If you have ever found yourself reliving a traumatic event or holding on to a relationship that needs to be released, you may need to learn how to let go. Letting go can be hard. Whether it’s relationships or friendships, past mistakes, a job, a loved one who has passed on, or even your ego, attachments are like addictions; they’re tough to kick.
When you spend time dwelling on the past, you block many new and exciting opportunities. In order to welcome those opportunities into your life, you need to release your grip on things that have happened in the past. This simple act creates space in your life and your heart for new people and experiences to enter.
When you hold on to past experiences, you create a negative energetic charge. Everything is energy and as we know from the Law of Attraction – like attracts like. The negative feelings you have about not wanting to release your hold on the past generate more of the same, and you become out of alignment with your dreams and desires.
Letting go with gratitude creates a positive energetic charge. It raises your energetic vibration and brings you into alignment with your goals and aspirations. You will find that many wonderful things manifest when you become a pro at letting go.
Seven Ways to Let Go of the Past
Here are our top seven ways to help you let go with grace and ease, and show you that there is strength and wisdom to be found in the process of letting go and releasing your grip on the past.
1: Practice Radical Forgiveness
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”— Lewis B. Smedes
Radical forgiveness is a powerful way to cut ties with past trauma. Whether you need to forgive yourself or somebody else, forgiveness holds so much therapeutic power.
It takes a huge amount of energy to hold a grudge against someone and to maintain feelings of guilt and anger toward yourself. That energy is negatively charged and will draw more negativity into your life. You can put your energy to much better use elsewhere if you decide to give up unforgiveness.
Forgiving someone can be tricky, but the thing to remember is that everyone essentially wants the same things. We all want to feel safe, loved, valued, and needed. We all have egos that step in when we feel threatened in some way. And we all make mistakes. We are all suffering in more ways than one.
Our past traumas and experiences shape our reactions. The person who hurt you most likely didn’t do it on purpose, and they may have acted that way because of their own past trauma and learned reactions. Radical forgiveness is much easier when you can think about the person through the lens of compassion. They are suffering, and not forgiving them means that you are suffering too.
2: Burn Your Baggage
I don’t mean set fire to your suitcases here! I am referring to a ritual for releasing trauma to let go of the emotional ties that bind you to your past. Gather together the following items:
- Fireproof bowl
- Lighter or matches
Sit in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. Begin the ritual with a few minutes of your favorite meditation to ground and center you. Next, write down everything that is weighing you down from your past. Include people who have hurt you, experiences you found difficult, and situations you feel have prevented you from achieving your goals. Write it all down without censoring. Pour your trauma out of your heart and onto the page.
When you have finished writing, sit with your pages for a minute or two in silence as you prepare to let go of it all. When you feel ready, set fire to the pages. Watch as the fire purifies the trauma and erases the words from your life. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions arise.
You may feel elated, relieved, and you may even feel a sense of grief as your heart releases those traumas to which you have become so attached. Even negative things can feel like a loss, especially if we have held them for a long time and have allowed them to become part of our identity. That is part of what letting go means – realizing that we are not our experiences or emotions, and they do not define us.
3: Ask Your Higher Self for Guidance
It is empowering to realize that you already have the answers you seek. They are within your higher self. You can access this inner wisdom through meditation. If you enjoy guided meditations, check out the one I have on Insight Timer. If you prefer to read, here is a simplified version:
- Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
- Bring your awareness to your breath as you allow your body to relax.
- When you feel calm and grounded, visualize yourself in a place of natural beauty. Wherever makes you feel most inspired. For me, it’s a secluded beach in Barbados that my husband and I visited for a romantic picnic on our honeymoon.
- Bring the scene to life in as much detail as possible and enjoy the feeling of this magical place.
- You notice a figure off in the distance. As you move closer, you realize the person looks familiar.
- As you approach each other, you see that the figure is you. It’s your higher self. Your higher self speaks to you and invites you to ask whatever questions are on your mind. You can use this meditation for any issues you are dealing with, but for the purpose of this topic, you will ask your higher self to help you let go of the thing that’s tying you to the past.
- Listen carefully to the answer you receive. It may come as words, images, or simply a feeling. Thank your higher self and gently bring yourself out of the meditation.
If you don’t receive an answer straight away during the meditation, be alert for it over the next few days. Your higher self may show you your answer by bringing a snippet of text, speech, or song lyrics to your attention. Keep an open mind and look out for signs and synchronicities.
4: Magical Mindfulness
It may sound obvious, but one of the easiest ways to stop worrying is to be totally in the present moment. Anger, sorrow, and resentment all stem from dwelling in the past. Worry comes from projecting into the future – an imagined future that hasn’t happened yet. When we are 100% present in this moment, we do not have those negative feelings because in the present moment, the issues do not exist.
When you find yourself caught up in negative feelings, realize that you are either dwelling in the past or projecting into the future. Bring your attention back to the here and now to release those emotions.
A practical mindfulness method is to become aware of your body and breath. Explore where you can feel the breath in your body. How do your clothes feel against your skin? What about the pressure of the surface that supports you? The temperature of the air? Feel all of these sensations fully, and then move on to all the sounds you can hear.
Mindfulness is a tried and tested method for overcoming anxiety and trauma, so give it a go next time you feel that your past is weighing you down and you are unable to let go.
5: Look for the Lessons
You may have trouble moving on because you haven’t integrated the lessons that your past experiences were there to teach you. There is no such thing as a mistake in life because each perceived mistake was a learning point for your personal or spiritual growth.
Your soul chose this time, place, and these experiences because it needed to learn these lessons to progress and evolve. If you find yourself repeating the same ‘mistakes’ over and over, or are unable to let go of a ‘mistake’ you made, it’s time to examine the situation and explore the lessons you have missed. When you realize what the lessons are and integrate them, you can look upon them with gratitude.
Be grateful for your hurts, mistakes, and setbacks, because they are the only things that facilitate growth. If we floated through life like a feather on the breeze with no obstacles, we would have no opportunities to become a better, wiser, stronger person.
6: Ask Goddess Kali to Help You
Often seen as a fearsome and destructive force, Goddess Kali is actually the perfect deity to help you let go of the past. Known as the Goddess of time, creation, and destruction, Kali can destroy the obstacles that prevent you from moving forward, including the cords of attachment that bind you to the past.
Goddess Kali is the supreme power of nature and the universe. She is the ever-changing phenomenon that manifests life and death. In this case, life and death mean the ending of one chapter in your life and the opening of the next exciting episode.
You can invoke Goddess Kali through meditation, similar to the one where you met your higher self. This time, imagine it is Kali you meet in your special place and ask her to free you from your attachments.
You can also chant the Goddess Kali mudra: Om Kreem Kalikayai Namaha.
Set yourself up as you would for meditation. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Play some ambient music if you prefer that to silence. Chant the mantra on your exhalation, and continue for as long as feels good. Infuse the mantra with your intentions of removing all obstacles to letting go and moving forward. Focus your attention on the resonance of the mantra within your body – this is the invocation of the Kali energy mixing with your own vibrational frequency. If you would like to listen to a recording to hear what the mantra sounds like, try this one.
7: Remember That You Can Let Go and Still Care
Cutting ties from a person does not have to mean that you don’t care about them anymore. It doesn’t mean that you have to completely disregard all of your past shared experiences. It is still possible to have a relationship with someone and let go of your attachment to them. Severing your emotional ties to the person means cutting the cords that bound you to them in an unhealthy or toxic way. It doesn’t mean you must never see them again.
Clearing these toxic ties paves the way for a healthy and supportive relationship to develop whatever connection you have with that person. We humans often make the mistake of ‘all or nothing’ thinking. We tend to be creatures of extremes. But in reality, nothing is ever really that clear cut, and we are too emotionally complex for it to work that way.
Instead, let go with love: see it as a way to practice self-love, and love for the other person. It takes so much more maturity and strength to release attachments and unhealthy bonds than it does to hold on to them. Let go and release with compassion and respect for everyone involved.
There are many ways in which we can choose to let go of the past. Once we realize that our past experiences and emotions do not define us and that we can let go and still care, we can begin to look for the lessons that we might have missed. Saying goodbye to the past means opening to new opportunities, and we must make space for these to manifest.
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