Letting go of the past: how to let go of the past to achieve a peaceful and content life

By Eren Mckay  
Filed under Personal Development and Growth

nostalgia One of the main reasons people are not content is because they hang onto the past with all their might. They may be hanging onto negative past things or clinging on to the “Good’ole Days” so tightly that they don’t give themselves room to experience present joys.

Hanging onto Negative past things

After going through certain trauma- every time I would try to move ahead and get something done it was like I was stuck. One day I talked to a friend of mine and asked for help. She said to me- you’re not moving forward because you’re not letting go of the past. At that moment- I felt my mind shift. That’s all I needed to hear to decide not to dwell on the past anymore. After that talk with my friend I was out of the rut and able to move forward.

In order to move on you need to let certain things behind you. Put your thoughts, ideas, and energy towards what you are going to do not what happened and all of the injustices you went through.
You can actually take control of your thoughts and move on. Move ahead. Don’t let the past determine your present or your future.

Changing your perspective is a decision that you need to make to be able to live a happy and fulfilled life. When you feel the hurt and the pain or what you have gone through simply focus on the good that came out of the situation. Focus on the positive outcome. If you can’t think of one simply trust God that there is one and you just can’t see it right now.

Forgive those who have hurt you and you will be able to achieve what God has for your life. If you don’t do this your mind will be stuck in the mud of the past and you will find yourself going around in circles. Let it go and you will begin to experience God’s purpose come to fruition in your life.

The Opposite Side: Hanging on too tightly to the “Good Past”

We’ve discussed how hanging onto negative things is bad for us. There’s a flip side to this which is clinging on too tightly to the good’ ole days. Every time I’ve heard of someone talk about nostalgia and the past almost always it’s seen as a good thing.
I for one like to reminisce and think about good things that have happened to me in the past. That’s one of the reason I love scrapbooking. The past is great and has helped mold who we are.
But if we are constantly thinking of what life was like “way back then” and comparing it to our “not so great present situation we will always be unhappy. There is however a fine line between reminiscing and clinging onto the past.

If we cling too tightly, our current situation will never seem to live up to the “Good ole days.” Especially because we tend to forget the difficulties that we experienced only remembering the good parts.

Excessive nostalgia is not good for us. Throw the excessive nostalgia out the window. We shouldn’t throw our past out the window but we should definitely get rid of clinging to it if it is robbing us of contentment.

When looking up the definition of nostalgia we see that it says: longing or yearning for something that is in the past. Most of the times what we are longing for just isn’t possible in our present lives. If we don’t perceive that we are being nostalgic it can overcome our lives and make us miserable. When we don’t let go of focusing on our “wonderful past”, frustration and resentment begin to settle into our hearts. And this robs us of our present joy and happiness.

Life is in constant movement. There will always be changes. Our ability to let go and move on, will open us up to make new memories and experience new things. We can take the good and the lessons we have learned from the past to move us forward. Too much nostalgia is a major obstacle in moving on to the next step. There comes a point in our lives in which we need to learn to let go of the past to be able to fully live the present with peace and contentment in our hearts.

Making a decision to change our perspective

In order to be content we need to make a conscious decision to change our perspective in life. When looking at a cup of tea we should see it as half full and not half empty. Well we need to apply that change of perspective to our thinking.

With this change – every accomplishment no matter how “small” is a milestone. Every good thing we have or experience is a reason to rejoice. Every difficult lesson we have learned is a treasure we have gained in life.

When we are content we are at peace. We have chosen to be happy even though circumstances are difficult. We have decided to see things in a perspective of valuing every “little” good thing in life. The word of God says that we should be thankful. God is giving us a command: To be thankful.

A thankful heart will change the way we see everything around us. A thankful heart will make us much happier each and every day. Choose the half full perspective. Choose to think of all the good that has come out of a circumstance.

1 minute meditation

Once you make that choice you will begin to enjoy every little aspect of life. You will begin to see the beauty in the smallest things. You’ll realize that you haven’t stopped and smelled flowers in a long time. You’ll look out the window and say why haven’t I seen how beautiful the sky is lately? Look at the way those leaves blow in the wind! The smallest thing will bring you joy.
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15 Comments on "Letting go of the past: how to let go of the past to achieve a peaceful and content life"

  1. Bobby Revell  

    Hello Eren! I used to wallow in mistakes, failed relationships and many other aspects of my past, but I live in the present now. What I do right now matters most, and it took me many years to actually “get it”.

    It’s OK to remember and cherish things in our memory, but living in a past fantasy can really cause problems. We can choose to only see the bad, but that is so unhealthy in every way. I choose to live happy and not let all the bad in the world weigh too heavily on my mind. I only control me, not the world!

    This is a very insightful post 🙂

  2. Eren Mckay  

    Hi Bobby- thanks so much for stopping by- it’s a pleasure to have you here ;-D
    Yeah that’s something that took me a while to get- but I had this AHA moment one day and figured out that this is what stopped joy from happening each moment of my life.
    It was either resentment or too much nostalgia.
    There would be so much more joy in people’s lives if they knew this.
    Eren Mckay

  3. Carol  

    I recently spoke to a man on Thursday night who was seperated from his wife and had hopes of reuniting with her after 22 years of marriage…i could see the pain in his face…i wished him the best and i told him that i had recently come through a divorce after 26 years of marriage…but i told him that he needed to reflect on the positive and all the good that came out of his marriage instead of the bad…i told him that i recently found some photos that had been missing for about 10 years of my ex husband…me….and our children…and when i finally managed to put them together in the photo album according to geneology…it finally came together like a beautiful mosaic of what we once shared as a family and it ministered healing to me…i plan on sharing it with my children on Mothers Day hoping that it will do the same for them…what i thought was so shattered and broken…was really not that shattered and broken at all…change is good…we have to be able to adapt to it…because this earth is not our home…one day we will be leaving to be with Jesus…we cannot love this world more than we love him…in the end this gentleman was very thankful for what i shared with him…i can’t tell it all because it would become to lengthy…but thank you as well because i was truly blessed by what you shared.

    Carol~A Song of Praise~

  4. Eren Mckay  

    Hi Carol- yes when we embrace change as a natural part of life and decide to focus on the positive we can go so much further and let go of the past.
    When we also decide to help others- the Lord ends up revealing certain things to us because we have decided to be an open vessel for Him.
    For example just by writing to you right now the Lord gave me an answer to something that I really needed an answer for.
    Letting the Lord flow through us is encouraging & inspirational for others and for ourselves.
    He does that. The more we give and seek, the more He answers us.
    So glad you stopped by- hope you come back more.
    Eren Mckay

  5. Pete Bass  

    Hi Eren,
    I came over here for a different link and just had to spend some time reading several of your posts. Thank you for your encouragement. Whenever I need to be lifted up I know that God’s word is the place to go, but sometimes the world beckons and I don’t get there like I ought to. At times like that God has a way to do an end run around me and this time He used your blog.

    God bless you Eren,

  6. Eren Mckay  

    @Pete It totally encourages me to know that the Lord used these posts to help you grow in Him. When He told me to start a Christian blog I knew that He would reach His children through it. It’s just a matter of always keeping our minds aligned to His truth and making enough time to do so.
    God bless you Pete:-D
    In Christ,

  7. Raquel  

    Hi Erin,

    I’m fairly new to your blog but I just had to comment on your topic of letting go of negative history.. I too have been guilty of hanging on to past hurts but I’m more determined then ever to learn how to let go (with the Lord’s help). Harboring past grievances does nothing to enrich the spirit. I want to be “free” of old hurts so that the Lord can come into my heart and spirit and manifest as only He can do. Thank you for your encouragement. May you and your family be blessed beyond measure–filled, overflowing, running over!


  8. Eren Mckay  

    Hi Raquel,
    Amen sister. If you pray and ask the Lord to help release the hurt and give you the strength, He will give you the answers that you need to hear to be able to be free. Once I prayed for 7 hours straight to forgive someone. It took 7 hours of prayer but I was able to let go and forgive through the grace that He gave me in that prayer time. I cried out to Jesus literally and He came and gave me the strength to forgive.
    When we pray and ask Him to explain things to us also this helps very much – since we know that all things happen for the good of those who love God ( and I know that you love Him).
    Here’s the Bible verse that says this:

    Roman 8:28
    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

    So everything that has happened has a purpose in your life. Every part of it. Even if you can’t see why at this moment you have to believe and trust that there is a why because that verse says so.
    Blessings to you sister ♥
    In Christ,

  9. Alan  

    Thanks, Eren. I found your blog when searching for “letting go of the past”. I think we do tend to glamorize the past in our nostalgia as much as we can victimize it. Our past has help to mold us into who we are but it doesn’t determine our future. Looking in the rearview mirror too much keeps your eyes off the road ahead of you and off the Savior.

    I, also, came out of a divorce from a 29 year marriage. I’ve lamented over “standing” for that marriage because I know God hates divorce but also felt that keeps me in the bondage of my past. I do pray for a reconciliation but also want to leave my hands free from clinging to the past so I can receive what God has for me in the future. It’s a daily struggle but my prayer is for my heart to be released from the that past and embrace what is in my present and break free of the shackles this life can restrain us with. I can’t change someone’s heart, including my own; only God can do that. I can only walk in obedience and hope that my love and transparency work together with my past to become my ministry now.

    I appreciate the thoughts that you shared here and I am sharing it with others who may be trapped in their minds with their pain.


  10. Eren Mckay  

    Hi Alan,
    I completely agree with you that we love to glamorize the past. We tend to forget the hardships and only reminisce in the all the wonderful things we experienced. On the other side of the spectrum some people keep reliving the pain they went through which keeps them stuck feeling that same pain over and over again. It’s important to work through the emotions that keep us stuck and then put those things behind us as this verse says:

    Philippians 3:13b-14
    But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

    The Lord has come to set us free. We are not in bondage to our past. We must learn and grow and then embrace our purpose. If we are still alive that means we still have a purpose on this Earth. We still have lives to reach. The Lord is not done with us here on Earth. The day that He is done, that is when He will take us to heaven to be with Him where there is not pain, no tears, no hurt. We are not slaves.. we are free as these verses say:

    For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
    Romans 8:15

    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
    Galatians 5:1

    We must draw near to Him in prayer and praise and listen to Him. He will show us His direction for our lives.
    I’m happy that this article has helped you Alan. I’m writing lessons on how to achieve goals and only my subscribers will receive them. If you want to receive my newsletter and these lessons you can sign up at this link:

    May the Lord fill you with His wisdom.

  11. Africa  

    This blog was what I needed WHEN I needed it most!! I’ve been suffering & hurting so much over a failed relationship, over being decieved & lied to over & over again by the man I truly believed was my soulmate. I had forgiven him & taken him back foolishly, after finding out he had lied to me about everything from what he did for a living, to where he lived & the car he drove, EVERYTHING HE TOLD ME, He confessed, were Lies! But I lve always been a Christian & believed in forgiveness, so I took my chances & accepted him back into my life & my kids lives. Long story short, he end to leaving his hometown to go to school n Texas & thats when the lies & deceit went to a new level! We’ve always been in a long distance relationship. I’m from Arkansas, he’s from Oklahoma, but we vowed to remain honest & faithful. Needless to say I’m the only one that kept that vow. I’ve been so devastated & hurt, trying to piece together why this happened, praying everyday for peace, healing, & understanding, but its been hard because I keep reminding myself of all the promises he made to me & my children. I know it was in Gods plan to get me out of that situation, but its hard imagining my life without him! We had such great times & I guess that’s the “nostalgic hope” u mentioned that I keep dwelling on. I’ve made up my mind that I’m DONE with him, & I pray everyday for his success in school & life, but I can’t stop missing him or asking myself how a person could hurt someone who had been nothing but faithful, loyal & prayerful on their behalf. This blog has encouraged me to stop dwelling on the hurt & let God take care of him, & to allow this situation to help me be the effective witness that God has called me to be! Thank u & God bless, to All who’ve posted, its Really been an inspiration & blessing to me & my journey! I now know without a doubt that this pain is all apart of His devine & perfect plan & Ill be able to help someone else come out of their storm with the same faith & confidence in God!

  12. Jack  

    Thanks, all. I am currently going through the begining stages of a divorce that I absloutely do not want, after 28 years of marraige. Most of the years were very blessed and I do not understand why this is happening or believe that I ‘deserve’ to be abandoned at this stage in life. As with the earlier blogger, I am still praying for reconcilliation but am also praying to leave my requests in God’s hands and then let go of worry. I also pray for our children and for my wife. It is very, very hard to let go when I know that God hates divorce, but I am trying to trust that in His timing there will be healing and answers. Your blog is helpful; thanks again and God bless.


  13. deborah  

    I don’t know anything about magic or how he does it, but Antogai is on the top of my personal list of “go-to people” when I find myself in a quandary or a disappointment regarding my love life. That is the most important part of life, in my opinion, and I was really going through a tough time with my husband of 23 years. It was really rough-going for several years before I finally got the kind of help I needed. I never would have thought I would have gone to a necromancer, but Antogai is more than just about “spells”: He is a caring, deeply evolved human being with great sensitivity, and if it were not for him, I am totally certain my husband and I would be each other’s “ex” on this very day. I love Dr Antogai!

  14. jason wright  

    i hate my dad for abadoning me for over 18 years i meet him i was so anrgy i judge him saying he a bad guy he no good or watever for 5 years i constantly remind him of what he did to me. i felt this anger inside me and i dont know how to let it go. i treat him very bad even though he tried to reach out to me i wasnt ready to forgive him. it got to the point where he distance himself from me. i want him to feel my pain but now i guess he going with his life and being happy

  15. Lisa  

    I found good news in your posting of letting go and moving forward. We’ve fostered a little boy for 16 months that we thought we were going to adopt but the State is removing him tomorrow morning. We are hurting as are our older children. We must believe God has a plan and trust in that. We have to move forward remembering the good and finding peace. Writing it is easier than walking through it which has already begun. Thank you, I’ll be back.

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