“Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share these keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge to the future.”
Good memories are things we treasure. But what about painful memories?
Painful memories hinder our happiness. They bring us down and make us feel regretful, upset and even so blue that we literally can’t move forward. Our life remains at a standstill.
We all dwell on the past from time to time. It’s natural – it’s human to do so. We have all experienced things and built up memories, and we’d be pretty darn odd if we never dwelt on painful experiences.
But when our dwellings turn into obsession, things become more unhealthy. No longer able to break free from the painful memories, we’re not living our life. We’re not fulfilling our potential. Instead of being happy, we’re miserable.
It’s not easy to let go of the past. Sometimes, professional help is needed. But if you’re looking for a way out right not, here are 10 tips on how to let go of painful memories that hinder your happiness.
Be Kind To People
A really easy way to lift yourself from a vicious cycle of negativity and pain is to practice kindness to other people.
Visit your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Help those in need. Show compassion at all times. Spread positivity.
Remind Yourself Of Your Values
Have you ever been on a night out, and got so drunk that you said something totally out of character, and which you deeply regretted the next day? I’m pretty sure we all have. The reason we regret what we said so much is because it didn’t align with our values. We ‘lost ourselves’ for a few moments.
Similarly, you might be dwelling on a moment from your past where you did something totally out of character. Perhaps your behaviour didn’t match up with your values. If so, take some time now to outline what your values and morals are. What is important to you? In this way, you can be surer that you won’t make the same mistake again.
Meet New People
Sometimes, all it takes is a new person in our life to help us move on from the past.
I know how difficult it can be to motivate yourself to meet new people right now. Especially if you’re going through a bad breakup, you find yourself comparing everyone to your former lover.
But meeting new people really can kick-start the healing process and bring about closure.
Remember That The Past Is The Past
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? So how come many of us find it hard to accept this?
Perhaps the answer is that we don’t want to accept that the past is the past. We cling onto memories, no matter how painful they are, because we still want them near to us. There could be many reasons for this. Perhaps you wish you could go back in time and do something differently, or perhaps there is someone who you still love and who you wish was still around.
But key to letting go of the past lies in the acceptance that the past really is the past. It’s never coming back. It’s much easier to accept this and move on. What was once near is now distant.
Focus On What You Can Change
You can’t change something hurtful that’s already happened to you. For this reason alone, it’s pointless to keep devoting so much of your energy to it. Nothing will change what has already been done.
For happiness, it’s a good idea to focus on what you can change. Take stock of your life and ask yourself where you can make a positive change right now. Maybe you could devote your time and energy to helping others, or maybe you could change career.
Whatever you do, it’s important that you’re always moving – and looking – forward.
Learn From The Experiences
A lot of us dwell on painful experiences and extract only the poison from them.
But isn’t it time that you started to draw out an antidote instead?
A positive interpretation of a painful memory is still possible. If something bad happened, such as a breakup, you should examine the lessons behind the breakup. Examine what went wrong. Learn from it.
There is always a lesson to be learned from every experience. Don’t allow your mind to focus simply on the act. Figure out the Why’s and What you will do differently next time.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Yes, it can be very hard to forgive someone who hurt us. But without forgiveness, you can never move on and be happy. You will remain forever enchained to the past.
Without the ability to forgive, you will also be without the ability to give love, thanks and compassion. You won’t be able to love yourself, neither others.
Cut others some slack. Remember that we all make mistakes.
Find A New Passion
Sometimes, the key to letting go of painful memories is rebirth. Newness. Reinvention.
To get away from the past can mean getting away from the things that remind us of the past. So what better thing to do than find an exciting new passion that has no links whatsoever with what has happened to you before?
A new passion can be anything, from travelling to rock climbing, cooking to learning a new language.
Don’t Force Yourself To Forget
Forcing yourself to forget a painful memory is a bad idea because you’re still focused on it.
Don’t purposefully block something out. Let it leave your aura naturally. It will go.
Lastly, just let go.
I know this might sound too simplistic right now, and it’s true that letting go of something doesn’t mean it’s gone forever, which is why you need to let it go a second time when it returns.
Maybe it will return again, so let it go again.
Each time, it will return with less power until eventually it really will be out of your life for good.