While you may feel like your path to healing requires you to focus on your pain–this couldn’t be further from the truth. When it comes to your past and how you’ve been hurt before, the best and healthiest thing that you can do now is to let go.

The Secret to Let Go of Past Pain

“Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is, therefore, the means for correcting our misperceptions.” -Gerald Jampolsky

While trying to let go may seem like the hardest thing to do, it is what will set you free from the pain that you are feeling. Holding on to the pain of the past will only keep you bonded to your pain, unable to feel happiness or joy. If you hope to be free of the past but aren’t sure how to begin, read these six tips to let go and let goodness into your life again.

1. Understand the Difference Between Expectations and Reality in Your Relationships

We all have certain idealistic expectations for our lives and the people that we connect with. However, life will never be exactly what we thought it would be, so let go of those expectations. We have to accept ourselves and others in our lives the way they are.

The first step is to be aware of how you are and the role you play in relationships. In the same vein, you need to accept the truths about the people that are in your life. Exercise appreciation for them and be grateful they are in your life, exactly the way they are.

2. Respond Rationally to Unexpected Outcomes

Whatever expectation or hope we have for the future, life has a funny way of doing the opposite. When life offers us different outcomes than we hoped for, we have to respond in a rational way. This can mean setting up boundaries between yourself and others, as well as let go of people we can no longer accommodate in our lives.

3. Self Limiting Beliefs are Brought on by Ourselves

Oftentimes, the only thing holding us back from accomplishing our dreams is ourselves. When you think, “I could never achieve that” or “that’s impossible for me”, you are the only one holding yourself down.

Now is the time to let go of past self-doubt and start believing in yourself. While other people may come into your life sharing their own limiting beliefs, be the voice of truth and reason, showing the world and yourself that you can do anything you want to.

4. Understand that you Can’t Control Other People

The only thing you can control is yourself and the way you respond to things. While you may wish that you had the power to control how others treat you, everyone else can only be responsible for their own actions. While this can be frustrating at times, it allows you the freedom to truly focus on being the person that you want to be.

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5. Focus on How You Think About Yourself

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Focusing on what others think about you is the fastest way to an unhappy life. Allow yourself to be free of other people’s opinions of you and your life. Be happy and at peace with yourself without looking to receive approval from others.

6. Allow Room for Mistakes

Mistakes and failures are part of the human condition. We all make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up about them. Learn to accept what happened and move on without obsessing over it or worrying about it.

A Work in Progress

We are all works in progress. Taking time to let go and heal is apart of this process. By allowing yourself to live free of the pain and embarrassment of the past, you’ll be able to be open to the joy and hope that the future holds.

Use these six tips to let go as a guide to keep you focused on this journey. Remember to love yourself and strive to be the best version of “you” that you can be. Negativity will always exist in the world, but as you work to understand yourself more, you’ll be able to outshine the negative with the light of your positive self-love.