Let go of the past so you can live in the present

Ruth Yeboah December 20, 2018
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Do you ever wonder why you find it difficult to let go of your past hurt? Or why you have not allowed yourself to heal from all the past pain you have experienced in your childhood, your relationships, within your family? Know this: pain is inevitable, but you can heal from past pain.

We have all felt pain, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally. It is an all too familiar ground for us as human beings. Yet, we live our lives wanting to avoid pain. We allow the pain of our past to continue to plague our lives living in fear of being hurt, betrayed, or abandoned. Hence, we grow up constrained by social schemas that ultimately shape our perception of the world.

Psychology describes schemas as thought patterns or behaviors by which we categorize our life experiences. Societal expectations, prejudice, stereotypes all result from our schemas. Basically, it is the way we simplify things in our minds which then influences our behavior.

So for example, if you have a bad experience with someone from Ghana, you might determine in your mind that “all Ghanaians are horrible people”, and behave as such when you meet someone from Ghana the next time. Schemas are detrimental. But even worse than that, schemas prevent us from letting go of our past hurt.

There are times we open our heart for family, friends or acquaintances, and they hurt us in return. It leaves an aftertaste in our mouth and we begin to lose hope in humanity, no longer wanting to help others. We unconsciously walk around expecting people to hurt us because we have been wounded before. This is your schemas at work.

However, when you expect something, you are essentially calling that thing to happen. So pain repeats itself again and again. We get hurt by people and expect those people to acknowledge the pain they have caused us, we want them to apologize for the pain, so we can have closure. Hurt people hurt others. Period.

What if they never say “sorry”, do you still continue to dwell in the pain and live a life of anxiety, worry and depression? No! You have to let go! I know it is hard, even more painful, but your memory is no use to you when it plays back to you over and over again the pain you have felt.

We replay the past in hope that we could have done something different, but here is the hard truth. You CANNOT undo the past. You have to move on, as painful as it may be. You have to move on!

Here are a few steps to help you move forward, live in the present and walk into a more promising and healthy future.

  1. Acknowledge that the hurt was not your fault. People are responsible for their decisions. It is not your burden to carry. However, you must release them so you can also be free.
  2. The past holds you captive, so accept that moving on is a process. It takes time.
  3. Don’t allow anything outside of you to determine how you feel inside.
  4. The people you are upset with do not even care, don’t waste your energy on them.
  5. Love yourself enough to want more for yourself. Don’t suffer in the negativity. 

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: December 20, 2018


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