Having Trouble Letting Go Of The Past? Read These 45 Quotes On Leaving The Past Behind

We know that attachment is the root of suffering, but it seems impossible to let go of our attachments to the past.

How often do you replay and regret something that happened to you years ago – or even yesterday? 

How much pain and suffering has dwelling on the past caused you – pain that is almost as sharp and clear as the moment the event occurred? 

Looking through our list of quotes about leaving the past behind, you’ll see that clinging to it is a universal problem.

And so is the distress it causes.

We hope to inspire you to learn to let go of attachment to the past.

How Do You Leave The Past Behind You?

That’s the billion-dollar question, and if it were easy, well – someone would be pretty wealthy!

Some actions can help you heal the pain and release the grip of the past.

Here are some reminders:

  • Practice meditation and mindfulness to help you stay present.
  • Focus on gratitude when you find yourself ruminating or fretting.
  • Seek to forgive people who have hurt you.
  • Ask for forgiveness from others and yourself.
  • Go to therapy to work through traumatic or challenging past events.

Of course, all of these take time, but we have something to lift your spirits and center your mind right now.

45 Leave The Past Behind Quotes to Remind You to Let Go

Read through our collection of wisdom from thought leaders who know a thing or two about releasing the past.

Many of these quotes speak precisely to the suffering you’re experiencing and the desire to break the bonds yesterday.

1. “I will practice coming back to the present moment…not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past or letting anxieties, fears, or cravings pull me out.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

2. “If you want to fly on the sky, you need to leave the earth. If you want to move forward, you need to let go of the past that drags you down.” ― Amit Ray

leaving the past behind quotes
3. “If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.” ― Roy T. Bennett

4. “And we who loved the world must learn the language of absence: days foreshortened, empty rooms, the irrevocable distance between the goodbye and the letting go.” — Joe Bolton

5. “But you have to let go of it sometime, Gaby. You can’t change the past, any of it, and hanging on just eats your life away.” — Soheir Khashoggi

6. “Guilt is the worst demon to bear, and it will keep you in never-ending turmoil.  Learn to let it go!” — Zane Baker

7. “The only things we never forget are the ones we never possessed.” — Laura Chouette

8. “Letting go of the past gives us a restart.” — Bert McCoy

9. “You’re not going to live in victory if you hold on to baggage from yesterday. Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life.” — Germany Kent

leaving the past behind quotes
10. “The way to let go of the past is the same way to take care of a wound – don’t pick at it.” — Bert McCoy

11. “Everything inside me has shifted. I’m stronger. Not only am I able to let go, I’m happy to let go. I’m focused on the future.” — Sophie Kinsella

12. “But all of that is an hour from now. Now, on the other side of midnight, we do not know yet what is coming. So be it. So let it be.” — Rebecca Serle

13. “Sometimes the only way to get closure is by accepting that you’ll never get it.” — John Mark Green

14. “They say forgiveness is giving up hope on having had a better past. I’m ready. I want to let it all go, I’m just not sure how to do it.” — Aggie Blum Thompson

15. “The old you is only a shadow of the reality which is the new you. The shadow is useless without its reality.” — Efrat Cybulkiewicz

16. “We don’t realize how excess stuff draws on our energy until it’s removed.” — Mary Vraa

17. “Do you like neck pain? Then stop looking behind you into the past.” — Jaclyn Johnston

18. “If strength is love, then we weren’t strong enough, But if strength is letting love go, we were.” — Joe Bolton

19. “Friend, you need to believe in something much bigger than yourself. You have to let go.” — Lauren H. Brandenburg

20. “Even spineless anthropods shed what’s no longer useful and leave it behind them. Are you not greater than they?” —Jason Versey

21. “Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” – Sonia Ricotti

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22. “Sometimes we can only find our true direction when we let the wind of change carry us.” — Mimi Novic

23. “The sooner we let go of holding on, the sooner we can hold on to the beauty of what’s unfolding before us. Nothing was ever meant to stay the same forever.” — Julieanne O’Connor

24. “The more you nourish the old memories of pain, the more you obstruct the new lights and new truths.” — Amit Ray

25. “When you hold onto a script that doesn’t serve you, you leave no space to write a new one that does.” — Jennifer Ho

leaving the past behind quotes
26. “I always get to where I am going by walking away from where I have been.” — Winnie the Pooh

27. “You can’t feed today’s hunger with yesterday’s meal.” — TJ Milam

28. “The past is somewhere we can walk with our memories. Never with our footstep.” — Mimi Novic

29. “Among your farewells, see you soon, now I have no time and stormy silences, I met someone….that someone, is me.” — Efrat Cybulkiewicz

30. “Get pass your past, be a presence in your present, and let no one refute your future.” —Johnnie Dent Jr.

31. “Forgiveness is a powerful mental process that detoxifies our mental, spiritual and physical realms.” — Dr. Jacinta Mpalyenkana

leaving the past behind quotes
32. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” — Gautama Buddha

33. “To move foward, you have to leave the past behind.”  — Susannah Cahalan

34. “There is an opportunity for us to renew ourselves. There’s an opportunity for us to leave the past behind and present something different for the future.” — Jay Weatherill

35. “You can’t look back – you just have to put the past behind you, and find something better in your future.” — Jodi Picoult

36. “It is discouraging to leave the past behind only to see it coming toward you like the thunderstorm which drenched you yesterday.” —William H. Gass

37. “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone.” — Johnny Cash

38. “We cannot go back in time and change the past but we can repent.” — Dieter F. Uchtdorf

39. “If it doesn’t agree with your spirit let it go.” — Germany Kent

40. “What you leave behind says as much about you as what you bring along.” — Jacquelyn Middleton

41. “Letting go is an inside job, something only we can do for ourselves.” — Sharon Salzberg

42. “Sometimes in life you’ve got to Ctrl, Alt, Delete and let go.” — Marilyn Devonish

43. “Sometimes the only reason why you  won’t let go of someone making you sad is because he was the only one that once made you happy.” — Lily Amis

44. “Resentment and bitterness and old grudges were dead things, which rotted the hands that grasped them.” — Winston Graham

45. “One thing about past challenges I never let go of: the fact that I made it through, survived, and learned a great deal.” — Charles F. Glassman

We love these beautiful “leave the past in the past” quotes as you get so much from reading them thoughtfully. 

How does each quote apply to you and your life? How will you use them to renew your mind and spirit?

Today is the perfect day to face the present as a blank slate. The past is only a thought and has no power over you. Reality is right now.

There is nothing good about hanging onto the memories of the past. Read these leave the past behind quotes to remind yourself it's time to let go.

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