A woman who is working on letting go of the past, coming up for a breath of air while swimming in the open ocean.

Not all breakups are created equally. Some are easy to get over, while others can be incredibly tough experiences. Sometimes they cause trauma that affects us deeply, and can even last for the rest of our lives. For example, when a loved one passes away suddenly, we’re cheated on, or someone walks out one day without a word and never comes back.

These experiences can cause serious emotional harm, and be extremely difficult to fully let go of and recover from. But when we fail to let go of the past, we only end up hurting ourselves and the possibility of future relationships.

It’s normal to feel a sense of loss, because we’re human, and we’ve likely gotten used to having this person in our life; but that doesn’t mean we need to allow this feeling to consume us for the rest of our life. Just because something awful happened, it doesn’t mean we have to be sad forever, and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t move on.

Clinging to the past won’t change it, and it won’t solve anything. When we accept what has happened—no matter how difficult it may be—and make peace with it, we can then let it go.

This is when everything will change. And this is how you’ll welcome in healthy, loving relationships into your life again.

If you focus on the past, you’ll continue to live in it.
So many people refuse to make peace with the past, or forgive people (or even themselves) for hurting them or making mistakes. We think we’re right to cling to those grievances and grudges. We continue to blame those people and the past for things that aren’t going right today.

But this only keeps us stuck in our past, while the present passes us by.

Sometimes our expectations will not be met.
Have you ever felt let down by someone? I think we all have. But that’s because we place our own expectations on other people, and then get angry or sad when they fail to meet them.

Nothing in this life is guaranteed. If our expectations aren’t met, we need to accept that, and realize that’s it has more to do with ourselves than other people. Let go of all the times you felt let down in the past. 

You have no control over other people.
Many women are guilty of going for guys who they see as projects whom they can shape and bend and fix into boyfriend or husband material. And men do this too. The reality is, we can’t fix anyone, and it’s both toxic and unfair to be in a relationship where you see your partner as someone who is currently broken.

Some of us also believe that if we say yes to all our partner’s needs and wants, then nothing will go wrong, and we’ll live happily ever after. But the truth is, if someone wants to be with you, they will be; and if they don’t, they won’t.

Release the need to control things. This begins by letting go of the past, and realizing you have no control over what has already been and gone.

Your new person is not your ex.
So don’t bring those past wounds into your new relationship, and project them onto this new person.

Don’t tarnish your new partner with that old brush. Don’t think you can’t trust your new person, because your past one cheated. Don’t feel like you’re going to make your new person leave, just because your past one did.

Let go of what has happened, and recognize that this is a brand new slate. You are totally different people in a different time and place.  

Recognize that we’ve all been hurt.
That’s the agreement we make when we look for love. It doesn’t make it fair or easy to deal with, but this is the reality of relationships.

You might’ve been hurt in the past, and you’re not alone. But playing out that hurt in your mind, or clinging onto it, or fearing that it’s going to happen again is not helping you. It’s only keeping you from being in a new relationship.  

Forgiveness is key.
Here’s the thing about forgiveness and letting go—it’s not for them; it’s for you. This allows you to release anything negative you’re holding onto to, and lets you move on with your life.

You are not your pain. You are not your past. You are not what other people think or say about you. Forgive, let go, and allow yourself to grow.

Letting go will open your heart again.
This is the only thing that will allow you to love again. If you don’t let go, you’ll never move on. You’ll end up self sabotaging any great relationship that comes into your life, or you won’t be ready for it when it comes knocking.

Let go of your past today. Welcome in the future.

Shani Jay

Bestselling Author and Empowerment Coach

Shani holds a mirror to your soul, so you can see how beautiful you already are. She is the founder of She Rose Revolution, a bestselling author, empowerment leader, and an internationally published writer.

Her words have reached and touched millions, while her books have made their way into the hands and hearts of thousands of women worldwide.

You can find out more about Shani by heading to her website and connecting with her on Instagram.