It’s Time to Let Go! | 8 Steps to Releasing Past Experiences

March 1, 2019

You know, failure hurts. Any kind of failure stings. If you live in the sting, you will – undoubtedly – fail. My way of getting past the sting is to say no, I’m just not going to let this get me down.
Sonia Sotomayor

I’ve spent quite a bit of time reflecting on where I am today and what has happened in the past over the last several months. I was forced to slow down when diagnosed with Hypothyroid earlier this year and as I shared in my very first blog post, Year of Brooke, it gave me the opportunity to take an objective look at how I was approaching my life prior to getting sick.

It became abundantly clear that I was living in a constant state of anxiety and fear about all kinds of things from the past that I hadn’t been willing to slow down and look at. I thought I had processed everything, I’m pretty self-aware, but unfortunately, that is only the first step to releasing the past. Being aware of challenges that you’ve gone through, failures, and decisions that you are not proud of is certainly a good start but do you really understand why you went through them?

For example, my husband and I have been attempting to get our will in order for a while. We lead very busy lives so it is often difficult to find time to look at things. I became very anxious about some things that weren’t working for me the last time we reviewed our will and instead of taking a pause to actually process what was giving me anxiety, I just felt resentful of my husband for not sitting down to go through it with me and for not listening to me. It was causing us to be cross with each other. There have been experiences in the past that have caused me to feel unsafe and not trust people. Rather than sitting quietly with myself to understand them or get help from a counselor I lived with anxiety and about the things I was feeling, even though they were unclear.

Anxiety usually arises within us as a warning signal, urging us to work through whatever is bothering us. Most of the time when I have the anxiety I realize it is because I haven’t processed something. It turns out that when I slowed down enough to ask myself why I was feeling so annoyed with Derek, it wasn’t about Derek at all or the will but fears of not knowing how to handle the trust issues I have that are there from the past relationships or unresolved current relationships. Once that was identified, I could specifically take each past issue, discuss it with my counselor, and develop new skills and action plans to alleviate the anxiety. For me, a lot of it had to do with doing things for others so that I didn’t disappoint them instead of doing things that worked for me and my family. That’s a topic for another time, and we will go there at some point in the future!

Here is a process that I am using to release the past so it doesn’t cause anxiety or upset in my current experience.

8 Steps to Letting Go of Your Past

  • Slow down. Find a time once per week or every day if you can, even if it’s 15 minutes to ask yourself how you are feeling and write it down! Start small and build into it if you have to maybe 15 minutes once per week adding an additional day each week until you are doing it every day.
  • Make a list of past trauma, mistakes, failures. In order to process something, you must understand what happened from the standpoint of how you feel about it. You cannot get there if you refuse to look. Write about each one until you know how it made you feel.
  • Get help. I suggest that you find someone to talk to. I prefer a trained counselor or therapist. I take my thoughts as I process them and share them with her. She asks me questions about how things make me feel and what I would like to do to get closure. She also helps me identify unhealthy behavioral patterns in myself or others so I can gauge if this is a healthy relationship or not. I should have put this first but I also pray. I believe God is my counselor, physician, friend, parent, and advisor so I always check-in and listen for my direction from God too.
  • Take your time. This is not an overnight process. It can be emotionally taxing so allow yourself the time and take breaks when it feels too heavy. It’s important that this be an organic, unfolding process not forced.
  • Mix it the processing with fun and light moments. Make sure to take breaks and have fun in the midst of looking at past stuff. Again, it can be heavy and it’s so important to do things in the present that bring you joy while looking at the past.
  • Take each situation, once you have clarity on how it made you feel, and what was at work in the situation i.e. influences, lack of boundaries, unhealthy relationships, or trauma, and write what you learned from it. You may have only learned that you are strong and you are alive after something so horrible, but that’s still a win. Looking for the lessons and the wins in terrible situations or circumstances is vital to releasing them.
  • I then reframe them in terms of how God sees me. Does God view me as a failure, a liar, a victim, or broken? If the answer is no, I know it’s time to release it.
  • Finally, find a physical or mental process to release the past and let it go. For me, it’s with a ceremony for each one. You can do it by writing the experience or issue on a rock and throwing it in the river, I am using Wish Paper and lighting it on fire, you can write things on paper and throw it in a bonfire or fireplace, you can write yourself a letter of forgiveness, put it in a bottle and let it go in the ocean. Whatever feels right to you, take the time to go through this process of releasing your sadness, anger, resentment, past hurts…it’s time to let it go.

This month I will be putting a fun video on YouTube to show you my process of releasing the past with Wish Paper. I am involving the whole family to teach them this skill as well. Life is challenging and we can so easily get stuck living in the past when there is so much good going on right here and now that we can enjoy. It’s time to stop beating yourself up and allow for this process to transform you into the person God intended you to be! I’m doing this right along with you. Please message me and share your story of letting go. Together we can make the world a much lighter, happier place!

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About me

I'm a people pleasing filmmaker turned dream-inspirer life coach, that used my personal hardships in life to grow my ability in empowering women around the world to create practices that promote healthy living and a freedom lifestyle. 

Hi there, I'm Brooke and I'm so happy you're here!

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