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B091: How to let go of the past

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Are you unsure how to let go of the past? As you know, it’s all of those stories that are swirling around in your head that anchor you down, right exactly where you are today. If you’re feeling stuck or not sure how to create a brighter future in your work or life, consider this a direct download, personal message just from me to you this time. No one else is listening.

Earlier this week, I spoke to author Nancy Davis Kho, all about how to cultivate gratitude and lasting happiness in our lives… and it got me thinking. There truly is power in writing a handwritten letter, maybe way more than we actually realize. When someone takes the time to send me a letter, my heart sings. So, could the same be true if I wrote a letter to myself?

Would the same euphoria wash over me and could it be just the right tool to help us let go of the past and any negative self-talk we might be holding on to?

It’s worth a shot.

So, what should we write, where do we begin? I think there’s 3 things to consider:

  • remember the 8 year old
  • say it with love
  • listen closely

Let’s simplify that…

Here’s how to let go of the past – 3 simple steps:

 

  • Remember the 8 year old – 

 

You see, more and more these days, we work and live in isolation. Contact with the outside world consists of likes on IG or quick text messages in a WhatsApp group. Phone calls? Umm, what’s that? Meeting in-person? Too rare to count. These days, we’re left to our own inner dialogue, wading through a mountain of to-do’s and an overflowing inbox as adults. So, take a moment and remember who you were when you were 8 years old. 

  • What did she love to play with? 
  • What were his greatest fears? 
  • What things did she really wish people would say to her at that age, that she knew would (totally) make her smile from ear to ear? Start there. 
      1. TIP: Begin the letter with “Dear radiant one,” and imagine you’re writing it to your 8 year old self. Maybe start with some kind words of encouragement or things you’d like to tell her that you’ve learned over the years. Remember what makes your Inner Child’s heart sing and praise her unconditionally like you would any child you encounter nowadays. She needs to hear it… trust me, start there.

 

  • Say it with love – 

 

It bears repeating because we keep doing it over and over and over again. The way we speak to ourselves (at our lowest) is astonishing… we fall down the shame spiral so quickly and our words sting like no other. Remember, when writing this letter, say it with love. Not condemnation or guilt… anger or regret. That is a different letter for a different time, perhaps. 

This thing you’re writing to yourself today is a love letter to help you let go of the past. Sure, you might have flubbed things up and made a mistake (or two… thousand). But that’s okay. You survived, you carried on, and now, you’re going to acknowledge how far you’ve come despite the setbacks. So let the words that come up and out of you in this letter resonate with loving kindness… and see what needs to be said.

      1. TIP: You’ll find that when you carve out a little quiet time to write this letter, the words will flow freely out of you and onto the paper. For some, it might come fast & furious like a firehose and you’d likely just trying to write fast enough to get it out on paper. For others, you might get stuck. Remember, just write what comes up, don’t edit yourself for grammar or spelling along the way. No one else will read this letter besides you… It can be as messy and imperfect as your Inner Child wants it to be. Scribbles, doodles, and run-on sentences are totally allowed.

 

  • Listen closely – 

 

As you continue to write, you might notice an inner dialogue happening. I want you to listen closely without judgment to the words you use and the visual memories that pop in to your head as you write. This is all valuable information to help you unlock and let go of the past. It’s here where you find out where the big rocks are at the very bottom of the ocean, where your anchors are utterly stuck. You might have flashbacks to cringeworthy moments or recall sounds or smells that take you right back to the ICK. Listen closely without judgment and write down what comes up.

    1. TIP: Ask yourself… what does my Inner Child need to hear right now from the Adult You, to reassure them in this moment? What forgiveness or loving advice could you give her to break free of this? What will it feel like when this thing is no longer a burden or an anchor holding you down? Are you ready to release it? If so, write that down.

Once you’ve written your letter, sign it “with love, _______” and give it a kiss. Just the same as if you’re writing a love letter to an old flame, treat this letter with gentleness and high regard. The answers you seek might actually be written on those pages right in front of you. This is no small thing to sneeze at.

Seal the letter in an envelope and stick a stamp on it. Address it to your home or office and send it off… to yourself. If that feels too scary, place it under your pillow to read it the next day. Whatever you do, this is a gift to yourself. You’ve taken the time to tap into your deeper wisdom and this letter needs to be read in the near future by you.

If you’re ready to let go of the past, this is one way to get there.

One final whisper

If you’ve never written a letter like this to yourself, I know the idea might seem a bit scary or ridiculous. 

“What if someone finds it? What if I write something dumb?” 

Remember, let the swirling thoughts do what swirling thoughts like to do best… take you off-course.

Park them for a second, set a 7-minute timer, make a hot cup of tea, and carve out this moment of silence to do the work.

Your brain might try to talk you out of it, saying it’s a “waste of time” or “child’s play” or tell you, “you’ve got a million more important things you’ve got to do today, so grow up and get over it.”

To which I say this…

  • Take as much time as you need. 
  • Slow down, breathe in. 
  • Ask your 8 year old self where it really, truly hurts and vow to listen closely.
  • Then respond with love.

That’s it. It’s so simple, yet so profound. 

And you might find that the first love letter you write to yourself opens up a new dialogue of self-trust, greater self-understanding, and deeper healing like never before. It might lead you to countless other letters that are sitting inside your heart right now, waiting to be written. And hey, it might be just the thing to get over the past and move your gaze towards the present.

Maybe, just maybe… it’s what you need right now. You won’t know until you try, so give a go and see where the writing takes you.

You can do this, I believe in you.

It’s time to SIMPLIFY.

If this thought of the day inspired you…

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Thank you!

Show credits: Suzen Marie, our Podcast Editor. Jeffrey Lynn, our Video Editor. Lyden Yardley, our Show Notes Editor, Kristin Castillo, our resident Superhero, and Manminder Athwal, our Blogger. Aubri Nowowiejski, Chris Justice and George Mills, our advisory board. And I’m your host, Mary Baird-Wilcock. Thank you so much for joining us.

As always friends, keep things simple.

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