Continuing to hold on to past pain will drain you of energy, take over your thoughts and prevent you from moving forward, says Matthew James, a psychologist and author of "What Everybody Ought to Know About Forgiveness" on the Psychology Today website. Letting go of your past hurt is vital to moving forward with your life. Despite whether your partner betrayed you, let you down or inadvertently hurt you, letting go of past hurt can be difficult.
Recognize the Fear
It's common for a person to have a difficult time letting go of the past due to fear and uncertainty, says Melanie Greenberg, a licensed clinical psychologist and author of "Why Letting Go Of the Past Is So Difficult" on the Marin Psychologist website. Letting go of the past can be hard when you are afraid the past might repeat itself. For example, if your partner cheated on you, you might harbor a fear that he will do it again. To move forward and let your past hurt go, recognize that you have to face risk and uncertainty and live your life in the present, says Greenberg.
Learn From the Past
Fixating on the past won't help you move forward. It will keep you stuck. Rather than continue to think about what has transpired, change your thought process by reflecting on what you have learned from the situation, suggests Eileen Flanagan, author of "The Wisdom to Know the Difference," interviewed in the article "5 Clues You Should Be Letting Go Of Something" on the PsychCentral website. For example, if your significant other lied to you, think through how you contributed to the situation. Perhaps you tend to overreact or be jealous. Acknowledging how your actions contributed to your partner's actions can help you empathize with your partner, encourage you to face your own issues and be the catalyst for moving forward.
Forgive Your Partner
Offering forgiveness can help you let go of past hurt. When you forgive someone, it's about releasing yourself from the pain someone else caused you, says Tonya Ladipo, a licensed clinical social worker and author of "Forgiveness is a Journey, Not a Destination" on the GoodTherapy.org website. According to Ladipo, an important step of forgiveness is recognizing the intensity of the pain that you were caused. Cry, vent to a friend or scream into a pillow if it helps you confront your pain. It's also important to consider how your pain has affected other areas of your life, says Ladipo. For instance, your schoolwork, a job or your relationships with others may have suffered as a result of your pain. Be patient with yourself as you work through the process of forgiveness, because it doesn't happen overnight.
Consider Saying Goodbye
If you can't let go of something, it may indicate a need for change, says Flanagan. You might have to take a hard look at yourself and your relationship and decide whether it's time to part ways. For example, if you can't accept that your boyfriend lied to you, forgive him and work on rebuilding the trust, your relationship isn't going to work. At times, a person can't let go without taking action, says Flanagan. Unfortunately, sometimes that means letting go of the one who caused you pain.
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