post written by: Marc Chernoff

5 Things You Should Know About Letting Go


5 Things You Should Know About Letting Go

“Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe.”
―C. JoyBell C.

Even after you let go, the past is still part of who you are.  Every one of us lives in the present and makes choices based on some part of the past.  This fact is simply unavoidable.  You are only able to read these words right now because of your past.  Your brain relates past experiences (or learned knowledge) to these words.

All forms of learning rely on your ability to continually reference the past.  If you think about it, many wise decisions you have made leading to this very moment were created through recalling what did or did not work in the past.  You are only able to do what you can now because of what you learned.  For instance, you only recognize a friend when she walks into the room because you reference a past connection with her.  In this way, you are using the past effectively.

But when you start behaving ineffectively because you think, “this is the way it has always been,” problems arise.  Old traditions may be useful, or they may stifle your progress and growth.  It all depends on how relevant they are to the present.  It’s your job to make this determination.

We talk about letting go of the past and moving on, but what do we really need to leave behind?  Since the past helps us at least as much as it hurts us, how do we know which pieces to discard?

Here are some things I have learned that have helped me:

1.  You are subconsciously matching patterns from the past with the present.

When an experience in your life has emotional significance, it gets tagged in your brain as being important.  When the emotional experience is tragic, it triggers your brain’s fear mechanism, which tells your brain to remain on the lookout for any future conditions that vaguely remind you of this tragic experience (it does this to protect you from future harm).  Your brain then tries to match new experiences with the original one.  But depending on how emotionally attached you are to the original experience, it can lead to ‘false pattern matches’ which will inevitably lead you astray.

For example:

  • A muscular man assaulted you, so now you find it hard to trust all muscular men.
  • An old boss verbally harassed you, so now you have trouble respecting a totally new boss or different authoritative figure.
  • Etc.

Again, these false pattern matches occur whenever you respond negatively and over-emotionally to a particular experience.  And it all happens subconsciously too.  Logically, you know that all muscular men are completely different human beings, but emotionally you respond as if they are one.

If you feel that you are stuck because you can’t move beyond a past experience, then your brain is relating to it as if it’s still happening right now, which means it’s matching patterns improperly in the present.  Here’s a two-step solution that might help:

  1. Ask yourself:  “What specific past experience and associated feelings do my current feelings remind me of?”  Dig deep and be honest with yourself.
  2. Once you have determined the origin of your current feelings, list all the ways your current circumstances differs from the past (the original experience) – this should include the places, people, and details that caused you pain and discomfort.  Review the differences over and over again until you have them completely memorized.  This should help you realize and remember that circumstances have indeed changed.  (Read Thinking, Fast and Slow.)

2.  Your subconscious mind forgets that your capabilities have grown.

Zookeepers typically strap a thin metal chain to a grown elephant’s leg, and then attach the other end to a small wooden peg that’s hammered into the ground.  The 10-foot tall, 10,000-pound elephant could easily snap the chain and uproot the wooden peg, and escape to freedom with minimal effort.  But it doesn’t.  In fact the elephant never even tries.  The world’s most powerful land animal, which can uproot a tree as easily as you could break a toothpick, remains defeated by a small wooden peg and a flimsy chain.

Why?

Because when the elephant was a baby, its trainers used the exact same methods to domesticate it.  A thin chain was strapped around its leg and the other end of the chain was tied to a wooden peg in the ground.  At the time, the chain and peg were strong enough to restrain the baby elephant.  When it tried to break away, the metal chain would pull it back.  Sometimes, tempted by the world it could see in the distance, the elephant would pull harder.  But the chain would not budge, and soon the baby elephant realized trying to escape was not possible.  So it stopped trying.

And now that the elephant is all grown up, it sees the chain and the peg and it remembers what it learned as a baby – the chain and peg are impossible to escape.  Of course, this is no longer true, but it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter that the 200-pound baby is now a 10,000 pound powerhouse.  The elephant’s self-limiting beliefs prevail.

If you think about it, we are all like elephants.  We all have incredible power inside us.  And of course, we have our own chains and pegs – the self-limiting beliefs that hold us back.  Sometimes it’s a childhood experience or an early failure.  Sometimes it’s something we were told when we were younger.  We need to learn from the past, but be ready to update what we learned based on how our circumstances have changed (as they constantly do).

Here are two things to consider:

  • If you suspect you are currently living your life (or parts of it) through the conditioning of self-limiting beliefs you developed in the past, remind yourself of what is different now in terms of circumstances and your own capabilities.  What has changed?
  • Examine what you have learned from past adversity that can actually help you now.  Rather than just regretting stuff, question specifically how it has helped you grow.  Has your past equipped you to be determined, self-reliant, perceptive, tough, aware, compassionate, etc.?  Focus on what you have gained rather than lost from adverse past experiences.

3.  Progress of any kind feels uncomfortable at first.

Nothing starts easy; everything begins at some level of difficulty.  Even waking up in the morning sometimes requires notable effort.  But one beautiful thing about life is the fact that the most difficult challenges are often the most rewarding and satisfying in the long run.

The really tough job interviews that lead to huge career advancements.  The first few awkward words exchanged on first dates that lead to successful relationships.  The excruciating training that leads hopeful Olympians to gold medal placements.  None of these successful outcomes started from a place of comfort and ease.

Far too many people are fearful of the unknown, comfy with putting in the least amount of effort, and not willing to put up with short-term pain for long-term gain.  Don’t be one of them – you know better than that.  You know that growth and progress require discomfort.  Every time you stretch your emotional, intellectual, and physical muscle groups, discomfort arises just before progress is made.

In all walks of life, by committing to continuous, small uncomfortable steps forward, you are able to sidestep the biggest barrier to positive change:  Fear.

Also, remember that growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Not only is it important to accept the discomfort of taking steps forward, it is also necessary to let go of comfortable routines and situations from the past.  Holding on to the way things were, prevents you from growing into who you are now, and who you are capable of being.  (Angel and I discuss in more detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

4.  The past did not provide your only opportunity for happiness.

Reminiscing about great past times is always a pleasure, so long as reviewing these past times is not used as a way of emphasizing how terrible the present is by contrast.  If you start living in the past to such a great extent that the opportunities in the present are ignored, you have a problem.  For instance, if you don’t even give a potential new partner a chance simply because you “know” they could never live up to your perfect lover from the past… this is a huge warning sign.

Feeling that the past was a golden age of seamless perfection – a time of infinite happiness – is not an accurate assessment of reality.  Comparing this idealized retrospection with the present can lead you to believe the present can never be a happy place, thus preventing you from enjoying the moment and looking forward to the next.

Here are two practices that might be helpful:

  • To help you feel better about specific situations in the present, you might close your eyes, relax, and focus on a wonderful past time, and then imagine yourself drifting into the present with all those good feelings from the past.  These things did happen and they are worth celebrating.  This can help you actually use the positive points from the past rather than bemoan their passing.
  • Look for any ways that the present might actually be better than the past, however slight.  Even if it’s simply that you have learned from the past and are now in a better place to make future decisions.

The bottom line is that life needs to continue right up until the moment you die.  If at a certain point all you do is look back, you have, in effect, stopped living.  You need to resist the trap of believing the past was so perfect that the present cannot be appreciated at all.  (Read Authentic Happiness.)

5.  Nothing can be expected, and nothing is indefinitely certain.

You need to understand that none of us are playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.  Life always finds its balance.  Don’t expect to get back everything you give.  Don’t expect recognition for every effort you make.  And don’t expect your genius to be instantly recognized or your love to be understood by everyone you encounter.

There are things you don’t want to happen, but have to accept, things you don’t want to know, but have to learn, and people and circumstances you can’t live without but have to let go.  Some things come into your life just to strengthen you, so you can move on without them.

As you live and experience things, you must recognize what belongs and what doesn’t, what works and what doesn’t, and then let things go when you know you should.  Not out of pride, inability, or arrogance, but simply because not everything is supposed to fit into your life.  So close the door on the past, change the tune, clean your inner space, and get rid of the dust.  Stop being who you once were so you can become who you are today.

It’s time to open the next chapter of your life.

Afterthoughts

Oftentimes letting go has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength.  We let go and move on with our lives not because we want the friends, family, and the universe to realize our worth, but because we finally realize our own worth.

So stop focusing on the negatives and everything that could go wrong, and start thinking of what could go right.  Better yet, think of everything that already is right.  Be thankful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family, and past dreams and goals that turned into realities.  And use this mindset of positivity to fuel an even brighter today and tomorrow.

Your turn…

What would you add to the list?  What have you had to let go of, and what did it teach you?  Please share your insights with the community by leaving a comment below.

Photo by: Bourne Bedweey

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53 Comments

  • I realized that #1 affects me a lot when I get in arguments with my family. It’s like all the pieces finally fell into place and I realize why I react to certain things the way I do. It was all because of events that happened long in the past that molded me. Even when you let go and move on, you are still affected. Very scary stuff.

  • In the past I realized that my main issue wasn’t getting over things or letting go, it was merely making my ego/pride understand that things can go wrong sometimes. It’s okay to accept this fact of life. Now that I have learned and accepted this, I no longer hold on to pain just for the sake of massaging my ego/pride.

  • Point #3 is so painfully obvious to most people, but unfortunately, it took me many years until I finally understood it fully. Thankfully, I’m now completely aware that most meaningful progress doesn’t happen without some measure of discomfort. The key for me nowadays has been to lean into my discomfort instead of avoiding it. Whenever I choose to lean and not run, progress usually follows.

  • Letting go of old habits is tough to do. Too many people I know want to blame someone else, instead of accepting responsibility for their own actions. I struggle with this too and I’m working on letting this habit go. It’s not easy, but I’m getting there.

  • Point # 5 is the most pertinent for me Marc. I do feel life is self correcting. However, the pain that letting go leaves behind sometimes gets unbearable. I have realized that the only solution is being real in the present!

    Thanks for a yet again worthwhile and well timed post.

  • I just want to free the poor elephant!

  • Yes, you are right. We need to let go, especially when we are hurt. But what if we are the ones who hurt someone. How do we let that go?

  • I have just jotted down a few reasons why my life is better since becoming self employed in June, compared to the previous grind. The list is surprising and shows how much better life is now. Strength is key and although I am making less money at the moment, fear of the future has dwindled, as the balance is right and there is only one way forward and that’s upwards.

    For those feeling fear, believe that life is a beautiful thing at which we get one shot. There is another way but it takes dedication and strength to battle through the mire. I know, because I suffered with anxiety and depression, things I can now equate to the demands placed on me by other people, in unnatural work environments. This is now a thing of the past and although just a short way into my new journey, is already proving to be good for me and those around me. Good luck!

  • The title photo in this post reminds me of a Jewish rabbi of a couple of thousand years ago who taught by example of letting go…

  • I tend to struggle with my subconscious. I’m trying to let go off my stubborn pessimism. Whenever I evaluate something, I always seem to bring up examples from the past where things turned out badly.

    I’ve had this mindset since I was about 11 years old, so it can definitely be hard sometimes. I need to remind myself that I am a different person, and that I can still change further.

  • Hectic stuff, resonated well with me. What a powerful piece.

  • How timely. Discomfort has been on my mind lately. I’m trying to forgive myself for so past mistakes.

    @Asha: I’m dealing with something similar. I’m trying to let go of the fact that I hurt someone I love. This is what self-forgiveness is. I think in all cases letting go is about forgiving the past and paying attention to the present… doing your best right now, regardless of what once occurred.

  • I had to make the painful choice earlier this summer to end a relationship that caused me more grief and anxiety than good times and love. Even though the relationship wasn’t serving me in a healthy way, which I was entirely aware of, it still didn’t make it any less painful to finally make the choice to walk away from him. I have put up a wall since then when it comes to meeting new guys, and I am working on not equating each individual to the past person I dated. I know not every man will be the same, but my brain is working in overdrive to ensure I don’t feel that intense sadness ever again…these tips are very helpful, thank you.

  • This could not have hit my inbox at a more perfect time.

  • These 5 points actually made me cry a little. I realized that I live my life constantly with a guilty conscience. My reasons to be like this are so hard to let go of… I have 51 behind me years, so it’s not easy to let go all the things that hurt me. I know what i need to do though.

    Thank you for this advice. I’m going to try to continue practicing.

  • One thing I am letting go of is a wierd one:

    To stop using the past to constantly determine the present state of things, and then predict the future state of things.

    I do this pretty well at work. I struggle mightily at home.

    The bottom line is there are no two points in your life that are EXACTLY the same. We rely on our feelings….but things can FEEL EXACTLY the same way.

    I have a huge meeting in an hour. Every time I started playing “what if” games over the weekend, I reminded myself how much I prepared on Thursday and Friday. So today I am very calm. Because that is how I wanted to feel today. Calm or fearful was a choice I made, not one determined by circumstances.

    So let go of letting negative habits (for me predicting the future) that freeze you in place makes room for the plan to go forward.

  • Nice post Marc. Letting go, of everything, is the only path to freedom. Once that is on the list there’s nothing to add. It’s not easy all the time but letting go of everything that’s been done to you and that you’ve done to others sets the stage for a new way of relating to people and life that will reflect your light powerfully into the world. Brian

  • Perhaps the best thing I ever did was to let go of several negative people in my life - even family members. Once I did that, it was like I was set Free!

  • “What if we are the ones who hurt someone. How do we let that go?”

    Asha–I agree this is even more difficult than letting go of being hurt because the accountability rests squarely on the perpetrators shoulders–yourself. The guilt and regret compound the hurt and thus the difficulty in healing. It is hard to image a more painful place to be. No one to legitimately blame, no way of gaining solace from being the righteous victim.

    Would love to read a blog about this. Thank you for posing the question, Asha.

  • After having open heart surgery, my wife told me she found someone else when she thought I was going to die. In the space of 60 days, my wife, home and pets were gone. It is the type of thinking in this article that helped me move on. Excellent advice.

  • Beautiful words! Great advice!

  • ‘Stop being who you once were so you can become who you are today.’ I love that! Too often we get in our own way and prevent positive growth. I love your blog! Thank you for sharing such positive messages!

  • You guys are doing a great job with this site. Please how can I reach you guys via email? I really need help with a few things.

  • I would add “learn how to read, understand and deal with red flags. Do not turn those red flags into green flags”.

    I had to walk away from a very toxic relationship with someone I loved deeply. I couldn’t for the longest time and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. As wonderful as some aspects of the relationship were, it was not overall healthy. I’ve come to dislike the phrases “let it go” and “move on”, they’re so cliche after a while…and easier said than done. Switching gears in terms of how you think is a very tough thing to do. But your articles have truly helped!

    I have learned: to pay attention to my gut instinct; to be alone; to live my life as authentic as possible. And last but not least, to not tolerate mistreatment from anyone… :)

  • This was a great piggy back on my latest post on letting go. I am at the point where letting go is a necessity in order to move on with my life. Thanks for further inspiration!

  • How true but difficult to break old habits. I guess there are habits that keep pulling me into the past and I believe that somehow this will “protect me”. In fact I have made my life miserable to remain “protected”. I will keep trying to live in the present since that is really all we really have. The past is was a past present and when the future comes it will come in the present… Reminds me of: A ship in harbor is safe but that is not what ships were built for.

    Thanks for the wise words of all the other replies.

  • To Christine London: you asked how to let go of the fact that you hurt someone.

    Recognizing it within yourself is crucial and apologizing to the person you hurt are the first steps. Apologizing goes a long ways. It may not change anything, but the other person will feel validated regarding their hurt and pain. It doesn’t matter how long ago the wrong was done, it is never too late for an apology. If the apology is not accepted, you can at least breathe a bit easier knowing that you tried. Just my thoughts having been on both ends. I wish you success with righting the wrong.

  • Great post and perfect timing. Letting go and moving on has been at the core of everything for me in the last week. Realizing my own worth and firmly establishing where my boundaries are and what I will and will not tolerate, and finally knowing without doubt that I do have the courage to stand up for myself and walk away, regardless of any perceived consequences, when the situation is hurting me more than it is helping, has been a huge breakthrough for me, and a lesson I’ll carry throughout life. Though it took me a while to get through the pain of it, I recognize the learning experience now and know I won’t need it twice. So now I’m more focused on what I want, and less affected by letting go of what I don’t.

    And Brian, very well-said. Thank you.

  • In the past, I have made several really good decisions to escape from bad situations, but the memories always haunt me and affect my present. One example is that I divorced my wife who was making life unbearable for me. (Good past decision). I have protected myself from not being hurt again to the point I will not allow another woman to become close. (Bad present decision). This same pattern happens in other areas, so I limit my happiness because of fear due to lack of trust in myself and others. I try not to think about the past.

    Not thinking about the past, and letting it go are two different things. I know when I figure out how to let go it will make an incredibly positive difference. Is there anything anyone can suggest I can use to help with the “letting go” part?

  • Great post! #1 is such an eye opener. There’s so much available, in terms of our own growth and transformation, when we can objectively look at the negative recurring patterns in our lives and see that there’s a reason they keep repeating. I like to think of negative beliefs and their impacts (created in the past but playing out in the present) like footprints, where if we follow the trail of footprints backwards we will eventually discover the root cause (the original event/situation that created the belief and started the whole pattern in the first place). I’m so passionate about shining light of awareness on negative beliefs and then transforming those by being more conscious in day to day decision making in order to develop new associations, new beliefs, new patterns and new experiences - ones that work for me not against me. So empowering to know this is how our minds work and our lives play out. To know that we don’t have to be used by our minds, but instead we can use our minds for our own growth and thriving! B :)

  • In my 50’s and haven’t let go of childhood experiences. My mother had a severe mental illness and my brothers and I were not allowed to have friends and/or were shunned by the other parents. I lived in a society where perfection and wealth were important. Also, my father would accept nothing more than perfection from his children. I still have feelings of being unworthy of friendships, and still strive for perfection. I work long hours to make sure my department’s work is flawless. I sometimes wonder if I know how to find friends. I was married and a stepmother to 2 boys, full time. It was important to me that their childhood was different - full of love, encouragement and fun. Thank you for this post! I’m still working on letting go, but I’m getting there.

  • Thanks Robyn and Christine London… anyways time is the best healer…

  • Hi Marc

    A good friend of mine had a strained relationship with a girl. (I knew him only from 2010, a year after he broke with her). He had written soulful poems for her which were poignant and melancholic to read. It was accidental that I got to read his poems as well… How do you think I can come out of this “feeling sympathetic” syndrome. He is not happy with me advising him to choose a different path and so stays away from my friendship as well!! His blogspot site is jvasanthanpoems.blogspot.in. Need your advice on how I should come out of this syndrome.
    thanks.

  • My main struggle right now is trusting that if I let go something better will come my way. There are so many things in life we just can’t do without the strength of God. Every addictive person learns quickly through the 12 step program the necessity of asking for what we need and then trusting that it will be provided by the one who created us. I feel I can do what is reaquired of me to move forward….but I need to know that the new path I’m taking is the right one….or at least the one that will take me to the right one, or I’m back where I started.

  • This is a response to Stan. I am sorry for the delay. I usually post here daily and have been having to struggle myself with “letting go” these last few weeks. I do not think that you can fully be free until you let go with everything you have. Life is to short to hold on to the past and limit your happiness. The most freeing feeling is forgiveness. I also was hurt by my ex husband, after a 17 year relationship he went outside of our marriage. It was devastating at the time and sure I was very angry. But I can tell you with 100% certainty that I forgave him and did so pretty quickly. I did this because the pain and anger were barriers to my true happiness.

    Life is to short to live unhappy and carry the chains that bind you with fear. When you let go of the past and look forward to the future you will see all the amazing miracles that are within your reach. Fast forward almost a year later. I met an amazing man whom I fell in love with and like you I think that he “protected” himself from not being hurt by remaining in a toxic relationship because it was familiar to him. A relationship that has not gone anywhere in over a decade and probably never will sadly. It pained me to see him unhappy and not only that but to see the amazing person he is and not have him be able to see that he deserves so much more. As hard as it was I had to “LET GO” and walk away. I loved him with all my heart and soul and gave him my all; sadly it was not enough. But there comes a point in which you need to look fear in the face, and take a good hard look inside of you.

    You need to recognize that everyone deserves happiness and there is so much to life. Some people are “ok” being single and others are not. But I am a firm believer that there is someone put on this earth for each and every one of us. If you love this woman don’t let her walk away quietly because you are afraid and can not “let go” of the past. She may walk out that door one last time to never return and you will be left wondering the rest of your life. You need to trust in your ability to be a strong man, a leader, and a lover. Once you can accept this and realize all that you deserve you will finally see the world with new eyes. There comes a point where you have to find your self worth and tell yourself that you will no longer accept the hurt and pain in your life. Trust me I know it is not an easy task. But I can tell you from the outside looking in that once you “let go” it is freeing and life is so much more worth living and every breath is a treasure.

  • Thanks. I am touched by this advice and I’m going to let go of some things.

  • I am in a similar situation as Robyn. Your words encourage me every day. I read them over and over. I would love to get in touch with Robyn to talk more.

  • Growth begins at the end of your comfort zone - wow, that line just changed my perspective! Thank you.

  • What a superb article! So useful.

    I have been trying to get rid of the memories of the girl I was in deep love with and who left me for someone else when I was away. It hurt me tremendously but made me stronger. I am still in the process of overcoming the fear, the resentment, the negativity and regaining myself back. Such articles are of immense help. Thank you very much.

  • Have been reading your articles and this is one of those which are very apt to what i had been through some time back. I did let go but some of the tips & advice in this article are really good to know… will be trying them and hopefully will be able to fully let go of my past bad experiences.

  • This posting was something that I needed to read today. After staying in a relationship that I knew was not healthy for me emotionally, I decided it was time to move on and make myself happy for a change. I realized that I would not put my feelings aside for anyone again. I have to be honest with myself and my feelings.

    Thanks Marc for yet another thought-provoking article.

  • It’s been more than 1.5 years now since I experienced an emotionally very negative experience that ripped my heart (the best friend I ever had who dumped me while everything was finally looking bright).

    I still have not gotten over it and I am at a loss as to how to get rid of it. My minds knows that I should feel very happy, that there is no sense in thinking about that person anymore, but my heart feels differently. Every day when I get up and when I go to sleep this person and what she did crawls into my head. It still hurts like hell and whatever I do I cannot get it out of my head.

    If anyone has any useful and concrete tips as to how to deal with this, please do not hesitate to share it here! Thanks.

  • @Vincent: I think the key is acceptance of the past. You can’t change it, but you can prevent it from affecting your present by fully accepting what happened, and leaving it in the past. This process, of course, isn’t easy. It takes time.

    @Ladybug: Excellent perspective.

    @Shola: I agree. Lean into problems and resolved them before they fester.

    @Irene: Yep, acceptance is the key.

    @Asha and Christine London: Read this article. It might help: http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/04/05/keep-you-motivated-after-a-mistake/ - it’s all about self-forgiveness. We’ll consider writing about self-forgiveness in more detail in the future too.

    @Mark B: Inspiring advice and perspective. Good luck with your business. Exciting stuff!

    @Ragnar: This is something we all struggle with at times. Read this post if you haven’t already: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/07/25/4-ways-to-quiet-the-negative-voice-inside-you/

    @Alyssa: You’re welcome. I’m happy to hear you’re doing your best to think positively and without judgment. Best of luck to you.

    @David Rapp: I do the same thing. When there is something in the future that I am nervous about, I do two things: 1.) Prepare for a set amount of time each day. 2.) Detach from the future and focus back on my present.

    @Brian: I couldn’t agree more.

    @Ron: Yep, sadly this is sometimes necessary.

    @Ed G: I’m sorry to hear about the outcome of your relationship. On the bright side though, I’m happy to hear that you are healthy and finding peace in the process of letting go and growing forward.

    @All: As always. Thank you so much for keeping the conversation alive, and for inspiring us and each other with such insightful, kind remarks. I will jump back in here tomorrow and reply to the rest of the comments. And now I’m off to put the finishing touches on our latest article. Look for it soon. :)

  • Your whole website is an inspiration. You have impacted my life in the most positive ways through your thoughts and writing. You make people happy and I truly believe you have made a change in the lives of many people through this website. Thank you for reaching out. I tell everyone about your website. :)

  • I had a freaky epiphany the other day. We’ve already died - many times over. Most of the molecules in our body are replaced every seven years are so, so physically, what we actually are are clones of our former selves who have inherited the memories of these former selves, thereby giving the illusion of continuity.

    As freaky as this realization is, it does help put things like letting go and new beginnings into perspective, at least for me.

  • @Robyn: No doubt. Reading the signs and listening to your intuition is important. Great reminders.

    @Melissa Webster: It’s inspiring to hear that you’re in a better place and looking ahead optimistically.

    @Stan: Read the book “Loving What Is.”

    @Bernadette: As always, thank for sharing your insight with us.

    @Kathleen: The fact that you are aware on your behavior is half the battle. Keep taking small steps in the right direction. You’ll get there.

    @Asha: You need to start focusing on your own path and purpose. Read: http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/12/18/30-things-to-start-doing-for-yourself/

    @Elizabeth: What you need to trust is that the past is gone and the present is all there is. What is your intuition telling you about what is right for you today?

    @Michelle: Beautiful response. Thank you for sharing.

    @Serenity: Have you reached out to new, likeminded people? Perhaps these new connections will help. Read: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/06/14/5-ways-to-meet-the-right-people/

    @All: Thank you again for sharing your insights with us. :)

  • Thank you for writing this article. It’s a great reminder that our past does not define us, mistakes are also learning experiences, and that our future is what we decide to make of it.

    I think this is one of the things that holds so many people back from living the types of lives they really want to live. More people should read this and seriously consider the follow-up questions you posed.

    I wrote an article with a similar topic a little while ago about how your past doesn’t determine your future. I would love for you to read it and let me know what you think if/when you have some time (linked above).

  • This is an amazing article that was truly insightful and put so much perspective to my current situation. I am in a situation where although it is so difficult for meet to let go, I don’t really know how to. I keep on making excuses for this person, and totally disregard my own feelings and happiness. Thanks for making me see the light.

  • I found the story of the elephant so inspiring. It’s us, that keep ourselves stuck. I kept getting stuck with my family of origin in relating patterns and old conditioning that is hard to let go of, but once you change it once, it’s easier the next time-so I wish for everyone to break free just once.

    I also came across a monkey story similar-in Africa they put the food in a small cage with bars to attract the monkeys down and then the monkeys come down and reach in for the food, they can’t get their hand out while holding the food and this keeps them stuck, but, all they have to do is let go of the food and they are free! I find letting go hard sometimes, and so I thank you for the reminders and posts; it’s helping the process.

  • Thankful to have read this.

  • Very good words to read.. Still hard to accept even after almost a year. Makes hard when kids involved. Self forgiveness… a great read.

  • krishna prasanth
    July 12th, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Love u guys.. Marc and Angel.. You both helped me to pass through one of the difficult times in my life…
    love u…

    Keep up the great work.. :)

  • I had to admit that I am from an abusive family. I had to let go of my parents and siblings, and I have come to realize that “abuse” is what happened to me, it is not who I am, and it doesn’t define me.

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