Tips for Letting Go of the Past

If you’re stuck in the past, it’s necessary to commit to doing something that pulls you into the future. That could be a college program that you register in, a job you accept, a fitness plan you commit to, or simply a one-way ticket to another city. You need a concrete plan to do something that represents a complete break with the past.

4. Make amends.

If the past that burdens you includes actions of yours that you now regret, do whatever is realistically possible to make amends. Obviously, you must be careful about saying anything that might have legal consequences. Also, be cautious about doing something that could reopen the wounds of another person. Within these parameters, it is appropriate to apologize and/or take another action to repair what was broken by your actions.

5. Show forgiveness.

Just as you should try to make amends, which is a way of asking for forgiveness, you should also be willing to extend forgiveness to whoever wronged you. This advice also comes with certain caveats. It may be problematic to explicitly forgive someone who abused you or committed another crime. Also, it may be unwise to express forgiveness if the other person has indicated a reluctance to accept that they did anything wrong. But where you believe that the other person would benefit from your expression of forgiveness, doing so is appropriate and helps to free you from the past.

6. Believe.