To live a happy and fulfilling life, it’s important to learn how to let go of past failures (a.ka. feedback) and disappointments and not carry them with us into our future.

Hanging on to pain, bitterness and disappointment from a past conflict is a heavy burden. It affects your mood, attitude, relationships, job and all aspects of your life. Negativity eats away at your self-esteem and destroys the possibility of a life free from mental/emotional pain.

Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Your future doesn’t have to be a repetition of your past, regardless of what you’ve already been through. You can lay down your burdens. It’s okay for you to be free. In fact, you deserve it.

These five steps will help you move forward and find the freedom you need to begin living a fuller, more enjoyable life, regardless of what happened in your past:

  1. Talk about it. Discuss your past pain, fear, disappointment or trauma with a trusted friend, family member, coach, counselor, therapist or healer. Fully express the feelings associated with the situation in a safe and constructive way to release the bottled up emotions.
  • Until you really talk about the feelings connected to your past, you may not be able to move past them. Once you’ve spoken the words, you’re beginning to release them from your mind and heart.
  1. Use a journal. Writing in a journal is an excellent way to pour out your pain. A journal offers the safety of knowing your words are just for you and won’t be read by anyone else. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or even if the words follow a logical progression, simply write from the heart.
  • Physically writing your thoughts and feelings can release your emotions so you can move past them.
  1. Seek forgiveness. Many people misunderstand the meaning of forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what happened to you is unimportant or you’re saying it’s “okay.” In fact, forgiveness isn’t about the other person at all.Forgiveness simply means that you’ve made the choice to let go of the desire to exact revenge and punishment, and you’ve found closure within your heart and soul.
  • Forgiveness releases you from the burden of carrying the pain any longer. By choosing to forgive, you can stop thinking about the past so it won’t control your future.
  1. Seek professional guidance. You can choose to get help from a doctor, coach, therapist or healer.The people closest to us aren’t always the best choice to help us work through our pain. It may be difficult for us to fully open up about our deepest pain or it may be hard for them to step back far enough to help us through it.
  • Seeking guidance from a professional gives us the safety of relative anonymity, which can make it easier to share our challenges. Often others who can be more objective can help us see a new point of view, which can help us move forward.
  1. Use alternative therapies. There are many techniques you can use to help change your mindset, which can be instrumental in leaving the past behind.One method, known as EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique, uses the principles of acupuncture (without the needles) to help you take the “charge” out of your feelings. EFT is done by tapping with your fingertips on the meridian points in certain areas of your body.

Hanging onto past negativity isn’t necessary. Regardless of your history, you can learn to release it and move forward into a life filled with peace and joy. Find a method that works for you and begin, today, to let go of the past and move into the life you deserve.

Dr. Debi
Founder, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute