Are you looking to change your life? Then don't let the past hold you back! If you continue to stress or lament over what happened, you have not let it go. The emotion it holds for you is an anchor stopping you move on.

But how do you let go of the past?

There are three stages, first acceptance, then approval, and lastly appreciation. This second article in this series covers the first two steps: how to get over it by accepting and approving your past.

Acceptance
First you need to accept what happened. Whatever the circumstances, and however awful the experience, denying it does not help. It is now in your past, those events occurred, and you have your memory of that situation.

Stop the self-sabotage, give up all pretence about it. It did happen, so surrender to its reality. Tell the truth about it, both to yourself and others.

You may not be that happy about it. You might have hated the experience, so your acceptance may be reluctant or grudging to start with. But acceptance just means you recognize it is part of your history, so get over it.

Acceptance does not say you liked it, you are NOT glad it happened. You may not be able to see any value in it, but accept the truth - it can change your life.

Approval
The next step once you've accepted its reality is to approve it. You need to find some value in what happened. In many circumstances, this may be very challenging. But how do you find value?

You have two choices. The first choice is to be negative, to self-sabotage by judging it as wrong or bad and maintain it shouldn't have happened. Yet it did.

Or you can choose to see the long-term positive. It got you to where you are now. Without it your circumstances would not be as they are. You would not be the person you are today. Nor would you have the opportunities you now have today. Perhaps you have learnt something from the event.

You need to find some value so you can truthfully say: "I can now see that the situation has benefitted me." The detailed steps to let it go will take some effort, but there are pro's and con's to everything. Here you're focussing on the positive, which does not mean you also liked it or can say you're glad it happened.

But you now can see the truth in the old proverb: Every cloud has a silver lining!

Are You Spiritual?
If you're spiritual, if you believe in God, then your lack of approval has an interesting twist. It says that you think God has made a mistake! It says, "If only God knew as much about my situation as I do, he would not have brought me this experience, he wouldn't have screwed up like this!" This means you think God is old and past it, it's time she retired, she's past her sell-by date. You think you know better than God!

This, of course, is ridiculous. Which means whatever happened does indeed have a silver lining, you just haven't found the benefits yet. So put more energy into finding them...

Food for Thought
"Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way."

- Al Franken, US Senator, writer, TV actor, author

© Copyright worldwide Alan Blake www.LifeStrategies.net. Republishing welcomed under Creative Commons noncommercial no derivatives license preserving all links intact. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

A long-term interest in spirituality, combined with the rationality of a scientific education, has given Alan Blake a fascinating edge. His outlook on life combines both these along with many other interests. To change your life, overcome any unhelpful beliefs and eliminate your self-sabotage, check out the change my life page at Life Strategies. The detailed explanation of the steps to let it go are here.