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Published on September 9, 2019

How to Stop Dwelling on the Past and Move on for Good

How to Stop Dwelling on the Past and Move on for Good

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.

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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.[1] 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.

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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.

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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.

Final Thoughts

“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

Reference

[1] Hopkins Medicine: Forgiveness: Your Health Depends on It

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Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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“Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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