Letting go is often difficult, but there comes a time in life when we need it, for mere survival. If we are not able to turn the page, we’ll continue to drag that pain or resentment. We can not move forward because we will be emotionally tied. If we look back continuously, not able to let go the past, we can not enjoy the present and much less build the future. Therefore, one of the most valuable lessons we must learn is to close the circles of life. Only then we can continue opened up to new experiences.
Letting go of the past does not mean forgetting. Letting go implies only reducing the emotional impact of experiences, accepting them and move on. In fact, what happens with very intense emotional experiences, such as the loss of a loved one, a breakup of a relationship, a big mistake or a personal grievance, is that we do not fully assimilate them, so they do not become part of our life story but remain active in a part of our brain, reacting to any stimulus that reminds us what happened.
Quotes to let go of the past and live the present
- All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on – Havelock Ellis
Throughout life there are times when we must hold on to what we want with all our strength, but there are also times when we must let go the past and change course. The key for not shipwreck is to find a balance, knowing when the time has come to look forward and let go the past, no matter how much it hurts.
- Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go – Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse makes us reflect on the fact that perseverance and attachment are not always the best way, despite the fact that society has always exalted these values. Sometimes it is necessary to let go, this action implies a greater degree of maturity and demands inner strength, much more than clinging to something that no longer makes sense.
- Holding on is believing that’s there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future – Daphne Rose Kingma
We tend to cling to certain experiences because we are afraid to continue, we feel comfortable in that past that no longer exists and we refuse to leave the comfort zone. However, this phrase to let go encourages us to look to the future, to worry about moving forward and adapting to new circumstances. Because letting go implies, above all, having confidence in the future.
- Our distrust of the future is what makes it difficult for us to give up the past. – Chuck Palahniuk
This novelist gives us one of the keys to let go of the past and live in the present: we must trust that we have a future. The confidence that better times will come encourages us to get rid of the old ties to build a new reality that really enhances our well-being.
- Pain will leave you, when you let go – Jeremy Aldana
Many do not realize that the real cause of their suffering lies in the attachment to the past, to people or situations that no longer have space in today’s life. Actually, time does not cure everything, it is necessary the will to move forward, being able to cleanse our emotional wounds and let go of resentment.
- When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. – Lao Tzu
This jewel of Taoism gives us a fundamental life teaching: while tied to the past we will not be able to take advantage of the opportunities of the present, until we learn to let go we can not get what we really need “here and now” to be happy.
- In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself – Deepak Chopra
Releasing the past is an act of detachment. Many things and affections will remain in that past, which usually generates nostalgia. However, as long as you remain attached to that past, you will not be able to discover what you want to do in the future. The past and its stories represent the person you were. The future represents the person you could become.
- One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turnaround to find the future has run out on us – Michael Cibenko
Life happens in the blink of an eye. For that reason, living longing for the past implies letting escape the future. Remember that every hour and every day counts. Do not let resentment and negative experiences blur the happiness you can enjoy now.
- When you give freedom to others, when you let them go, you regain your freedom – Aleksandra Ninkovic
We are prisoners of our own mind, it is not the others who keep us prisoners, but our resistance to free ourselves from those ties. We are ourselves, with an inordinate attachment, who keep us tied to the past, preventing us from moving forward. Therefore, when we accept and let go those experiences that disturb us, we rediscover freedom, an essential condition for living fully.
- Letting go means realizing that some people are part of your story, but they are not your destiny -Steve Maraboli
We must learn to see life as a train. Along the way we will share space with many people, some will be complete strangers, others will accompany us for a long distance and we will establish emotional ties. However, everyone has his own destiny, and it is necessary to learn not to cling pathologically but to celebrate the meeting and enjoy that time in company, while it lasts.
- The art is not one of forgetting but letting go. And when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss – Rebecca Solnit
This North American writer encourages us to see the “loss” from another perspective. In fact, only when we learn to love in a detached way, when we learn to let go, do we mature and come to know ourselves truly. In detachment, one of the basic principles of Buddhist philosophy, lies the secret of personal freedom and emotional balance.
- I demolish the bridges behind me then there’s no choice but forward – Fridtjof Nansen
The main obstacle to let go is that we continuously look to the past. The nostalgia is too strong and the uncertainty that surrounds the future too terrifying. For that reason, sometimes there is no other option than to completely cut the bonds that keep us tied to that past. Only then we can walk towards the future.
- Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards – Soren Kierkegaard
This quote by Soren Kierkegaard alerts us: we need to make peace with what happened to look forward again. We are the result of our past, we can not deny it, but what drives us are the goals and dreams of our future. Therefore, we must make the past a treasure of experience and wisdom to build the future.
- When you forgive, you in no way change the past, but you sure do change the future – Bernard Meltzer
Many people fail to let go of the past because they fall victim to resentment, hatred or sense of guilt. Therefore, in many cases to leave the past and live in the present we need to forgive. That forgiveness will not change what happened, but it will give you an opportunity to change the future. Remember that forgiveness often does not imply that the other person deserves it, but that you deserve to live in peace.
- Forget what harmed you, but never forget what it taught you – Shannon L. Alder
The past must become a source of wisdom, not a source of resentment or unhappiness. This phrase about letting go reminds us that it is wise to stop clinging to what hurt us, but to treasure the learning, so that in the future we do not make the same mistake again.
- Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend yourenergies on moving forward toward finding the answer – Denis Waitley
This phrase to let go encourages us to redirect our energy. Instead of staying stuck in complaints, recriminations and/or guilt for what has gone wrong, we need to learn to focus that energy in planning our next steps, to achieve progress.
- The past and the future are real illusions that only exist in the present, which what there is and all there is – Alan Watts
We tend to see the past and the future as an unquestionable reality, but the truth is that we only have the present, a moment that is exhausted as we live it. We must be aware that the past and the future exist only in our mind, giving them more power can lead us to waste the present.
- Unless you consciously decide to let go, unpleasant things will continue to persecute you – Prem Jagyasi
Releasing the past is usually a conscious decision. It is like saying ourselves “until here I am arrived with that weight”. It is a point of inflection in which we decided to release the moorings and change course, breaking with what hurt us or plunged us into suffering. Unless you make that decision consciously, those things will continue to persecute you to generate unhappiness.
- Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather learning to start over – Nicole Sobon
Sometimes we can cling to the past because we do not know how to build a new future, because the prospect of starting over again terrifies us. In those cases, we only need to take one step at a time. Remember that the first step does not lead us to where we want to go, but at least it takes us from where we are.
- When the past is forgotten, the present is unforgettable – Martin Amis
This British novelist reminds us that in order to build unforgettable experiences, we need to live in the here and now, and we can not do so if we are continually turning our eyes to the past.