How To Leave The Past Behind And Set Yourself Free: The 7-Step Guide

In today’s article you’re going to learn everything you need to know about how to leave the past behind. Look at your past for a moment. What do you see? Is it a source of strength and useful experience for you, or is it a source of recurring pain and suffering?

When I work with people, I encounter this problem quite often: “These memories keep coming back”, “I regret what I did a few years ago”, “How do I stop thinking about it? Fortunately, you can deal with unpleasant memories in a very easy way – and with this article you will learn how to do it.

How old are you? Even if you’re still young, you’ve probably been through a lot in your life. Let me guess – some moments were pleasant, wonderful, worth remembering. But there were also moments that you don’t want to remember. Which memories take up more space in your head?

There are people in this world who focus all their attention only on those unpleasant experiences from their past. The more they want to forget about them, the more powerfully they come back.

They experienced something unpleasant once, and then they experience it again and again, every day thinking about what happened to them once. They spend their whole lives thinking about the events of their past!

Completely as if they were driving a car and all the time they were looking only in a mirror. Driving in this way, not only will they never reach their destination, but they will also crash into a tree or collide with another car at the first opportunity. A mirror is very useful… but only and exclusively to look into it from time to time and find what you need. However, most of the time you have to look ahead. Only then will you get where you want to go.

This article is a guide on to how to deal with negative memories from the past. It is time to free yourself from them and give yourself the opportunity to live this life in full happiness, striving to achieve what you have planned. To begin with, I want you to understand a few things.

Remember what you did yesterday at this hour. Recalling this memory, you probably have a picture in your head. When did this image appear? Here and now. So does the past exist somewhere else than in your head? No. The past is only an image – a mental creation, a cluster of images, sounds and feelings. Just like a recording on a video tape. Is what is on the video recording true? No, it is just a reflection of reality. It is not reality itself.

The past doesn’t exist. There is only a record of it in your head, in the form of multi-sensual memories. So why should you worry so much about something that’s already gone? What doesn’t really exist? Why would you waste your life focusing your attention on a tape with a piece of the past written on it?

Think about how many useless tapes you have that you keep coming back to. Put them aside, or you’d still be experiencing these negative emotions, doing what’s long overdue once again.

You can look at your past from different perspectives. You can describe it as a heavy burden that you have to bear for the rest of your life. Or as a useful baggage of experience, from which you will draw wisdom when you need it. You can treat the events of the past as a source of priceless learning, which will help you in every life situation.

I often meet people who regret what they have done in their past. I ask them then: “Would you like to be in a different place in your life than you are now? In most cases, the answer is “No”. I tell them that every single element of their past life has made them where they are now. Appreciate every experience from your past, because even the unpleasant ones are a valuable source of knowledge and skills for you.

Recently I talked to a businessman who told me about how he had been robbed of a lot of money by his partner. For a long time he could not accept it, he felt very angry and wanted to take revenge on that person. Finally, after some time, he said that he had enough of this suffering. He decided to do something about his view of the situation. And he started telling me now he sees it as one of the best lessons in his life. He is even grateful to the person who stole from him, because thanks to him now he selects more carefully co-workers and cares more about safety, thanks to which his business grows much faster.

You can change every memory this way. Everything is a matter of how you look at a particular situation. From a different perspective, you will feel completely different emotions. Choose the perspective that is best for you. Change your way of seeing certain situations and you will free yourself from suffering.

Ask yourself questions: Was what happened surely something wrong? What good can this experience do me in life? What good have I learned? The answers will come for sure, and this is the moment when you start to change your way of thinking about the past.

Remember that freeing yourself from unpleasant memories does not mean erasing them from your life. They are somehow part of who you are and you don’t have to forget about where you came from and how you became who you are. Your task is only to gain distance to what happened in the past – so as to free yourself from the negative influence of these memories. The point is to learn to look at these situations from the past without thinking “but it was terrible”, but “what can I learn from it? If you get rid of this unpleasant influence, it will be much easier for you to draw on the experiences you have accumulated over the years.

When you understand all this, it suddenly turns out that the chances of all people are equal. It doesn’t matter what your past is. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, it matters where you’re going. Where you grew up, what childhood you had, what parents you had, and what school you went to, doesn’t have to influence who you will be tomorrow.

It is essential to know that the past does not have to be equal to the future.

You always make decisions about your future here and now. Make these decisions bearing in mind the lessons of experience, but above all, thinking about who you want to be in a week, a month, a year, a year.

There is one exercise in NLP that will ultimately allow you to deal with any negative memories. By doing this, you’ll be able to start over by leaving what you have behind you and finally looking ahead with your head up.

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It is best to write on a sheet of paper all the memories (in the form of words – keys) that you are able to extract from your memory. All the thoughts about the past that come back causing unpleasant emotions in you. Then take one memory after another, using the following technique on each of them. It is important that you rewrite every negative memory, creating a freeing yourself once and for all from the returning past in your mind.

How To Leave The Past Behind

1. Identify the memory you want to work on.

If it is an experience that has happened more than once, choose a memory that corresponds to the first time you have experienced it in your life. Close your eyes and imagine the situation very carefully. Feel it as well as you can, evoking all the unpleasant emotions.

2. Break the state

Think about something completely unrelated to that situation. Count the pens on your desk, check your mail, do something else.

3. Now consider what resource you would need in that situation so that it would be a satisfying experience rather than an unpleasant one?

Resource, i.e. emotional state, ability or conviction. Perhaps the feeling of trust, being loved, self-confidence, knowing that the other person had good intentions? Choose a resource that, if you had it in this situation, would completely change the perception of this event.

4. Think about whether you have had a situation in your life in which you have had this resource fully and completely?

Choose a specific memory that will bring the desired state to mind. Close your eyes and remember exactly what you saw, heard and felt then. Feel this memory and evoke the emotions that accompanied it. Once you have felt it to the maximum, anchor this state.

5. When you do this, break the state again, then close your eyes and return to your negative memory.

Now, however, see them in dissociation, i.e. from the perspective of the observer. Release the anchor with a positive resource and look at yourself and the whole situation from the side. See how your behaviour changes when you already have the condition you needed. How the whole situation changes, the behaviour of other people present there and your perception of the situation. Release the anchor.

6. Now go back to the beginning of the situation again

Look at it again, this time being encouraged – looking at the situation from the perspective of your own eyes. Recharge the positive anchor and see what happens when you have the resources you need. What changes in your perception of the situation, how your behaviour changes and the behaviour of others. Give yourself a moment to watch the situation to the end and then let go of the anchor.

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7. Check the effects.

Recall a memory without firing the anchor and watch how the memory has changed. If you are not satisfied with the change, go back to step 3 and go through the process again, this time choosing a different resource. If the negative emotions have disappeared, congratulations!

Once you’ve processed all your unpleasant memories in this way, you’ll be ready to go one step further. If you really want to go back to your past in your thoughts, just remember the positive moments – the moments that give you joy and energy. And best of all, move most of your thinking into the present and the future.

Start living in the here and now, this attitude will give you more motivation to act and more pleasure to experience every day!

Thank you for reading this article about how to leave the past behind and I really hope that you take action my advice. I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here