It is important to learn the lessons so that you don’t make the same mistake again while still letting go of the person and the relationship. One way of doing this is to look back over your entire history with this person and see where you could have done something differently.
- Did you feel uncomfortable about things but not say so?
- Did you stop giving the relationship the time and attention it needed?
- How have you changed as a result of your experience?
- If you had a friend with a similar problem what advice would you give them?
This isn’t about apportioning blame, or beating yourself up, but about finding the valuable things you could learn which will benefit your future relationships.
2. Take off your rose-tinted glasses
The further away from a relationship we get the more perfect it can seem and what we are holding onto is not the person so much as a fantasy about what could have been. You need to look at the facts:
- Why did you break up?
- What was it about the other person that drove you crazy?
- Do you really believe that this was your only chance at love?
- Are you ready to move on yet?
Asking yourself these tough and challenging questions can help bring you back to reality and see that actually things weren’t all that great after all. At the same time you will begin to see what you want from a future relationship that wasn’t there in the old one.
3. Transform the experience
There are many ways we can turn what looks and feels like a bad experience into something positive through the art of transformation.
- If the relationship left you with low self esteem do something to make you feel good about yourself again, maybe take up a forgotten hobby or exercise regime.
- Could you channel the hurt into a creative project like writing or painting? – some of the greatest works of art and literature are the on the subject of love and loss.
- Look at how you are thinking about the experience. Are you using it as a stick to beat yourself up? If so it is time to change your thinking and begin to see it as a stepping stone which you went across to get to the happy, healthy relationship you can have in the future.
4. Have an ending
Sometimes we can’t let go because there has been no real ending for us. Maybe someone died or left you and you had no choice or say in the matter. There are many things you can do create an ending yourself:
- Have a clear out of all photographs, emails, letters and anything that remind you of that relationship. If they are treasured memories put them away in a box but if they are painful dispose of them completely.
- Delete contact details, phone numbers and remove the person from your friend list on social networks.
- If possible stop going to places where they are likely to be.
Doing these things will have a strong cleansing impact and you will have a much better chance of moving on. Reading someone’s social network status; checking when they are online or going to places where they hang out will only keep you in pain
5. Move forward
Take your attention away from the past and start focusing on your future and what you want from it. Looking at the past will only fill you with regret but looking at the future will help you feel hopeful and optimistic once again. Join a dating website and start working towards a happier future.