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6 Steps for Letting Go of the Past

Holding on to the negative feelings and past circumstances may have become a habit for you.

“Holding on to negative feelings and past circumstances is like placing a lock on your soul.” — Charles Glassman

This quote can mean many things. It can be holding a grudge, harboring resentment, or simply playing the woulda’, coulda’, shouldas over and over again in your brain.

The way I see it, replaying negative events, feeling, and thoughts become, simply, another habit; an activity with which we have become familiar and comfortable. Even if the circumstances were good, continuing to replay them will surely stunt one’s growth and interfere with your ability to create more enjoyable circumstances, as you habitually live in the glory of the past. Our primitive nature, controlled by our automatic brain—the AB—will cause us to fight or flee anything that it processes as dangerous, threatening, or that which makes us feel vulnerable. And that goes with habits. Even if the habits are self-destructive, this brain will force us into them because they are known, familiar, and strangely comfortable. That is what your AB does; that is what my AB does.

Holding on to the negative feelings and past circumstances may have become a habit for you.

And if this habit is controlling your life then it means that you unknowingly are taking direction from your AB. This brain will have you fighting and fleeing right back to the regret and torment each time you begin to move forward. This often shows itself in anger, rage, anxiety (fight reactions) or depression (flight reactions).

And what does that cause? Each time we believe, trust, and take direction from our AB it further distances us from our soul, our mind, our divine nature. This is a part of us that is ever-present, yet locked by the constant activity of, and our belief in, our AB.  Naturally this is not great for our health and certainly not for our life.

So, how do we unlock access to our soul and begin living the life that is right for us.

Action is the most powerful tool to achieve this. Self-talk and affirmations are effective, but taking action and showing yourself that it is safe to trust your soul will shortcut your results. How do you do that?

Here are the six steps to get you started:

  1. On awakening each day, decide on and write down one action step you are going to take.
  2. That action step is either something you have never done before, or something you have done before, but in a different way. (this could be starting a journal, for instance, or apologizing to someone, when that is not something you typically do)
  3. Pick one day a week, and on that day, for every time you refer to the past, place in a jar a dollar amount with which it is not so easy for you to part.
  4. At the end of each week, reevaluate how you are moving on. Use the contents of the jar to reward you for moving past major blocks.
  5. Whenever you find yourself kind of getting lost in the trance of mulling over the past, to snap out of it, you have to distract yourself. Get up, go outside for a walk, put on music from the present day, or do something creative (or work on your hobby).
  6. Look for at least one person you can help each day. Doing something for someone else, not only serves to distract your preoccupation with the past, but it also gives purpose to your present.
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Charles F. Glassman

Dr. Charles F. Glassman, aka Coach MD, is a medical doctor, thought leader, & author who has learned that true holistic care arises when we balance mind, body, & spirit.

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