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Feeling stuck in the past? Here’s how to move on

Letting go can be difficult, and we all find ourselves fixating on the past sometimes.

Whether it’s a relationship, a recurring thought, or a negative experience, learning how to move on is the only way to let go of the past and embrace the possibilities of the present.

Here’s our advice on how to let go, to help you find closure and make a fresh start.

Hand on windowsill behind a window while it's raining outside

Identify the unresolved issue

How to let go of something or someone that makes you feel bad is one thing, but the reason why you’re struggling is another. What is it about that conversation you keep replaying in your head or that hurtful thing your schoolmate said ten years ago that keeps you up at night?

Try the five whys technique to get started. The method is simple: when thinking about the unresolved issue, ask yourself “why” five times. You’re looking for the reason it’s still bothering you. This method will help you drill down to the root of the problem.

For example, if you keep thinking about that time you got laid off five years ago:

  1. Why does it bother me? Because that felt unfair.

  2. Why does it bother me? Because I didn’t expect it.

  3. Why does it bother me? Because I thought I was doing a good job.

  4. Why does it bother me? Because I feel like I should have known they were unhappy with my work.

  5. Why does it bother me? Because that means that I’m not good enough and it really hurts.