How To Let Go of the Past

let go of the past
(Photo: Singapore Botanic Gardens)


If you are not able to let go of the past, it is possible to be stuck for years, Pain keeps your stories alive. Attachment drives you into heartache. In fact, over time, you have also gotten used to the suffering. So much so that you may even feel lost at the thought of becoming free from pain. You fear the emptiness that letting go may bring. Invariably, you prefer to continue to hold on to anger, regret and sadness over something that is no longer present.

There was a time when I was stubbornly stuck in the past. Blame was my way of dealing with my discontent. I kept pointing fingers outwards. Although finger-pointing made my ego feel better for a while, blame did not let me experience happier outcomes. I felt more miserable. Eventually I had to learn to let go. I decided that I would rather be happy compared to putting myself in further pain.


Without awareness, it is possible to live according to the doomed conclusions you have made as a result of past experiences. Because you have made a mistake or failed, you predict that you will never succeed. Or just because someone has wronged you, you find it hard to forgive. Your mind becomes stuck in the same mental movie it has been repeatedly playing. On and on, your tape would run.


The function of your conscious mind is to think logically to arrive at conclusions. However, over negative experiences of the past, this can create a fallacy in thinking: “If I have failed previously in the past, then I will fail again in the future” or “If he has failed me in the past, he is bound to do the same again”. Writing this makes me recall the famous disclaimer that we usually see in financial product brochures: “Past trends are no indication of future performance”. If these were anything to go by, it means that no one can accurately and completely predict what is going to happen in the future.


It is similar to being in a car. Failing to look in front, you become entranced by what has happened in the rearview mirror. Thus, instead of just glancing at it every now and then, you forget to look in front. A better way is to keep yourself focused on what lies ahead, but yet glance at the rearview mirror every now and then for feedback on how far you have come.


Ways to Let Go of the Past – Once and For All


So what are the ways that can help you with releasing the past:


1. Come to terms about the past.


You may have made a mistake in the past but this does not make you “bad”, “wrong” or “evil”. You destroy your self-confidence through a constant mental replay of your past and inflicting punishment by applying harsh judgments.

Everyone makes mistakes. And you are no exception. You need to also understand that you are not your mistakes. Hence, come to terms with what has happened to you in the past.


2. Address through emotional release work.

So what is holding you back from letting go? Your negative emotions? If you know that you are feeling blame, anger, resentment, regret or sadness, then you will need to address these.

You can do a release through writing a journal. From my experience, the best form of release is doing some emotional healing work. Consider using meridian tapping for instance. Work with me if you need some assistance.


3. Be willing to forgive.


When you are stuck in blame, it is difficult to practice forgiveness. Maybe it is not you who has committed a mistake. It could be someone else. In certain cases, you may even want justice done.


It is possible to carry on with your life, even though you do not forgive. However, you are only hurting yourself by holding on to the past. Your suffering arises from carrying the burden. Your unwillingness to forgive causes a part of your heart to be closed. You are robbed of inner peace.


4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.


Ask yourself if what has happened in the past is truly such a big deal. Likely not, in the grand scheme of things. Hence, learn to see the big picture. If it is small stuff, don’t sweat it.


Altering your perception raises your consciousness. You are invited to consider an alternative point of view that allows you to shift into an expanded paradigm. Instead of feeling stuck, you start perceiving more options.


5. Look at the bigger picture.


Your soul has incarnated to learn about loving fully and unconditionally. Holding on to your hurt means that there continues to be an unresolved issue and incomplete life lessons.


Releasing does not mean allowing the guilty party to go off the hook, it is allowing you to enter the present. Surely, you do not want to continue to hold on to the past even on your deathbed. The willingness to forgive invites grace from your heart. Through grace, you let your past go.


6. Decide on what you do want.


When you align with the picture of what you do want, you will undertake more positive and empowering actions. By default, your mind thinks about what it does not want. And so in order to shift yourself from being stuck, you will need to align with a more ideal picture.


Stop worrying about what others will think. Instead, decide on what your ideal dream looks like. List or write the qualities down. Better yet, create a vision board for it.


7. Direct your energy to the present.


Remind yourself that the past is over. What is past is past. You cannot undo the past but you can take steps for today. As Oogway, the wise turtle in the animated Kung Fu Panda movie, admonishes, “There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the ‘present.’”


It helps to do exercises like breath meditation. Breath meditation keeps your focus in the here and now. You are centered in the present. When you are centered in the present, you will increase your ability to make empowering decisions in the present that affect your future. Coincidentally in a meditation session I attended on Saturday evening, the teacher also shared that every in- and out-breath is a new one. No two breaths are ever alike. What is important is to live every moment as a new experience.


8. View past failure as feedback.


By playing the same past traumatic scene in your mind over and over again, you can find it hard to move forward. You deem yourself a failure. On the contrary, you would have encountered failure if you have just given up. What is more important is the road ahead. So long as you keep trying, there is no such thing as failure.


Of course, the past offers valuable information. But let’s use the past as a way of providing feedback and not for applying harsh judgments or apportioning blame. You choose to undertake wise actions thereafter. Most certainly, wise actions are not ones that will make you close to life.


9. Perform a Ritual For Your Intent.


As I have found out, making the intent to let go is important. Once you have decided to let go for good, perform a ritual. Rituals can be helpful for expressing your intent physically. It is a symbolic gesture of the generosity of your heart space.


So here are some ideas. Write down a letter of your past hurt and then burn it. Or you can throw rocks into the pond, with each rock to represent the individual hurt that you have been holding on to.


10. Use Creative Visualization. Mostly, your mind thinks in pictures. This being the case, consider applying creative visualization to help you let go of the past. Thus, close your eyes to mentally think of a process to signify the release.


Computer analogy can be useful for creative visualization. Hence, imagine yourself deleting an old program in your hard drive. Visualize yourself hitting the “delete” key. Once you have deleted, tell yourself firmly that it is no longer there.


Let Go For the New to Enter

“There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life.”
– Author Unknown


Encumbered by the past, your energy becomes weighed down. You age before your time. You are not able to make yourself available to the present. The thing is that you would be shortchanging yourself until the day you awaken.


Do not procrastinate any longer. It all boils down to making a conscious choice. Make the choice to release yourself from your old stories. You are the author of your life script. Choose to write a fresh story from now.


With the release, you can feel an indescribable but delightful lightness of being. It is a breakthrough moment. No longer clouded by pre-conceived judgments of days gone by, you are now free to experience life anew. Your paradigm shifts to one of abundance. You become open to enjoying life fully. You now meet each moment in time with curiosity, spontaneity and possibility. You finally realize that it is not emptiness but an aliveness that you feel!


Love and Abundance Always,

evelyn lim signature

Author. Adventurer. Life Coach. More About Me.

Share Your Stories on Letting Go of a Painful Past

What happened? What did you do to let it go? Share in the comments below.


Facebook Comments


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Julie | A Clear Sign - March 5, 2012 Reply


This is a wonderful map through!

I believe it all changed for me when I learned that everything is a lesson and there are no mistakes in the Universe. In fact, on a soul level we agree to interact with one another to learn these lessons. So, a back stabbing coworker who you cannot forgive for causing you to get fired could actually just be someone from your soul group who agreed to meet up with you at a certain time so you could learn to stand up for yourself or so you could be impulsed to leave a job that is not on your soul path, etc. If you view it that way suddenly the “reason” for wrongs can just be a lesson in growth in one form or another. I find that being open to that possibility puts such a different spin on my perceptions that in itself it allows for release.


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Julie,

That is certainly a great way of altering perceptions. It should beautifully especially if the person who is looking for help in releasing the past is spiritually connected. The higher perspective of looking at soul lessons can lead to the dissolving of blame and pain immediately.

Thank you for sharing,


Vinay Raj - March 5, 2012 Reply

Great article. Its just a decision away to forget the past 🙂


Evelyn Reply:

Thank you, Vinay!


Vidya Sury - March 6, 2012 Reply

One of the toughest things in life, Evelyn. I believe we should all come to terms with what is past, and move on. But it is not easy sometimes. Especially when we’ve experienced certain events that were too painful and never had a chance to discuss them, talk about them and vent our feelings. All bottled up, these specific events fester inside and make it that much harder to seek release.

Your tips are very sensible. 🙂 We do sweat the small stuff often. I have learned the hard way to live in the present – because it is such a gift :-).


Evelyn Reply:

Definitely, Vidya, it can be challenging especially when the pain feels so raw. Talking about things is a good way for release but eventually, there has to come a time for the decision to stop repeating the negative stories. Also, I believe that talking should always be paired up with emotional healing work; otherwise the release is not addressed enough. In time, if you want things to change, you need to tell them the way you want it to be and not what has happened in the past.

Thank you for sharing 🙂


Brad - March 6, 2012 Reply

Thanks Evelyn,

The universe is sending me lots of messages about releasing the past, choosing, forgiving, and moving on. I guess it’s time to release & move on!

thanks, Brad


Evelyn Reply:

Well, it can be done from my own personal experience.

Take care,


janice - March 6, 2012 Reply

I like the one about pressing the “delete” button.


Evelyn Reply:

Hi Janice,

Visualization works beautifully. I have tried it and so has my clients with benefits reported.

Love and abundance always,


CK - March 6, 2012 Reply

Hi Evelyn, most of the solutions are logical to a person who is not inflicted by the pain or betrayal. Yes.. it should be done as recommended. But it takes a lot of moral courage to do so because the pain is on yourself. Like an old Chinese saying ” You only feel the pain when the knife cuts your skin.” Words alone cannot describe it. I had gone through this pain. I had forgiven the one who did me wrong. I had learned to accept the person as a “friend” but the memory stays in an active mind and at certain time, such memories float up again. And it is tempting to re-kinder the type of painful emotions. I have to be conscious of it and to brush it off and remind myself to let go. It is an ongoing process as we are human with blood, flesh and feeling. Sometimes I need to talk to a friend (an anchor point) to release my feeling again. It is an on-going process unless I lose my memories and it will be the beginning of my dementia – which I view at it as a good thing. Dementia will give me a new life.. forgetting the past and live for the present. Looking at life with a lighter heart. And thanks for the article.


Evelyn Reply:

Hi CK,

I have shared that I personally experienced pain. I also felt betrayal. The psychological torture from rejection was tremendous. And you are right, words can barely describe the sharp wedge that the pain inflicts.

Then again, the level of pain intensity is a perception. It comes from the eyes of the person who is going through the experience. Once the perception is altered, the level of suffering reduces.

What you are going through is pretty normal for memories to float up every now and then. Even I have them too, especially for major past events. But what is great is that when I apply emotional healing work, the negative intensity gets less and less each time.

The beauty about doing emotional work is that one can look at the past incident, know that it has happened and not feel any level of negativity in the now. So yes, the memories are still there. There are lessons learned and the way to look is forward.

All the best,


The Vizier - March 6, 2012 Reply

Hi Evelyn,

Pain does indeed have the ability to shackle us to the past and it is certainly not easy to let go of as you pointed out. But letting go of pain is not impossible. Although it is not easy, it can be done. I feel you have put together a great list of how to let go of the past once and for all. Here are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind as I read them.

1. Come to terms about the past

We cannot change the past and everything happens for a reason. Thus to resist the past will only strengthen its hold over us. It is far better to accept what has happened so that we can let it go.

8. View past failure as feedback

We all have to deal with hard lessons in life because the Universe is trying to help us to change for the better. If we meet with setbacks, mistakes and failures, it only means we are not doing something right. We have to will ourselves to stop and take a honest and hard look about where we have gone wrong. Only when we have learned the lessons can we move on to greater things with the new capacity we have gained. And once we have learned the lesson, there is little need to hold on to it further. Letting go thus becomes natural.

If need be, we can reframe the past and find a deeper meaning as to why something happened. Instead of looking at things in a way that cripples us, we can try to find a way to look at events in a way that empowers us. This also goes a long way in helping us to let go of the past.

Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

Irving the Vizier


Evelyn Reply:

Hi Irving,

I like what you said about accepting that the past has happened and move on. Also, when we take a “hard look” and be totally honest, we may discover the divine lessons in these events. We change our perceptive to things. And in that change of perception, the bitterness, anger, blame and so on dissipates.

Thank you for sharing your comments,


Lei - March 8, 2012 Reply

Aloha Evelyn,

Thank you for another great post. I love your tips and can confirm that they do in fact work.
I used to bottle up so much resentment, fear, and frustration about past situations and all it did was make me look older and feel tired all the time. I literally had to let go of certain so called friends and what I thought was a great job at the time in order to move forward and allow my light to shine. I racked up a lot of debt with my ex and all the material things I accumulated I either donated or sold and I am now living a much more simpler and calmer life.
I love the delete button. My delete button is my shredder. Clearing my clutter so I could see better is what has helped me to leap ahead vs taking small steps. I’m at a point now where I feel stuck again but I realized, and just as you mentioned, my next step is to think about what I want. Set specific goals and think about the big picture. I’m currently reading the Sedona Method as you recommended in other posts and I am loving it. It’s all meant to be and I am right where I should be. Thank you!


Evelyn Reply:

Aloha Lei,

First of all, I should be thanking you for following up with action on the tips that I have been laying out on my blog. They have worked for me and that’s why I shared them.

It is one thing to read about these and quite another, to actually apply them on a practical basis. So I salute you for having taken action. And it is great that you have discovered, as I have done, that these really do work.

A simpler life can be a rich one too. And no one will truly know the value of peace until having let go of all the old and heavy stuff. I am very happy for you to have reached a level of calmness.

The shredder idea is a good one. Thank you for sharing that tip. I will definitely share it with others.

Good for you on The Sedona Method. You may also want to combine it with Emotional Freedom Technique as the next step. They work beautifully in complement with each other. But yes, learn one technique and delve into it at a time. The benefits are plentiful.

All the best in your journey,


Teryn - March 9, 2012 Reply

I write a very similar blog and love reading your posts for inspirations. Your content is very good.


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Teryn,

Thank you for your feedback.

All the best to your blog,


Galen Pearl - March 9, 2012 Reply

I have to say I laughed out loud when I saw your post title and the photo. That is a loooonnnngg time ago! And yet it can seem that long that we hold onto things we need to let go of. Great practical steps. I’m reminded of a quote from A Course in Miracles. “The only wholly true thought one can hold about the past is that it is not here.”


Evelyn Reply:

Hi Galen,

The photo I took was definitely apt for the post LOL! I enjoyed the quote that you shared! Great one there!

Have a fabulous weekend,


SittieCates - March 9, 2012 Reply

Hi Evelyn,

I love this! It’s so timely. I was thinking of some past hurts and found myself getting stuck in the same ol’ mental rut. Thank you for these tips. It really helped a lot, and reminded me that letting go can be easy after all when certain steps would be followed. Thanks! 😉


Evelyn Reply:

Hi there,

You are welcome. I really hope the tips will be able to help you.

All the best,


Noch Noch | be me. be natural. - March 10, 2012 Reply

i had trouble letting go of my past. thanks for this reminder. these days i’ dealing with a lot of past hurt and pain so i can move on
Noch Noch


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Noch Noch,

Good for you in dealing with the past hurts. You’d feel lighter for sure!

All the best,


FLO - March 30, 2012 Reply



Kai Mott - September 21, 2012 Reply

What a great article! I love it!

I really love this statement: “Make the choice to release yourself from your old stories. You are the author of your life script. Choose to write a fresh story from now.”

NLP has the powerful set of techniques to totally eradicate emotional traumas in the past. Do you agree?

Oh by the way, have you heard of Time Line Therapy®?
“Time Line Therapy® utilizes a person’s own internal “Time
Line” to work with their unconscious minds in a variety of ways; including, healing emotional traumas and eradicating unwanted thoughts, emotions and behaviors.”

Want to know more? Visit


sherill - October 26, 2015 Reply

Beautiful post.

We should really learn to let go and not hold on to the past, our life will be much lighter and easier if we focus on the good and beautiful things that comes along our way. Thanks for sharing a very encouraging post.


ligacapsa - February 1, 2016 Reply

For hottest information you have to visit the web and
on world-wide-web I found this web page as a finest website for
newest updates.


no deposit bonus casino online - February 2, 2016 Reply

Yoou will have to take loans, invest in the bullion market,
trade shares and sell them off at a profit. However, it is a fact that ojly the bewst online casinos may provide their players with such
gratifying bonuses and offers. Once you do that, all you need to do is to have a little luck, and who knows, yyou could become
a big winner.


link vao m88 khong bi chan - February 26, 2016 Reply

What’s up everyone, it’s my first visit at this website,
and article is actually fruitful for me, keep up posting
such posts.


laptops for college students in india - January 24, 2017 Reply

One enormous factor to remember, although:
Many campus programs for online courses still require Flash, wyich
is a no-go on cellular OS-working tablets ljke the iPad, Galaxy Tabs and
Pixel C.


Leave a Comment:

Sign up to our newsletter!