The following is an excerpt from an article called “5 Ways to Move On” by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

We’ve all been hurt at some point in our lives. You essentially can’t be an adult or teen alive today that hasn’t experienced some kind of emotional pain.

What you do with that hurt is the difference between being an active participant of life, and letting things just happen to you freely.

Most of us have a tendency to blame others for our hurt. We want them to apologize to us, and admit what they did was wrong. The problem with doing this, is that if the individual who is being confronted denies the blame by saying things like “i didn’t hurt you” or “so what if i did”, then you are left with all this anger and hurt that has not been validated or acknowledged, and no solution.

That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have any feelings to bring up. Your feelings are legitimate and you should feel them fully before moving on. However, there is a difference between acknowledging and feeling your emotions, and endlessly ruminating on them.

Step 1) Learn to let it go.

You need to make a commitment to yourself. Things don’t disappear on their own, and making this conscious acknowledgement to yourself, will help you to move forward in your own life. This means recognizing that you have a CHOICE to either hold on to the pain, or to live your life without it.

Step 2) Express your pain, and your responsibility.

There are countless healthy ways that you can express your pain. Whether its venting to a friend, exercising, or just journaling your thoughts, get it all out of your system. Doing so will help you understand what your pain is about. Ask yourself the important questions when faced with the pain.

  1. What could you have done differently next time?
  2. Are you in charge of your life or just a hopeless victim of it?
  3. Will you let your pain become your identity? Or are you someone deeper and more complex than that.

Step 3) Stop being the victim and blaming others.

It can feel good to blame all of our problems on the world. Yes you are special, and your feelings matter. However, it is important to recognize that your feelings don’t override all else, and nothing else matters. Your feelings are just a small part of the big picture. During that moment you have a choice. Those choices are, to either continue to feel bad about another person’s actions, or to start feeling good. By taking responsibility for your own happiness, you put all the power back into your own hands, instead of the hands of others.

Step 4) Focus on the present.

Being in the present is one of the best skills we as human beings have. When you focus on the here and now, you give less time for your mind to focus on the past. Sure thoughts of the past will come by every once in a while. And when they do, its okay to acknowledge them for a moment. After that, you can go back to doing what you were doing in the present. Some people have conscious cues that they use to help them with this. For example, when faced with a thought of the past, simply telling oneself “its okay, that was the past, and now i’m focusing on my happiness here and now” works great for some.

Step 5) Forgive them and yourself.

We don’t have to forget a person’s bad behaviors, but virtually everyone deserves our forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t saying “I agree with what you did”. It is saying “I don’t agree with what you did, but i’m going to forgive you anyway”. Forgiveness is a strong trait to have. It is a tangible way of letting something go. Forgiving yourself can also be important in this area. You owe it to yourself to find your own peace and happiness just as everyone else is doing.

Nobody’s life should be defined by pain. It isn’t healthy, it adds to our stress, and it hurts our ability to focus, study, and work. It even impacts every other relationship we have with other people who come into our lives, and are near and dear to us. Every day you choose to hold onto the pain, is another day everybody around you has to live with that decision. So do everybody and yourself a favor. Let go of the pain. Try something different today, and welcome happiness back into your life. “

Source: 5 Ways to Move On By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.