Letting Go Of The Past

By Leo Gura - March 25, 2014 | 36 Comments

A simple technique for letting go of the past in minutes.

Video Transcript

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Hey, this is Leo from Actualized.org, and in this video I’m going to tell you exactly how to let go of the past.

How to let go of the past? This is an interesting topic because all of us have something in the past, every one of us has something in the past that haunts us, something in the past that hinders our performance, something in the past we keep going back to, something traumatic, something that made us afraid, something that really hurt us, something that really made us retreat into our shell.

That thing is robbing us of energy. That thing is something we keep ruminating over, we keep worrying whether it’s going to occur again. That’s just robbing us of happiness. It’s also robbing us of performance, because we’re always worried about it, anxious about it, fearful about it. Who wants that?

It Is Possible

How do we actually go about letting go of some of this stuff, so that it’s never a problem? The first point I’m going to make is that yes, it’s in fact very possible to let go of the past. I don’t care how bad your past is. I’m talking about very serious pasts.

If you’ve had some serious trauma in your past, whether it was something as serious as a rape, or a death in the family, the breakup of a marriage, the loss of someone you love, the loss of a business that you started that was your baby.

Whatever it is — abuse you had as a kid, health problems, illnesses, near death experiences, car accidents — I don’t care what it is. You can let it all go if you want to. This is just a fact of human psychology. It’s possible to let it go. You can work to let it go. The only question is whether you will. Will you work to let it go?

That’s something I want to help you with today. Hopefully you can see why you should. You should let it go because the past is only holding you back. A negative experience from the past is not doing anything positive for you in the moment. One of the reasons you’re holding onto it, and still thinking about it is because you think if you do let it go, that somehow your life will worsen.

Somehow you’re going to open yourself up to threats. I can relate with what you’re saying. I’ve been there. I still am there in certain areas of my life, about the past. I still have certain hang ups. All those hang up are hang ups. They’re all robbing me of my performance. At least I recognize that. I’ve done enough research and work on myself to know that all past negative experiences are not something I should be thinking about, ruminating about, holding onto.

I want to let go of all of it. Ideally, try to let go of all of it. If you take away one thing from this video, it’s that you should let go of all the negative stuff in your past. You can. Go out there and look for the answers. I’m going to give you some right now.

Here’s the ultimate answer for the past. You’ve got to understand what the past is. The past, you think it’s so real. You think it’s so vivid. That breakup you had is just horrible. That time you had that near death experience, maybe you had some really traumatic times, real emotional distress.

I understand. It can feel really painful. Yes, it can be hard to let go of that stuff. Also, it can be very easy. Don’t make this harder on yourself than it should be. Here’s why: the past is a concept. It’s a conceptualization. It’s actually not real. It was real at some point. It’s not real anymore. The future, by the way, is not real either. The future is a concept.

Understanding Reality

The only thing that’s real is the now. That’s actually reality. Everything else is not reality. Everything else is a thought inside your head, which is called a conceptualization. What’s happening here is that you’re putting an awful lot of emotional charge and you’re attributing a lot of reality to something that actually isn’t real.

This is an idea that goes much deeper than just letting go of the past. It’s very effective at helping you let go of the past. This idea that the things you think are very real are actually not. They’re in your head. They’re conceptualizations. That problem you think is going to happen tomorrow at work, that’s not real. That’s a conceptualization.

You might say “Well, I’m very sure that something bad is going to happen at work tomorrow. I might get fired tomorrow. I have very good reasons to believe I’ll get fired tomorrow. I already got some hints that I’m getting fired.” You might make that case.

You say “I know that the future, tomorrow, is going to be pretty real. I’m actually going to get fired tomorrow.” No, you don’t know that. That’s a conceptualization. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. The whole world could end tomorrow. We could have a meteorite impact. Not only will you not live until tomorrow, there won’t be a tomorrow.

There won’t be a job for you to goto. There might not be a building there, it might burn down. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Not really. That doesn’t mean you dismiss critical thinking. That doesn’t mean you dismiss strategy. It just means that, understand — this is just a fact, I’m just telling you a fact, I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong and this should change your actions in any way, just a fact — that the future is a concept, and so is the past.

What is past is just a memory in your head. It’s in there. Sometimes those memories get lodged really deep. It can seep in, and the tentacles of that traumatic event can spread literally through your whole brain. That’s what’s happening. You’ve got neuron connections, and they’re just spreading, and you have that experience, that memory.

Now you want to get rid of it, you want to let it go. I’m actually going to show you right now how to let it go. You want to know how to let it go? I want you to think of something in the past that’s really been bothering you, something hta is still traumatic, something you want to let go.

Think about it right now and just bring it to mind, feel it, experience the emotions — probably going to be something negative, because you want to let it go for the fact that it’s negative and it’s causing you some pain. Bring that back up. Feel it. Just let it be there. Don’t try to resist it.

An Exercise

Now I’m going to take you through a little exercise. You can watch this through and then rewind the video, and then go back and actually do it, or you can just sit back and do it as I’m talking right now. Here’s what I want you to do.

I want you to sit in a chair, back upright, and I want you to close your eyes. I’m going to guide you through a little meditation here. We’re just going to see how you feel. We’re going to help you let go of the past. Ready? Do this now. Actually do this. I’m guiding you. I’m taking the energy to guide you. Go and do it. I’m actually going to put some effort into this.

I want you to sit back and relax. Close your eyes. I want you to think about your breath. Think about yourself breathing right now. Just feel it. Feel your breath going in and going out. Keep your eyes closed throughout this exercise. Continue to breathe and put your focus on your breath. Breathe in, nice and deep, and slow. Then breathe out, nice and slow.

Just keep all your awareness on your breath. All your awareness is on your breath. Keep breathing at your own pace, nice and slow, in and out. What I want you to do is put all your attention into your body. Feel yourself. Feel your body, all the sensations, from your feet, through your legs, your thighs and your butt as it’s sitting on the cushion of the chair, your back and up into your shoulder, through your neck and head and face. Then also your arms and fingertips.

Become very aware of whatever you’re feeling in your body right now. Your breath, but then also how everything feels. Feel the tips of your toes. Feel the tips of your fingers. Feel your face. Feel the muscles in your face. I want you to relax your face, your facial muscles. Feel the top of your head.

As your eyes are closed, I want you to pretend. We’re going to play a little imagination exercise. I want you to pretend that there is no future. You have no future. The future is completely unknown. You’re totally in the present right now. The future doesn’t exist for you.

Now I want you to imagine that the past never happened. There was no past at all. You just are right now, and you always were right in the moment, right now. What you’re feeling in your body, the sensations, the perceptions you’re having, even the perceptions you’re having through your closed eyelids, that is all real, that is now.

The thoughts you’re having as you’re listening to me, that is real, that is now. Nothing else exists. Just take that in. Don’t think about it, just be in the moment. Be totally in the moment right now, listening to my voice, feeling your body and breathing.

As soon as you’re ready, and you’re comfortable, go ahead and take a few last deep breaths, and we’re going to open your eyes. You’re going to come back and you’re going to start looking at the video again.

Welcome back. How did that feel? That was an experience. What was that an experience of? That was an experience of the now. If you did that exercise, and you can still go back and do it, you can do it again and again, what you’ll find is if you really do it and listen to what I’m telling you, is that you get into the now.

Live In The Now

You get into the moment. You get into what is real. You stop thinking about the future. You stop thinking about the past. At that moment, the now is what’s real for you. Everything else — you really feel like everything else is a concept. Do you understand now that the rest is a concept?

You might say “Well Leo, I understand that. I knew that already. I know the past isn’t literally real, but it still affects me. I know the future’s not real, but I know we’ll get into the future. The now will turn into the future at some point, and it will become real. That affects me as well.”

Yes, it does. This one exercise is not going to fix you forever. You’re going to have to do more work on how to let go of your past. I just wanted to show you that you can, because one of the things you have, one of the limiting beliefs you’re holding if you’re not letting go of the past, is that you’re thinking you can’t.

You’re thinking this is something that’s there. It’s going to nag at you forever. You’re like “How do I get rid of it?” You just got rid of it. You got rid of it in two minutes, or however long that was we were doing that meditation for. You got rid of it.

This is a big realisation to have, to understand the past only exists because you keep bringing it back up. When you do that, it’s going to stay alive. You’re literally rehearsing it in your head. You’re rehearsing your past in your head, and that’s keeping it alive. How do you get rid of something? You just let it go.

Don’t make it too complicated. Decide to let it go and stop thinking about it. That’s it. That’s the bottom line of it. You can go and do therapy, and you can do introspection — I encourage you to do introspection. Learn your lessons about the past. Analyze it, journal about it, think about it, talk about it with a therapist, talk about it with a coach.

I talk about stuff like that in my coaching sessions all the time, and I do this kind of work on myself. It’s necessary. Realize you can just let it go. Just let it go, right now. Just decide, right now, that whatever it is — I don’t care how bad it was — just let it go.

You’re letting it go because you know the past has no use to you. You can’t change the past. What’s happened has happened. It might’ve been bad. It might’ve been horrible. It might still be affecting you, but you can’t change it. You can’t change the past. There’s nothing you can do. There’s nothing you can do about it.

Stop thinking about it. Stop worrying about it. You think worrying about it is somehow going to prevent you making that mistake again? No, it’s not. In fact, it’s probably going to lead to some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy effect, where you actually create that.

You don’t need to be worrying about it all the time. You don’t. It’s not necessary. You probably realize that already, you’re just not very explicit about it. This is why I want you to become very explicit about it. Tell yourself you don’t need it anymore. It’s not serving you. It’s creating dysfunction.

Maybe it has served you in the past. Now it’s creating dysfunction. You don’t need it. It’s like a festering wound. You don’t need it there anymore. How do you let go? You just let go. Decide right now. Pause this video and say “You know what? That thing, I’m never going to think about it anymore. I’m deciding to cut it off. Anytime I get that thought again, from impulse, from habit I’ve built up over the past, just cutting it off.” That’s how you let go of the past.

Useful Distractions

The final point I’m going to make here is that to let go of your past, you need to have something that’s going to distract you from going back to it. To really prevent you from going back to it, you need to have something that you’re going to be thinking about, something positive, something new you’re working towards.

If the problem you’re trying to let go of is some bad relationship, a broken marriage, then come up with the new goal, the new vision for you. How are you going to get a new marriage? How are you going to build a new relationship?

If the thing you’re trying to let go of is the way you were abused and the way you were raised in this bad way, then think about the new vision for yourself. Who are you going to become in the next few years? How are you going to grow yourself? How are you going to use self-help and personal development, maybe some of the videos I’m sharing with you, how are you going to use that to get yourself to a totally new level, to transform yourself?

When you have a new project you’re working on, when you have something to look forward to, you’re going to find that you don’t have time to worry about the past. Personally, I don’t think about the past too much. Why?

I’ve been fortunate. I didn’t have too many horrible incidents, but I’ve had some stuff in the past that still bugs me. The reason I don’t think about it is because I have too much stuff to do. I spend too much time worrying about the future. I spend too much time planning. I spend too much time doing stuff here and now, versus dwelling on the past.

I don’t have time to think about the past too much. That’s what you need to design your life to be like, so you don’t have time to just sit and ruminate about all that useless past garbage.

Wrap Up

This is Leo, I’m going to be signing off. This is how to let go of the past. Go ahead and leave me your comments down below. Please like this and share this. I want to spread the message. I’d like to check out Actualized.org. Our newsletter there is awesome. We send out free videos every week, with more information about how to master your own psychology.

You’re definitely going to want to check that out. More information about how to introspect, how to let go of that past — this is just one technique, there’s many techniques, this is more a demonstration of some ideas I had about it. Check that out.

You’re also going to get some awesome bonuses — a nineteen part video series about how to eliminate your top limiting beliefs, when you sign up, for free. You also get to win, potentially, two hours of free coaching with me, which I give away to one of my subscribers every month. Check that out and sign up.

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Comments
(36)
Rita says:

!Thanks ! Leo, this video helped me a loth.
Big Hug

Leo Gura says:

Great, Rita! Big hug

Rick says:

Leo,

I just watched this video and it made me really realize that the statement I have been saying lately is so true. I keep telling myself That The past does not dictate my future Happiness. I really appreciate what you do. I just found this site a few days ago and I am looking at a lot of videos and just want to say keep up the great work.

Leo Gura says:

True, the past need not dictate your future happiness unless you let it.

Devi says:

Leo,

That was a powerful visualization… Being in the moment made me realize that if the past is a conceptualization, that it has already been let go, because it is no longer reality… Thanks for helping others – including me !!! to achieve this kind of mental freedom! You’re the best.

Leo Gura says:

Good! A powerful insight!

Stephen says:

Hi Leo, I discovered your website 2 weeks ago now and have been truly inspired by them, and what you have done personally, and I hope to emulate this in my own lift. I am really struggling however with sexual performance anxiety. Are you planning on doing a video on this subject, as I think it would help a lot of men out there, or does one of your videos already cover this subject.

Keep up the amazing work Leo.

Thanks

Leo Gura says:

I’ll add that topic to my to-do list. It’s a good one to cover.

lizzy says:

Thank you! I’m having a rough time getting over my ex and some of his destructive behaviors towards me. I saw the victim video and completely think this will help me with both.

I stumble on your site by chance. Your insite has be wonderfully eye opening!

Leo Gura says:

Yeah, ex’s can be tough to shake. Good work!

Miguel says:

Hey Leo,

I love your work and it’s been helping me control myself for the past few months However, i was dumped by my girlfriend yesterday. I tried this meditation and it works! but i always get back to my same miserable self whenever i see her at school. She’s in the same group of friends i have and it hurts seeing her. Make a video specifically on getting over someone you love?

Leo Gura says:

Breakups can be hard. Yes, I have this topic on my to-do list. Basically, you need to find a new girl. Then it will be easy.

Miguel says:

Thank you

benjamin schlufter says:

this exercise is awesome, you really shoud bring more of them into your videos, cuz for my oppinion it is helps to get a direkt possybiliti to aply the knowlege that we gain. thank you for make continuing videos about that important themes and for making you all the work.

greets from germany

Fredrik says:

Hey Leo, Awesome video!
You have any tips on where I could find more information about this?
More exercises to really get over tragic past events?
Maybe books, other videos or something. Would really like to become great at master this in my life.
I really liked the exercise, but would like something really long lasting , and exercises which deal with specific events.

Thanks a lot for inspiring! Love you videos.

Leo Gura says:

That’s all I got so far.

Naghmeh says:

Amazing. I dont know how to thanks you. I’m in a bad time in my life and your videos are truly helping me.

Anna says:

Leo, I understand that I need to forget the past. The problem is that the past. I think about is my dad. We do not talk for more than six years. We both were wrong, and his wife did everything to keep him away from being in touch with me. I helped them all to come to America and we all were so happy for ten years, then something happened… I really want to see my feather but I can’t because of his wife. It bothers me so much. I cried so much… How can you let that go?

Best Anna

Kentavious says:

Leo, sometimes I’ll have embarrassing moments (stupid mistakes that I’ve made or embarrassing things I’ve said) from my past that just jump into my head seemingly out of nowhere and re-create that feeling of “aw shit” I had when I originally embarrassed myself. Some of these moments from the past come from as far back as early grade school. I know it sounds ridiculous but still it grieves me and messes with my confidence.
So please tell me, WTF is THAT all about?!

lule says:

So based on what you said I guess the way I was raised is kind of wrong, in Italian descendant people is very difficult to get rid of the past. It is part of the culture, but I always felt kind of overwhelmed about how in family reunions that is all people talk about, implying that past moments where always better than today’s moments. I personally always thought that it was kind of sick and dysfunctional to think that way which made me into the black sheep of the family… But in reality I was the least dysfunctional of all. Without watching your videos I guess I thought kind of the way you describe but I was not able to verbalized like you do… Thanks a lot!

Colin says:

Leo, can you please answer my question.

I’m concerned I’m just setting myself up, if I stop thoughts they will just re emerge even more insistent.

I had been quite successful in thought stopping, now I just give in them.

Are my concerns grounded

Annette says:

I just love listening to you Leo. You have helped me so much since the death of my husband 7 month ago. Thank you.x

Leo Gura says:

Sorry to hear that. Glad I could be of service.

Bill says:

That has helped so much-as have others you have put out (Mindfulness!!).

I am working on overcoming betrayal by my ex which was / is still very painful months after….I will work on your videos daily. Thanks.

Laura McFadden says:

Leo, A wee kiss for you on the cheek. I’ve been listening to your videos every morning for an hour or two for the past 3 weeks and the strangest thing happened!! I feel like I just woke up. I don’t know if you will get what I mean but I felt like I was in a coma in the world. Now everything is alive and bright!. I found you after looking for help to get over fiancee of 6 years.who cheated and walked. Its surreal tho I think I was literally unconscious for 6 years, it’s the most amazing feeling now. The world looks different nothing that happened in the past matters anymore cause I’m excited with living each day.
Thanks babe your a real life changer

Maggie Zecher says:

I Love to hear your videos!! Gracias!!!!

Jim says:

Whenever I see you with facial hair this long, I think you look like a proper wizard, Leo! Thanks for the video, great job man!

Jennifer says:

I just Saw a video of yours and it inspired me to watch more and sign up. hopefully i can work on things and start having a positive impact on my life and in the near future, but oh boy is will be a tough one for me. because i have a hard time letting things go and living in a neurotic ways for many years so i feel like i am stuck. need help on getting out if it and living a peaceful Mind and life. I like what you do though so keep up the great work.

Brittany says:

This video was extremely helpful. I truly value everything that you have to say. I find it so difficult to be able to focus on the present because I have a million things on my mind about the past or the future. Every confusion I have about this topic was answered by you. I am really only hurting myself by holding onto the past. Thank you so much for your help and I will recommend your videos to anyone who is searching for an answer.

beatrice says:

You’re the most effective to me Leo. Thank you! I promise I’ll study and make it real.
Grazie
Hugs from Italy

Elmira says:

Hi Leo,
Just wanted to say thanks. Today I was surfing the net to find things that might be helpful for me, because lately I’ve been through a lot, and then I found your videos on you tube. Now it is about 9 hours that I’m watching you today and so far you made me feel better. I was hoping If I can talk to you privately though I’m not American but I can speak English . Anyways thanks a bunch for your help.

Malthe says:

Hi Leo. As always a good video. Keep up the god work.
Best regards

Malthe

Henry says:

You really have some good views on life. I have just been recently following your videos and I can say that they have already impacted my life. Still have a lot to learn, but I cant thank you enough for putting you’re time into providing these videos for us.

Lakmini says:

Its a great video. I am sure it will be of help to many many people. Thanks to your good work. Keep it up!

Natalia says:

Leo, I love you. Thanks for everything.

KR says:

Leo, you are an inspiration for self growth – thank you! In relation to this video and letting go of the past, I’m curious if you believe this concept will be effective for Narcissistic Sociopaths or is that disorder far deeper beyond the realm self-help/actualization methods? Thanks.

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