As human beings, we crave certainty – it’s one of our basic needs. When we hold on to past experiences, it’s because we believe it’s the only certain way to avoid future pain. We can never be sure about what the future holds, so we cling on to things that have already happened. However, choosing to live in the past can lead to suffering in its own way. We justify that we don’t need to learn how to let go of the past, because even if old memories are painful, at least we’re familiar with them. This mindset is dangerous, though, because the continuous pain that’s created from living in the past leads to continuous damage, which eventually creates prolonged suffering.
It’s time to find a reason to move forward. Think about your life as it stands now – can you really say you’ll be happy if you remain stuck in the past? What are the reasons that you HAVE to learn how to let go? Imagine the quality of your life if you stay fixated on the past – this wouldn’t benefit you in any way. Instead, envision what life will be like if you learn to let go. Think of all the ways you could learn to grow, and thereby improve the quality of your relationships and your life.
Once you have a clear sense of purpose in mind – the reason why you know it’s essential to move on from the past – you need to start identifying the emotional habits that are holding you back. When dealing with any type of life event, you settle into emotional habits. If you’ve developed negative emotional habits, you could be majorly impacting your life and preventing yourself from experiencing any future growth.
By identifying the ways that you emotionally process life events, you can begin to notice and eventually shift your conditioning to create a more positive, present experience. Emotions are like a muscle: You can train and improve upon them. When you catch yourself falling into a negative emotional habit, like turning to limiting beliefs or thoughts from your past, you can cut them off and switch gears.
Now that you’re aware of the negative beliefs that are keeping you stuck in the past, you can work on rebuilding positive ones. Choose to think positively in any situation – even if something negative has occurred. How can you reframe this moment so it feels like life is happening FOR you instead of TO you? How does this motivate you to look toward the future? Lastly, choose to surround yourself with positive people who live in the present moment. What are they doing differently? How do they encourage you to be in the present as well?
Your life is happening right here and now, so why would you want to remain caught up in the past? Learn to let go by identifying the negative habits that aren’t serving you, and work to surround yourself with people who value positivity. And remember, even though we all crave certainty in life, you won’t find it in the past. The only thing that’s certain is that time will continue marching forward, so try to enjoy each moment as it comes and you’ll experience a more joyful existence.
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Tony Robbins is a #1 New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. For more than 37 years, millions of people have enjoyed the warmth, humor and dynamic presentation of Mr. Robbins' corporate and personal development events. As the nation's #1 life and business strategist, he¹s called upon to consult and coach some of the world¹s finest athletes, entertainers, Fortune 500 CEOs, and even presidents of nations.