How can you live a happy life when you cannot let go of the past? Instead of focusing on the present, you’re caught in a web of lies and only your past mistakes seem to matter. Yet there are many out there who live each day with a happy and positive view on life. Why? Because they are not focusing on the past. Read this guide to learn how you can let go of your past and live a happy life.

Let the emotions flow

“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” Steve Maraboli

One mistake many people make is they try to ignore their emotions altogether, which is the worst thing to do. To move forward feel emotions and understand why you are upset in the first place. Let the tears come until you can cry no more, or scream into a pillow until the frustration ebbs away. Let it all out in order to let go of the past and live a happy life.

Read these tips on why it’s ok to cry.

Don’t let negative thoughts cloud your mind

Allow yourself to express your emotions, but don’t dwell on them. Negative thinking is unproductive as it distracts you from the positives in life and makes it harder to let go of the past. Negative thoughts plague your mind with self-sabotaging thoughts, denying you your right to live a happy life.

When a negative thought crosses your mind, steer your mind away from it. Instead, look at the positives you have gained from an experience. Willie Nelson mentions the power of positive thinking perfectly:

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”

Learn from your experience

Take away the positives from past experiences. By learning from an experience, you learn more about yourself and what makes you happy. Perhaps you discovered you don’t like certain activities anymore, or you learned who your true friends were. Now you know not to participate in that activity, or to spend time with your true friends, leaving your toxic friends behind. Use these experiences to your advantage so you can learn more about what makes you happy in life.

Stop being the victim

When you get into the mind-set of the victim, you often find that all your thoughts lead back to past traumas. Your mind becomes plagued by these thoughts and you find yourself thinking that everything always goes wrong for you.

Of course this is not the case at all, because you are in control of your fate. You shouldn’t think because you have failed before, you will fail now. Instead, remember that you have control over your life and you don’t have to be the victim.

Don’t wait for an apology

“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for the experience.’” Oprah Winfrey

The best lesson you can learn in life is to forgive and forget. Maybe that other person was in the wrong, that he or she should apologize, but waiting for that apology isn’t going to help you. In the end the only one you will hurt is yourself because you aren’t letting go of the past.

Focus on moving forward, because what has happened is in the past . You could be waiting an eternity for that apology and wasting your time hung up. Don’t let someone else’s mistakes stop you from living a happy life.

Expand your view of yourself

You’ve confronted your past and moved on, so now is the time to avert attention to yourself. This is the time to get to know yourself better, to learn what makes you happy. Go out and take part in new activities, don’t be afraid to take risks and learn what experiences you are passionate about. Understanding who you are and what you want out of life will make you happier in the long run.

Forget the past and live in the moment

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” Buddha

One of my all-time favorite sayings is “Live in the moment.” It follows the concept that you should live in the present, not in the past. You won’t gain anything from looking back at the past, because what has happened cannot be changed. So don’t look back at the past, look to the present, the moment you are in now. You won’t live this minute again, which is why you should make the most of it. Be present in this very moment by looking around you. Take in what people are saying as well as focusing on yourself and what you are doing.

Finally, leave the past behind you, that has happened and you can’t change it. Focus now on the present moment and your own happiness. Choosing to be positive will open you up to a life of happiness.

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Featured photo credit: imcookiemonster via flickr.com

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