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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

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

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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.

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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.[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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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More About Letting Go

Featured photo credit: Havilah Galaxy via unsplash.com

Reference

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

More by this author

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 November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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