WELL-BEING TECHNIQUES // Letting go of the past

September 1, 2015

letting go of the past


The past is a funny thing. It has such power, even though it’s gone.

Where is it to you? Can you visualise it? Is it behind you? Is it alongside you? Is it in front of you? Are you still very much aware of your past? Do you see it for what it is; as something that is long gone. Or do you carry it with you to each new day, always remembering.

Do you find you are reliving your past. Regretting your past or wishing it was different.

The past has a habit of showing up in our lives all the time. Whether we want it to or not. If you are acutely aware of your past and you see it as something you are still living with, then you likely need to take some action. Carrying the past with you as you move forward is not good for your recovery.

There is an old Zen story of two monks walking along a river. They come across a young and beautiful woman who asks them to help her cross the river. They looked at each other, unsure of what to do. They had taken a vow never to touch a woman. Without speaking, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river then returned to his friend. They continued on their Journey not speaking a word. The younger monk could not believe what the older monk had done. When they arrived at their destination the younger monk could no longer contain himself and asked his friend how he could have carried the woman, knowing that he should not. The older monk turned to him and said “My friend, I set her down on the other side of the river. Why are you still carrying her?”

This Story explains exactly how most of us go through our lives. We are carrying the weight of what has been rather than being present to what is happening in this moment and letting go of that heavy load.

When the past has caused us pain, or we have hurt deeply or we have regrets, then it is easy to carry these thoughts, feelings and memories into our present day. But the truth is these moments are gone. Whatever has happened to you or happened because of you, has happened. It should no longer weigh heavy on you. You cannot change it. Only learn from it.

It’s not easy to let go. I know there were certain points in my life where I could not let go. I would play the same events over. All this did was cause me to re-live the pain and emotion I had felt at the time. Or it would create new negative emotions attached to the event. Did it change the outcome? No. It just constantly made me feel bad. Like I hadn’t moved an inch from that event that happened ten years ago.

We cannot change what has been. All we can do is acknowledge it. See it for what it is, accept it, learn from it and move forward in ways that make us better people.

The past, no matter how upsetting or tragic, has moulded us into who we are today. It may not be what we thought it would be. We may not be who we thought we would be. But we are as we are, as we were always meant to be, because of our experiences.

Everyone has a past. Some have worse than others. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we learn. We grow. We become better people for the pain we have been through.

You cannot run away from your past. You are the sum of your past, present and future. So don’t let negative past experiences have a negative impact on your present or your future.

Remember the monk. He did what he should not have done. But he accepted it, then immediately moved on. No guilt. No remorse. It was forgotten.

Make peace with the past. Then focus on the present and then your future. Feeling guilty, angry or ashamed, serves no purpose. It does not help progress. And when trying to recover, it’s so important to let go of anything that stops your growth.

So from today let the past go. What’s done is done. And in some way it was meant to happen to bring you to this very moment and all the moments to come.

You can even be grateful for your past. For without it, you would not be you. And you are perfect. Just as you are. Just as you were meant to be.

My past is like anyone else’s full of joy, pain, regrets, fear and a lot of happiness too. So let’s focus on the good stuff. The soul food. Let’s be grateful for this amazing journey called life. Don’t shy away from the past but don’t let it control you either. Find peace with it. Then move on.

Onwards and upwards my loves xox


  1. Anma

    Ahh my girl, this one has really hit a nerve for me as you know!!! Letting go of the past is very hard – but made even harder when you yourself are doing everything in your power to move on from it, but certain people bring you crashing back in to those moments and dark feelings because they still have to be a part of your life!!! Let it go akready!!!! Xxxx

    1. BITD Post author

      It’s not easy girl. But you’ll get there. You’re doing all you can. You’re doing great. Stay strong. Kiki xx


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