If there’s a thing or two that pain will teach you in this lifetime, it’s how it feels to swim and how it feels to sink. We must learn both. We must make this discovery because without determining how much effort it takes to keep our head afloat, or even understand how it feels to hit rock bottom, we will not truly understand our power.
With that power, we can break away from the past and stop dwelling.
Dwelling on the past means reading the same chapter over and over again while expecting the ending to change. It’s reopening wounds and allowing opportunities for self-sabotage. Dwelling on the past is the biggest roadblock from moving forward, and life will move forward whether you’re on board with it or not.
No matter what we do, time will continue to tick, and days will begin to pass. The morning will turn to night, seasons will change, and years will pass with or without our consent. I get it, letting go is easier said than done. It may take some time, but the first step is the willingness to take that step.
“1. You must let the pain visit.
2. You must allow it to teach you.
3. You must not allow it to overstay.”
— Ijeoma Umebinyuo, three routes to healing
When you begin to recognize that it’s time to move on, then you are letting the universe know that you are ready to accept and welcome change. Change is nothing to be scared about, because without change, there is no flow.
Here’s how to stop dwelling on from the past and move on for good.
1. Remember You Are the Author of Your Own Story
Look at it like this – you are the author of your book; this book is your whole life, and you are writing it as we speak. In this book, there are chapters, and each chapter tells the story of that particular year. For example, chapter 14 is a chapter that tells the tale of when you were 14-years-old, and chapter 30 is when you were thirty-years-old. Like a novel, each chapter introduces a series of supporting characters and events that will shake up your world. These supporting characters come in the form of friends, lovers, colleagues, and family members, all who are here to help the growth of the protagonist.
Now take a look at this book and see which chapter you are currently dwelling on. How many chapters have you written since then? How many chapters have you written before that? Now, how many times have you dwelled on the same chapter expecting the ending to change?
We have the power to write the ending to whatever we please, but we must keep writing our story. No one else will write it and can write it for you. Always remember that.
2. Own Your Mistakes and Grow from Them
The true art of letting go is ownership. This includes owning up to the mistakes you have made, acknowledging the imperfections we all have as humans, and opening yourself to grow from them.
It may be a tough pill to swallow, but studies show that forgiveness can lead to lower stress and anxiety levels. Forgiveness is a powerful tool for your self-growth and one of the most beneficial tools to prevent you from dwelling on the past.
Learn to forgive others, and yourself: How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)
3. You Can Only Connect the Dots Going Backward
In life, there will be moments when you realize that things had to unfold the way that they did. You will begin to understand why certain things didn’t work in your favor, but connection will become clear in due time.
Dwelling on the past also means resisting what’s in store for you. Trust the process and give yourself some credit for coming this far.
4. Better Things Await
Our energy may be finite, but the possibilities of what we can achieve in this lifetime are infinite. Remember that you are using energy when you dwell, when you worry, or when you become angry. What’s exhausting is focusing on things that are out of your control.
Letting go is easier said than done, but like the muscles in our human body, this takes time to build and trust. The beautiful thing about letting go is that you are making room for new things in your life.
Change does happen for a reason, and sometimes, it’s resistance that’s preventing it from manifesting.
5. Honor Yourself
When you look back on some of our life choices, are there a few that stand out? Ones that usually start with the phrase, “what if?”
Before we go down that never-ending rabbit hole, ask yourself if you were honoring yourself during that specific period of your life. The needs and wants when you were 23 are probably not the same priorities you have today. Our financial requirements, job expectations, qualities in a partner, and our life necessities all evolve with change. If there’s ever a moment you find yourself dwelling because of a decision you made in the past, remember that you were honoring yourself and what you needed then.
Let go, move on, and start honoring yourself today.
5. Get Inspired by Others
Who doesn’t love a great success story? Watching Ted Talks, Goalcast, inspirational documentaries, and reading autobiographies is a great way to fuel your inspiration. Every hero and successful leader has a story of their own. Stephen King’s first novel was rejected 30 times before being published, Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime, and Steven Spielberg couldn’t get into his dream film school. One must go on a journey in order to find your life’s purpose.
Watch this inspirational speech by the co-founder of The Manifesting Academy, Sarah Prout, as she shares how she overcame 10 years of suffering and went from welfare to multi-millionaire:
6. Meditate on What You Want Today
As we change, our dreams can change. One way to stop dwelling on the past is to focus on the future, and that works if we live presently today. A vision board is an empowering tool to help you gain clarity by re-shifting your focus on your goals. You can never move forward by moving backward. You can only move forward if you have a vision to work toward.
“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” — Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential.
Your past is only a part of you and by no means the definition of you. You are currently evolving, learning, and nourshing yourself to be the best version you can be. Learn from the past, but never live there.
More About Letting Go
Featured photo credit: Havilah Galaxy via unsplash.com
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