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When You Start to Let Go of Your Past, These 10 Things Will Happen

When You Start to Let Go of Your Past, These 10 Things Will Happen

We have all experienced the loss of something significant that has caused us great sadness and pain. Maybe you are holding on to a relationship you know in your heart is not healthy, hoping it will turn back into how things were in the beginning, before all the pain and hurt.

Starting to let go of your past in relationships, or anything significant, is one of the hardest things you will experience in life. We are comfortable with the known, and we will often choose known suffering over an uncertain future. We resist change and hold onto the past often long after it has quit serving us.

So, maybe you need a push to view letting go of your past in a new light. Below are ten wonderful things that will happen to you once you start to let go of your past.

Notice the phrase “start to let go of your past.” Letting go is a process that takes time. But the sooner you move through the process of letting go of what is hurting you, the sooner better days are to come for you!

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1. You will realize a new positive version of yourself.

“I use memories, but I will not allow memories to use me.” – Deepak Chopra

Our brains are fascinating combinations of pure miracle, computer processor and organ tissues. But did you know that the memories that you hold are not necessarily all that accurate? Did you know that your memories can actually be altered and defined by you today? You have the power through what you choose to focus on to change your future. When we are experiencing a negative aspect of life, our brains scan the past looking for similar memories to match up with this, confirming the current negativity. That voice that says “You always end up in these bad relationships. Why do you always do this?” That comes from this filtering and matching process. Once you let go of what is hurting you, your mind and memories will work on creating a powerful new positive version of your life.

2. You will make room for the new.

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle

When you keep replaying the past you are forfeiting your present. Once you decide to let go of the past, however, you become  drawn towards new goals, new visions and new people that will lead you to an exciting fresh chapter of growth in your life. Our lives our not meant to be static. Change does happen for a reason, and the less resistance you create against change, more growth is available for you. Think of the process as a tree that has to drop it’s leaves and become bare. The reason the tree is stripped down to it’s core is the miraculous coming of Spring. New growth that is powerful, beautiful and necessary for that tree’s survival follows the winter. No, we are not trees. But we are living the same type of growth and rebirth cycle all through our lives. Embrace the truth of this, and come to peace with it. Think back over your life. How many changes did you despise at the time that you now can look back on with appreciation for how they helped you grow?

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3. You will handle new obstacles with grace.

“The past should be a learning experience not an everlasting punishment. What’s done is done.” – Unknown

Once you move through a difficulty life has thrown at you, it will enable you to handle the next one with even more grace and ease. It’s a learned skill to let go of your past and move on. Think back to how difficult break-ups were early in life. If you’ve had some dating experience, the ability to let go and move on gets easier. Trusting yourself gets easier the more you experience it. Future change and more experiences that require letting go lie ahead guaranteed. The more practiced and comfortable we are with this process, the more we will grow gracefully.

4. You will learn to love yourself first.

We all want to feel loved in our relationships. But the key to feeling loved is actually to love yourself first. No amount of actions or absence of actions or words of another can fix a lack of love for yourself. We stay in relationships that are not great for us because we are searching for something outside of ourselves when we really need to be finding that inside ourselves first. Turn inward during this time of letting go.

5. You will inspire others.

Without even knowing it, you will touch and inspire others. When I meet smiling, kind-hearted, generous, tender souls that I know have gone through great loss, I am always awed in their presence. These people are proof positive that recovery can, and does, occur if you let it. When you let go of your past you will own that as a part of who you are and positively show others in your life how to let go with grace. Early in my life, I experienced an abusive relationship. I don’t enjoy revisiting those memories. But I do so if I feel it will help another in need and inspire them to think differently.

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6. You will grow closer to your destiny.

We are all here for a purpose. Every experience, each hardship, every burden, even all our hurts have shaped and formed us into who we are supposed to be at this very moment. We are each here to balance out the universe in a very unique, and intricate, way that only we can fulfill. All of your experiences are creating the very fiber of your being, bringing you closer to what you came here to learn. Believe that each learning experience is meant to draw you closer to learning your life lesson. It is not necessary that we view each experience as positive or negative, but each experience is necessary for our growth to unfold.

7. You will naturally attract what you need.

“Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.” – Bryant H. McGill

The piece of your past that no longer fits in your life came to you at a time when you were a much different person than who you are today. Are you the same person now that you were ten years ago? No, you are a vastly different person right now. You send off different vibrations than who you were before did. Who you are now will naturally draw to you exactly the situation, the person, and the future that you need right now. Know that, trust in that and step into that in faith. What you need will come to you at exactly the right time for you.

8. You will realize that YOU are really all you need.

“You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.” – Eckhart Tolle

Being in a blissful, supportive, loving relationship is wonderful, but do you really think that is the only path to happiness? Look around you. Who do you know who is not in a relationship that seems to have it all together? What do they do differently? They find joy in themselves, their interests, and build a life not dependent on someone else. There is a difference between love and attachment. When we become attached and dependent on another for our own well being and happiness that is not love. Love is without attachment and dependency. Love yourself as much as you love another, and your relationship outcomes will naturally become more positive.

9. You will grow in your empathy for others.

In addition to inspiring others, you will become more in-tune with other’s pain. When we ourselves have experienced pain, loss and disappointment, that enables us to see the same in others. You will have the heart to notice the young girl you work with who is in the midst of an unhealthy relationship. You will have the experience and empathy to feel her pain and to offer support. You have been changed by your experience into a more advanced, soulful person who now can help others with what you’ve learned. We are all here to help each other on this journey and lean on each other for support.

10. You will know in your heart what is good for you.

“Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly, it reminds us that we know that we could do better.” – Kathryn Schultz

At the end of a relationship we experience things that just aren’t good for us. These can be things inflicted by others that we know are against our core values, or they can be things we put upon ourselves. When we don’t receive the love and support we are looking for, we can turn bitter and angry. When we hold onto grief, we can punish ourselves with guilt. We can only hold onto bitterness, anger, and grief for so long before we have to let go of the pain. We know these burdens are poisoning our heart, and robbing our soul of the joy it needs to thrive. So we must learn to feel what is good for us more fully. That is how we learn to go forward and do better, live better, choose better.

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I would love to hear your insights as to what letting go has taught you, and any positive growth you have to share through learning to let go.

Featured photo credit: emprize via 123rf.com

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Dawn Hafner

Dawn is a Practical Life Coach who offers concrete tools to help people implement life changes.

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

The Importance of Living in the Moment

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

While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

Better Health

By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

Improve Your Relationships

Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

Greater Self-Control

You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

Why Do We Worry?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

Step 1: Overcome Worrying

In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

Calm Your Mind

When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

Racing Mind

Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

A Wandering Mind

From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

Outside Influences

Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

Understand Mindfulness

The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

Mindful Breathing

While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

Mindful Walking

Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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Mindful Eating

Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

Live in the present with mindful eating.

    Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

    So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

    • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
    • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
    • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

    You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

    Mindful Activities

    Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

    Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

    You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

    Final Thoughts

    Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

    Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

    Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

    The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

    More About Living in the Present

    Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

    Reference

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