We all want to find love, acceptance, security, meaning, connection, and an understanding in our relationships that we can trust. For most of my adult life, letting go of the past was impossible. I carried around so much emotional weight that had robbed me of the ability to live in anything but the shame and pain of a past that I could not stop rehashing.

The result? Stagnation. I could never evolve because I held onto grudges, memories, details, moments, words, pain, and experiences from my past that had reduced the present moment into what felt like a never-ending prison sentence. And because I had no compassion for myself, I only had compassion for toxic people – whose egoic survival depended on exploiting my compassion to the point of me wanting to be their personal doormat. At least it was better than being alone.

I hated who I had become. I hated that I was too nice to everyone but myself.

What I learned the hard way:

Until you let go of the past, you will never be able to fully love and trust (yourself and others). You will also, never be truly loved and trusted the way that you want and deserve to be.

And because we ultimately attract relationships that reflect the one we have with ourselves…

You will become a toxicity magnet.

If you keep allowing the heaviness of your past to weigh down the bar that you’ve set for yourself, you will never be able to attract anything that is remotely higher from the how low that bar has become.

For years, I engaged in a pattern of gravitating toward “project” lovers and friends that I had to be “good enough” for so that they’d choose me, change for me, and I could be the exception to their rule (and in turn, invalidate the pain from my past that was weighing me down).

Why I stayed in this wash-rinse-repeat cycle for so long:

My low self-esteem, society, school, friends, family, etc., had me convinced that I just needed to get “stronger,” so that I could better carry the burden of a heavy past. The majority of my life was thus occupied with trying to “build the strength,” to carry the past on my emotional back… as opposed to taking off that way-too-heavy, out of date backpack for good.

That heavy backpack had become my adult pacifier. Yeah, I guess could have gone without it for a minute, but I always had to know that it was within reach.

I couldn’t acknowledge the warrior that the pain of my past had birthed and therefore, never had the courage to let go of it and live my life.

I was more comfortable telling my story to anyone that I thought could rescue me. Because of this, I remained a voluntary prisoner to events that had already come and GONE.

And as much as I didn’t like to be in pain, there was a certain level of comfort that carrying the pain of my past provided. Continuing to subscribe to the pain (and the self-limiting beliefs it bred), soon gave me the one thing I was never able to constructively give myself: an identity.

The past (and my pain/beliefs associated with it), became my identity. And it ultimately detracted everything that I claimed to want and become in life. The more abandoned and alone I felt, the more I would hang onto the past (and a corresponding identity), that did nothing more than and solidify the pain of my embarrassing reality.

When I finally learned how to let go, I started to live an actual life in spite of a painful past. As opposed to one that was sabotaged and plagued by it.

Here are 5 steps to letting go of the past so that you can live your life, trust, and love again…

  1. Acknowledge the payout. 

    As humans, we will only continue to engage in something (no matter how destructive or negative the impact), if there is a part of us that truly believes there’s a payout which supersedes the impact in some way, shape or form (whether it be logical or illogical). The first step in letting go of the past is to acknowledge that some level of fulfillment is extracted from holding onto it.

    I know that for me, I found more comfort in the justification that the past provided for the subpar, lackluster life I was leading than I did in facing my fear of constructing a positive belief system (and acting on those beliefs). I couldn’t take being abandoned, rejected; being made to feel worthless or failing AGAIN, so I gravitated toward the “security” of a past that had not only already checked all of those proverbial boxes, but that defined me as such. So, when I received the blows that life inevitably threw my way, I went right back under the comfort blanket of a painful past. What are you holding onto? What’s the payout? I’m here to tell you that choosing to rehash the past, at the expense of your present life, is the definition of emotional suicide. If letting go of the past is truly your priority, acknowledge the payout and ask yourself if holding on is really worth it.

  2. It can only be given life support and propelled. It can’t be changed. 

    You cannot change the past. You can only continue to keep it on life support and allow it to poison the present moment by CHOOSING to subscribe to a story that is based on making assumptions and taking what happened personally. I have the honor of talking to people every day who have been through the most horrific spiritual breakage and pain one could ever imagine. This, however, is not the reason that they continue to find themselves in pain. The reason that you can’t escape from the pain of the past is because you make the decision every day, to hit the “I’m-not-good-enough” pipe in the form of subscribing to an identity that you’ve allowed the past to construct.

    And because habitual consistency breeds expertise, you soon become an EXPERT time traveler – not only time traveling at any given moment but choosing to give life support to what has (and will always be), behind you: the past; what was. Putting the past on 24/7 life support is EXPENSIVE. The spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical costs are far too great. Make the decision to pull the plug now before it’s too late.

  3. Identifying your identity.

    The reason that I took so much comfort in allowing the pain of the past to shape my identity, was because it justified all of the poor decisions I was making in my romantic relationships, friendships, familial relationships and in my personal and professional life (payout!). I loved complaining about how everyone and everything was holding me back when in reality, I was holding me back by deciding to allow a belief system that the past had shaped, to override my free-thinking mind.

  4. FACING it. 

    The turning point came when I faced, honored and acknowledged my pain instead of allowing it to continue to take on a life of its own. No matter how comfortable I was holding onto my past for dear life, there always remained this little, un-dimmable light of hope that no amount of trauma could ever fully shut off (if there wasn’t that very same light within you, you would not be reading this right now). You CAN let go. You can.

    The mere fact that you’re searching for a way to let go of the past means that you eventually WILL – it’s just up to you whether you decide to do it now or down the line (after more invaluable time has been lost).

  5. The greatest propellant of all time.

    I used to blame what happened in the past for all of the failure and pain in my present life. Now, I blame my past for the trust, strength, and love that I emanate and attract. I blame my past for the ability to act on red flags instead of investigating them. I no longer need to rehash the past as a way to propel retaliatory action in the present. I’m able to act in the present moment because I’m no longer bogged down.

    If I had the perfect childhood, the perfect family, the perfect upbringing, etc., I wouldn’t have had such a burning desire for BETTER. Letting go of the past put a fire under my ass that propelled me into living the kind of life that I never thought I could call my own.

You are so much more than what’s already come and gone.

x Natasha

If you need further and more personalized help, please look into working with me here.

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25 comments

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Natasha, I went to your site and low and behold a new post that I felt was meant for me! I’m sure all your readers would agree that your honest, straight forward approach never gets old and helps thousands of people. Thank you for what you do!

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🙂 thanks sister! xo

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Pure brilliance, Natasha. All of them, specifically 2 & 4, for my current state. Grateful is too lackluster of a word to describe working with you. Anyone considering coaching with Natasha – my entire life and energy changed for the better after TWO sessions with her! I am charged at what lies ahead. Hugs.

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I’m in tears. Thank you Melissa! 🙂 I’m so proud of and happy for you. Love you! XOXO

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I needed to hear this Natash. I’m still trying to figure out how to let go of how much my son’s father has hurt me so bad. I have done EVERYTHING to try to forgive and forget and move on from all the hurt and pain. But I’m stuck. I don’t know if I’ll ever be myself again. I hate him, hate the fact that he abandoned me while pregnant and went to marry another woman and have a new baby and I’m here struggling, have to be a single mother to my son. He is married, have their happy little family, got a house together and moved on with his life. He doesn’t even care, has no remorse nothing!!!
I get angry and don’t know if I can ever get over the hurt. Maybe with time I will oneday.

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I’m happy that the post helped! You’re not alone Lynda. xo

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Hi Lynda,

No idea if you’ll read this. I just wanted to say I hear and see your pain. Ive gone through something similar where he moved on, didn’t care and got what he wanted.

Its a really painful way to learn a really valuable lesson: Nobody owes you anything. No matter how much you care for them, they are not responsible for your emotional well being, YOU ARE. We all make mistakes, we trust people that don’t deserve our trust, but rather than dwelling on it and feeling like a victim, its better to recognize your own part in it, learning from it, forgiving yourself and just letting go.

Keep in mind, the only one that can heal you, is YOU. The only one that knows how to love you, is YOU. The only one that knows what you need, is YOU. So who better to love you than YOU?

As a single mother myself, I know the daily struggle, but your child is a blessing for you, because he/she will show you and make you feel unconditional love. The greatest gift of all. So bask in it, heal in it, and give it back to yourself by being kind to yourself and others.

Much love,

S

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Thank you so much for this post. I have been struggling a lot lately with my past and the “if onlys” of my last relationship. I never realized how dangerous and damaging it can be to dwell mentally in this world of the past. I just wish I could move on and be free to love again. But fear holds me back so much. Thank you for these steps you put in this post. It just takes baby steps at first, right? One day at a time.

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Exactly <3 So happy it helped! Thanks Kristen 🙂 xx

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You couldn’t have posted this at a better time. It still amazes me how much we have in common and how well you articulate these feelings. Thank you!!

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Thank YOU Vanessa, for making me feel less alone in my experiences and feelings. You are a gem. So glad it helped! <3

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Another wonderful post from you Natasha, thank you so much! Always excited to see new posts from you. 🙂 I agree with what you’ve said in this post, I am still in the process of not using the pain of past events as a crutch. Constructing and acting upon a positive belief system can be so hard! For me, my turning point came when I realised realised that I am not what happened to me in the past, I am not the hurtful things people did to me, I am what I choose to become. You’ve just made me think about what I’m currently focusing my attention on and there are definitely things that hurt me that I should let go of. For example, I had a friend with benefits last year (bad decision) who showed me in various ways that he was not interested in me as a person, yet even though I thought he had a pretty awful personality, I still found myself wanting his attention because I was lonely at that time and I wanted to be the one who ‘wins’ his heart. Eventually I realised how messed up that is and have distanced myself from him, but there is still a part of me that gets so excited when he messages me. It kind of becomes an addiction, doesn’t it? I need to acknowledge and payout as you said, and move on.

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Yes! Thanks so much for sharing JK <3 I'm happy that the post helped facilitate these realizations and healing. All my love to you soul sis. xxxx

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Such powerful words Natasha…you always give ‘fuel’ to your tribe by giving them wisdom to help push forward. Not just through the tough times such as a recent heartache or letdown but fuel to change ones mindset and create self growth.

You have that gift send you share it so beautifully. Thank you!
Love your Instagram pics the last few days too – you look so cute in that beanie!
So glad you’re having an awesome time.

Xxxx

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Thanks for being a part of this tribe Lorelle 🙂 It truly takes one to know one – You are amazing. Thank you so much! It was freezing!! I’m back now, but will post some more pics. Love to you soul sister. xx

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Typo above: it should say ‘ you have that gift AND you share it so beautifully….

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No worries! I got it 🙂 x

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Hey Natasha,

Firstly, I adore your posts (here and on Insta). Between your writing and my last (and hopefully final) heartbreak via a f*cktard I feel like I’m well placed to finally start learning to love myself. Which leads me to this tiiiiny request: could you maybe write a post about being mindful not to hurt yourself out of boredom? AKA indulging in social stalking ’cause you’re “bored” or curious, and what that ACTUALLY means? Seriously, what is that all about?! And other kinds of what I’d call “casual self-harm” where you feel compelled to check-in on them or revisit your pain, because even though you ARE super busy and have lots of cool new things going on in your life, you feel oddly bored without the drama and compelled to take “a little look”, but it’s actually super harmful to your recovery and self esteem? I’ve been trotting along on my white horse since the break up (first time I’ve EVER stayed in the saddle and I’m actually quite proud of myself ?) but old habits die hard. I feel like I’ve come so far and I don’t want to derail myself on a silly whim. I’ve had a browse of your blog but haven’t found a post that tackles this bit yet.

Much love and thanks ? B xxx

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Hi B! Thank you! 🙂 I love that topic and will definitely write about it soon. Thank you for the recommendation & for being a part of this tribe. Love to you sister. X

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Hello Natasha,

the universe led me to your site, your blog was a life savers for my sanity when I drove myself crazy for one of those f*tards… but no more thanks to you.
Even this newest post…. I am currently working on my co dependency issues that I apparently have, and while thinking about what happened in the past I started feeling sorry for myself.
And then I saw your newest post, its like a light being turned on in my head….
thank you so much, I love your posts and everything you wrote/writing. Keep on going

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Thank you so much Sandra! 🙂 I’m happy that the posts have helped. All my love to you sister. XOXO

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Hi Natasha, I just want to say thank you for sharing your experiences!
My ex broke up with me over text four months ago, and I can honsestly say it has been one of the thoughest experience I’ve ever had.
But I was so lucky for finding your blog as it has really given me comfort on the hard days.

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🙂 Thanks Mishaell! I’m happy to help; you’re not alone. XO

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This blog is exactly what I have been searching for. Thank you for writing this.

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Happy it helped! Thanks Aubrey 🙂 xo

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