COUNSELLING BLOG

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How to Leave the Past Behind

When you’re feeling overwhelmed with your sadness and loss, it’s hard to believe that your life will ever change, or you’ll ever be able to smile or laugh again. But the truth is you will – it won’t always be this bad – and there are things you can do help move on with your life:

1. Decide to face your pain. An unresolved past never really goes away. You may think you have buried your anger and pain but the hurt is still there and it will surface later on. If you don’t face what happened, and the feelings it unleashed, you will end up being ruled by your subconscious mind. So try and find the courage to revisit all the pain.  

2. Accept there’s nothing you can do to change the past. What’s happened has happened, and what’s done is done. There’s nothing you can do to turn back the hands of time, or to rewrite the story so the ending’s happier. But you can change how you think, and you can start over again, and build a different future that’s not poisoned by the past.

3. Be grateful for the good times. There’s usually something good that you can be thankful for. You don’t have to pretend that everything was bad – or write off any good times and happy memories.

4. Consciously let go and set your focus on the future - Don’t let the baggage, or the failures of the past, affect your identity or self esteem. You are NOT what you did, or how you acted previously. You’re not just a product of what happened to you. You are valuable, unique and you have so much to give. You’re the author of your future; you control your destiny.   

5. Remove your past from your future. We all have a tendency to think that the past will morph into our future – and become our lot in life. But that doesn’t have to happen. The future’s a blank page. You can change your expectations – and work towards those goals. Instead, look hard for the exceptions – the times when things went right – and notice what you did that resulted in success. You still have those same strengths, skills and great qualities.

6. Be realistic and take small steps at first. You can’t snap your fingers - and find that life has changed. Accept it will take time, and you will still have some bad days – but if you keep on going then the past will lose its grip.

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