Everyday Mindfulness: 3 Key Lessons for Letting Go of the Past

Focusing on the present offers us relief from the worry and anxiety connected to an uncertain future, but what about the feelings we have rooted in the past? Here we look at the three key lessons we all need to learn before we can be truly centred and happy in the present.

1) Understanding

The human tendency to form attachments to the past has been the topic of numerous studies. In many ways, this ability offers us advantages in the present. It helps us to avoid repeating our mistakes, enables us to learn from past experiences and lets us predict future outcomes. It also hinders our enjoyment of the moment. Always comparing the present to the past and failing to take chances because of a previous failure, often prevents us from moving forward. Being mindful of your feelings, understanding which memory they are rooted in, is an essential step in preventing them from shaping your future.

2) Judgement

More often than not, we are our own harshest critics. Fear and embarrassment are two of the strongest emotions we use to root ourselves in the past. They are also the two which prevent us from taking chances in the present. Avoid focusing on negative memories, don’t replay them in your head or think about how you could have behaved differently. Be satisfied with your actions at the time and refuse to judge them.

3) Acceptance

Accepting the present as it is is the last step in letting go of the past. Don’t judge yourself by a measure devised years ago, don’t pine for a happiness that has gone. Accept those achievements, honour them and move on. Focus on what you have in the present to be grateful for, list each and every one as you are falling asleep. Once you start focusing on everything the present can offer you, the past will assume its rightful place.

Image Source: Dick Knight

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Latest update: April 19, 2015