How to Let Go of the Past and Be Happy?

Written by: Vasundhara Shukla – M.Phil
(Psychology)

Last updated date : September 16, 2022

Table of Contents
Article title – Low self esteem
  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. Chapter 5
  6. Chapter 6
  7. Chapter 7
  8. Chapter 8

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Very few experiences are as painful as dealing with a broken heart. It can become a challenge to move on from the emotionally heavy experience of ending a relationship so much so that some people struggle with the memories and feelings they have towards their ex-partner many years after the end of the relationship as well. In this article, we will talk about why we struggle to let go of the past, especially in a romantic relationship. And we will also discuss ways to let go of the past and be happy.

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Chapter 1:
Why are we not Able to Let Go of a Past Relationship?

Separating from someone you love and care about can be a tough and time taking process. It involves the painstaking process of cutting attachment ties with your former partner. Here are some reasons why cutting ties becomes a challenge-

Extension of identity

One or both partners feel that the relationship is a part of their identity. Being in the relationship makes you feel worthy and loved and imagining a future without the partner seems impossible. People often think of partners as a unit but it is necessary to remember that that unit comprises f two people who might have different attitudes, beliefs, and goals.

Self-growth happens when both partners realize that they need to be compatible rather than similar. After a breakup, it becomes difficult for both people to disengage from each other for their needs.

Contact 

If you are in contact with your ex-partner, it will be very difficult to move on from the relationship. You might keep hoping that the person will come back and will be waiting for the person. This will come in the way of moving on and being happy.

Closure 

Just as any chapter of a book seems empty without a proper conclusion, similarly when a relationship ends suddenly we are not able to make sense of the ending. When we are aware in advance that the relationship is not going well and it might end, we are better prepared to let go. If the breakup springs up as a surprise, it is difficult to move on because one partner has not gotten closure.

Perception of the ex-partner

If you see your ex-partner as an excellent person and you remember all the good times, you will have more problems in moving on. This is because you are seeing the bond through rose-tinted glasses and ignoring the red flags.

Grief

After a break up it is important to give yourself time to grieve. This allows you to come to terms with the ending and accept the relationship for what it was. At first, the relationship might seem perfect but after some time when you give a closer look, you will notice that it had its issues. You will take time to come to accept these issues and their role in the breakup.

Future 

Most of us imagine a future with our partners which makes us invested in the relationship. After a breakup, the idea of that future also crumbles with the relationship. It is saddening to see hopes and dreams getting shattered because of the beak up. This can also play a role in slowing the process of moving on. There is uncertainty about the future and that is why we might try to cling to the past.

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Chapter 2:
Steps to Let Go of the Past and Be Happy

Here are some steps you can follow to make the process of letting go easier and moving on to a happier tomorrow –

The decision of Breaking Up

The first step is to be sure that you want to separate from your partner. Weigh in the pros and cons and take a final call. There may be times when you might not think this is a good idea but remind yourself of the reasons why you are taking this step.

Know What Stops You

You might remember the good times when you decide to separate. You might have feelings and thoughts that discourage you to break up and move on. Try to slow down and understand what these thoughts are and why are they occurring. You might uncover some beliefs that subtly make you choose a certain type of people as partners or see relationship patterns that lead to separation.

Express Your Feelings 

Expression of feelings is important to help you process everything that has been going on in your mind. Talk to someone whom you trust and discuss your feelings and thoughts. Bottling things inside might also lead to even more loneliness and sadness. People around you might not be able to give solutions to make you feel better immediately but letting things out can help you keep a clearer head and work on what makes you happy.

Give Yourself Time

Rushing yourself to find a quick fix for the intense emotions you are feeling will not yield positive results in the long run. The pain might be too much to bear sometimes but there is no way that these feelings will disappear suddenly. There is not enough distraction that will keep these at bay. The most you can do is to let the emotional storm pass, regardless of the time it takes. It is also not necessary that everyone grieves for a set time. Don’t compare your experiences with others.

Self Compassion

Showing kindness to yourself when it is needed the most. Be patient with the feelings and thoughts that you have during this difficult period. You can practice self-compassion by being mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Slow down and think about what you are thinking and the reasons why this is happening. It can lead to more self-knowledge and help you understand yourself better.

Deal with Loneliness 

After break-ups comes a period of loneliness. It is difficult to handle it if being with your thoughts seems like a punishment. But if you practice mindfulness and accept thoughts as they come for what they are without dwelling on them, it becomes easier to handle loneliness. It is tempting to run away from feeling lonely but that would only be temporary. Find ways to be okay on your own and if that seems like a very tough thing to do, you can consider seeking help from a mental health professional.

Finally, focus on the here and now and treat yourself with care so that you can heal from the past. Only when you process the past can you let go of the past and be happy. Most of us can have a delicate state of mind after the end of a relationship. It might be a phase during which we experience difficult and unpleasant emotions. Emotions like anger, anxiety, and sadness can come in between our attempts to reconnect with others. Please consider enrolling in our online courses like ‘DBT for anger‘, and ‘DBT for Social anxiety’ for developing an understanding of these emotions and handling them in a systematic, structured way. You can click Courses on the navigation bar to register and follow these courses.

Reviews 4.1

Learn evidence-based scientific ways to build self-esteem In this six

51 Lessons

12 hours

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

€9.00 €12.00

25% discount