Everyone feels guilty about their past – whether it was a failing friendship or an argument.

For many years, I had been someone who couldn’t forget and move on from past mistakes, but after seeing the effects, it was time to stop the past from controlling my present and future.

In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle says ‘the past determines who we are, how we perceive, and how we behave in the present moment.’

If you continue to focus on your past mistakes, it will only cause more harm than good. This is an unhealthy mindset which causes anxiety and frustration towards yourself.

And that’s why it’s important to let go and adopt a positive mindset.

What is a positive mindset?

Many people believe that adopting a positive mindset will mean you don’t experience negative emotions, and you will be happy all the time.

However, this is far from being the truth. 

Having a positive mindset means you can identify your negative thinking and stop it from causing further harm to your mental, emotional and physical health.

Why is it important to adopt a positive mindset?

As I had mentioned earlier, reliving your past mistakes will lead to further anxiety and frustration. 

Letting go of the past is important to your mindset because it will allow more room for the moments that matter, such as achievements and opportunities.

It’s not easy to let go of the past, but luckily in this post, I will be giving you 4 steps that will allow you to move forward and adopt a positive mindset.

Here are the 4 steps to let go of the past and adopt a positive mindset.

Identify what you need to let go

First, you need to identify what is holding you back from adopting a positive mindset, and you can easily do this by asking yourself these five questions:

  • What moment in your childhood stands out?
  • What fears are you holding on to?
  • What negative experience do you think most about?
  • What is stopping you from taking your next steps?
  • Do you have any regrets?

According to Haylie from ‘The Morning Buzz,’ she says it’s important to ‘write down everything that comes to your mind.’ Even if you believe the experiences your writing down are small, they are all valuable and impact your life in some way.

Find your WHY for letting go

Finding your why will become your motivator for completing the next steps in the process, and will motivate you to have the courage to face your past experiences.

This will involve you using the list of experiences you have written in the previous step, and making a list of the effects it has caused for you in the present moment.

Here are two examples:

  • A memory of a friend calling you boring may result in you avoiding taking opportunities that will allow you to show your personality, such as becoming a host and leader.
  • A memory of you being bullied may result in you avoiding developing valuable friendships.

Forgive yourself and other people

For you, this may be the hardest step in the process, but the most important.

If you don’t learn to forgive yourself and the people that hurt you, it will become a barrier, stopping you from adopting a positive mindset and growing as a person. 

For a long time, I had been held onto the memory of myself being bullied during secondary school, and how none of my friends supported me during the worst times of my life.

These memories had affected me later in life when I started to make new friendships. 

Instead of developing long-lasting friendships, my fear of being judged and seen as vulnerable became a barrier when I wanted to make friends.

After many years of battling these memories, I had to learn to leave the past in the past and move forward, otherwise, it would affect me when I go into my next chapter in life; university and my twenties. 

If you’re struggling to move further from this step, I would suggest reading this post ‘5 things holding you back from personal growth.’ It will help you to understand the importance of taking the steps needed to grow as a person.

Release the toxicity

There are many ways to release your toxicity including journaling, talking to someone, meditation and exercise.

But, the most important way to release your toxicity is through gratitude journaling.

Gratitude is when you show appreciation towards the people and moments around you, such as your parents and the new opportunity that you were given.

A gratitude journal is a great way to release your toxicity because it involves writing down everything that you are most grateful for in that particular moment. 

This results in you becoming less frustrated with the things you do not have, and appreciate the moments and things that matter in life; contributing to you adopting a positive mindset.

Are you still unsure how to start a journal? I would recommend checking out this post on ‘How to start a journal and the benefits.’

Accept who you are now

It’s hard to accept the person you are right now. You may believe that you can erase the mistakes you made and start a new life, but that’s far from being true.

As Amber from Shinesheets says, ‘you are not your past mistakes, you are not your accidents, and you are not what other people have done to you.’

This is an important lesson to learn because if you continue to identify as your past self, it will become a barrier for yourself in the future and lead to further frustration and guilt; both the common effects of not letting go of the past.

This had been something which I had to accept too. For many years I had been labelled as the ‘quiet girl.’ This resulted in me identifying myself as the label, which became a barrier for when I wanted to gain more opportunities and experiences.

Despite it being hard to accept who you are today, it will make a positive impact on your mindset.

I hope that this post has helped you to let go of the past and adopt a positive mindset. Having a positive mindset is a must if you want to move further towards your dream life, and that requires confronting your past mistakes and experiences.


Kyra is the creator of the blog, The Millennial Mindset, with her main aim to help millennials manifest their dream life. Aside from blogging, she loves to take part in her favourite activities, including drawing, reading, baking and dancing. If you would like to find out more about Kyra, you can check out her blog and Instagram account.