Letting go of the past can certainly seem challenging, when the old days have so many precious memories and people you used to know. However, we must let go of the past if we want to live a happy and fulfilling future. Staying stuck in the past only promotes stagnation and depression, as we can no longer get anything out of it.

5 questions to ask yourself if you can’t let go of the past

The past can teach us valuable lessons, but staying there would mean always putting our lives on hold, and that does nothing for us in the end. When you find yourself reminiscing about the past and somehow wishing to return to it, check out these five important questions below.

1. Am I in the present moment, or in the past?

Obviously, to stay stuck in the past, we have to shift our awareness and perception to the days gone by. In other words, to let go of the past, we must turn our attention to the present moment so that we can fully enjoy life and all that it has to offer. Living in the past will only cause depression about how things used to be, and the fact that it may no longer be exactly how you remembered it.

You cannot force yourself to love your life today, but you can recognize the value of today and the possibility of fulfillment, tomorrow. Or maybe you need to start looking for a new role, job or adventure that will satisfy your needs at this age. Be careful, you must not conclude that you are failing in your new endeavor because you are not perfect. Making a complete transition takes time.

2. Do I have the same beliefs?

Going through life, we will inevitably change our beliefs from time to time. New experiences force us to change our thinking and question everything we thought we once knew. As you think about moving from the past, remember how much you have grown since then, and how you see the world differently than before.

In the past, you saw things from a certain point of view because you didn’t have all the experiences you have today. Now that you know more about what you do, do you even want to go back to your old self? Think about this the next time it seems hard to let go of the past.

3. Are there more things I have to learn from my past experience?

Ask yourself why you keep going back to the past. If you find yourself traveling in time often, you probably have some business pending there. Ask yourself if you have learned all the lessons you can from the past , or if you have more to discover from your experiences. Many times, we review the past because it has something left to teach us that we may not have learned before.

4. Have I completed the lesson?

Many people live in the past simply because they haven’t learned all they could from it. The past offers powerful lessons if we feel ready to receive them. Life will continue to send you the same teachers until you have mastered the lesson, so maybe you don’t live in the past, maybe you keep seeing the same situations repeating themselves because you haven’t finished the lesson yet.

There is nothing wrong with this, but you need to ask yourself this question the next time you have trouble letting go of the past. It will help you understand why you can’t move on right now.

5. How does the past serve me today?

How do you feel about your past? Do you feel that it helped you throughout your journey, or do you feel damaged and worn out by your experiences? Everything in life is about perception and perspective, so maybe you just need to change your thinking about the past in order to move from it.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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