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Last Updated on March 8, 2019

7 Ways To Let Go Of The Past And Live A Happy Life

7 Ways To Let Go Of The Past And Live A Happy Life

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Featured photo credit: imcookiemonster via flickr.com

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Jessica Charlotte

Jessica loves sharing her tips on life. She writes about happiness and motivation on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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