Letting Go of the past ...

Have you ever met someone who seems stuck in the past? They're obsessed with the wrongs that were done to them, even if it was years ago, and seem incapable of moving on. Or they think nostalgically of someone they loved and lost. Indeed, we may all live in the past to some extent. But since the past is behind us, there's little point in dwelling on it too much. If you're finding it hard to let go of the past, here are some tips to help …

1. It's Gone, and It's Not Coming Back

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The past is behind us, and we can't go back there. Life is a one-way trip, and you can only go forwards. So however much you think fondly of the past - and memories are very important to us - there's no sense in living there. Accept that the past has gone, and it's not coming back.

2. It's a Waste of Time

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It's really such a waste of time to live in the past. I knew someone who was very stuck there, always complaining about what had happened in the past and blaming them for everything that had gone wrong in his life. I fear he'll always be like that, and it's a sad waste of a life. Enjoying the present is a much better way to spend your life. We only get one shot at this, so make the most of it.

3. Rose-Tinted Glasses

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Nostalgia can be dangerous, since it's not always very accurate. When you think of the past, are you remembering it as it really was? Or is your memory being selective and only giving you a rose-tinted version? Help yourself to let go by being honest and looking at the past from a more frank perspective.

4. Regret is Pointless, Looking Forward is Much More Productive

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You get absolutely nowhere if you live in the past. It's so much more productive if you look forward. Make the most of the life you're living right now, rather than hanging on to old memories and wishing that you'd done things differently. You did what you did for a reason, so forgive yourself and move forwards. Nobody gets it all right.

5. Bad Things Happen to Good People

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Yes, bad things do happen to good people. It may not be fair, but then life isn't always fair. Do your best to accept that you've had rotten things happen to you in the past. Although you may not forget that they happened, you can choose how you see them or how you let them affect you now.

6. Forgiveness is Liberating

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Even if people were mean to you in the past, you can still bounce back by forgiving them. It's not so much for their benefit as for yours. Even if it's only in your mind, forgiveness allows you to let go of what happened and move forwards. It's truly liberating when you realise that those events no longer have the same power over you.

7. Counseling Can Be Invaluable

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If you're really having issues about what happened in the past, consider counseling. It can really be invaluable to help you deal with the past and move on to lead a happier life. Counseling can be hard work, but if you're committed to moving on it's worth the effort.

Do you think we can ever forget the past - or should we always remember it?

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