We've all been through this: even if you've walked away from someone, it feels like they're still haunting your mind. When a relationship or friendship ends, it can take months or even years to get the person out of your mind. If you don't act to replace those thoughts with something positive, the memories and all the "what ifs…" will revolve in your mind non-stop. By leaving the past behind, changing your thinking, and making new memories, you can forget about the person who is causing you that empty, sad, or angry feeling. See Step 1 to start forgetting.
Part 1 of 3: Leaving the past behind
Step 1. Wrap things up
Do you find yourself having imaginary conversations with the person you can't forget? You think if you could just tell him one more thing, everything would be different. If you still have a problem that you haven't told the person you're trying to forget, it will be much harder to get it out of your mind. The feeling of something badly finished is almost impossible to get out of your mind, so it might be a good idea to find a way to wrap things up. When there is nothing left unfinished with the person, their feelings will be much less raw, and they will eventually start to fade.
- If there's something you've hidden from the person you can't forget, it might be better for you if you reveal it. You may owe the person an apology or feel that there is something you must explain. Try writing an email or letter and sending it in person, so you don't have to renew contact with the person.
- Be honest with yourself if it makes sense to contact the person again. If they broke up two years ago and your ex is living with his new girlfriend, it won't make you feel any better to confront him with questions about why he cheated on you. You'll just end up sad and angry, with a little embarrassment to make things worse.
- Try writing a letter and throwing it away. When renewing contact isn't appropriate, or you don't have the desire to actually talk to the person, you can still close things by writing down all your thoughts as if you were confronting the person. Put everything down on paper, but throw away or burn the letter instead of sending it. It will be a cathartic experience with no bad consequences.
Step 2. Don't try to make sense of everything
Everything looked perfect, but something happened and everything went bad. If you could only know why things changed, you could go back in time and fix everything. Right? Not really. It is natural for the mind to try to work things out in logical patterns, but there is rarely a concrete reason for feelings to change. Going through the past for answers will only drain your mental energy and leave you feeling worse. What happened is in the past, and brooding won't help you forget the person who causes so much pain in your heart.
Try not to replay past events in your mind. You are training your mind to think about these memories often. The more you think about what happened, the more you "will" think about it
Step 3. Get rid of the gifts
It can be difficult to let go of the things that remind you of the person you once loved. You may have photos, keepsakes, letters and other items that were given by the person you can't forget. Putting yourself to throw things away, no matter how difficult, is a positive step in the right direction. If you are surrounded by things that remind you of the person, how can you expect to forget about them?
- The best thing to do is throw it all away. Donate, recycle or burn if you can. If you can't do this yourself, you can put everything in a box and keep it in the back of your closet. However, having these things around can tempt you to take a look at it from time to time, which can make your efforts to be in vain to forget.
- Get rid of all digital memories too. Delete photos that were posted online. Delete emails too. Anything that has the power to make you feel emotional about the person must be removed. You might want to take it off Facebook or delete the contact from your cell phone too.
Step 4. Take off the pedestal
Many of us tend to let the passage of time erase a person's faults. Maybe you've forgotten all the fights you had with your ex, and all you can remember is how beautiful his hair was when you guys walked together in the sun, and how nice it was to be with each other at night. You might think that you'll never feel that way again, and that your ex dumped it. If you're trying to forget about it, you need to take off the pedestal you put on it and remember how things really were.
- Try to write down all the reasons the relationship ended, whether it was a friendship, a romantic relationship or something. Be completely honest.
- This doesn't have to be a list of the person's negative traits. There are many good reasons to end a relationship, such as "We have different goals", "She doesn't understand who I really am" and "I was a different person back then". Trust that there was a real reason the relationship ended, whether it was you or someone else who initiated the end of the relationship.
Step 5. Be confident you can forget
If the memory of the person you are trying to forget has been haunting your mind for a while, you may think you will never be able to forget. People say "time heals all wounds", so why isn't yours healed yet? She will be healed. By reading this article and taking the steps to change your thinking, you are taking the right steps. It won't happen overnight, but you'll eventually be able to move forward. You won't be able to completely erase someone from your brain, but you can definitely get rid of those emotions, and you're already on your way to that.
Part 2 of 3: Adjusting Your Thought Patterns
Step 1. Learn to live in the present
When thoughts are constantly imagining what things might have been like, it's hard to pay attention to what's happening right now. But when you realize what's happening and engage in the present, there's no room in your mind for past memories and concerns. The practice of focusing on the present moment is called mindfulness, and it can help a lot. Here are some things you can try when your thoughts keep straying to memories of the person you don't want to think about:
- Watch where you are. Pay attention to how your body feels, and tune in to your immediate surroundings. Aim your thoughts at what's happening right now – your feet crossing the asphalt, the breeze in your face, the person's laughter carried by the wind. Refocus each time memory threatens to consume you.
- Say something out loud. Making a sound will quickly reorient your thoughts to the present. Say something like "I am here" or "This is the present". It may sound weird, but talking can help control your thoughts.
Step 2. Place your feet on the floor
You just can't go back in time and change things, no matter how much you want to. As painful as it is to realize this, reminding yourself often can help you forget. Have a plan to return to the real world when the person's memories threaten to ruin your day. Putting your feet on the ground in the present will help your mind and body remember that the "now" is what matters, not the past. Here are some things you can do:
- Talk to a friend. Call someone and have a nice, long conversation – about topics that have nothing to do with "that" person.
- Do something physical. Take a walk, run or swim. Take the dog for a walk or take a yoga class. Moving your body has a great effect on clearing your mind.
- Do something sensual. Cook a delicious meal or take a long bath with a glass of wine. Go to a show or a game. Do something that stimulates all your senses.
Step 3. Accept the distractions
When things get really bad, it's okay to get lost in distractions from time to time. Distractions can be good because they give your mind a break and help you remember that you can think about other things besides your main concern.
- Reading, watching movies, and playing video games are distractions that can cure you. Try to consume media content that doesn't remind the person you want to forget.
- Getting lost in distractions is sometimes different from having an escapist lifestyle. It is important not to start watching TV or playing video games "all the time".
- Similarly, don't use alcohol and drugs to distract yourself. People are more likely to form addictions when they use substance abuse as a way to escape negative feelings.
Step 4. Have faith that life will be good again
The thought that the best time of your life has passed can be horrible. If the person you're obsessed with represents everything you think of as the golden years, then you're having trouble letting go. It's time to redirect your thoughts to the present and future, and realize you have plenty to look forward to.
If you are missing someone you loved, you will eventually reach the point where you can enjoy the memories and the relationship for who he was, and the part he occupied in your life story
Part 3 of 3: Trying New Things
Step 1. Get new experiences
There is no better way to forget someone than making new memories. It's common for people who have just been through a divorce, breakup or any other kind of loss to spend time traveling and experiencing new things. That's because accepting the new can really help clear your mind and refocus it.
- Go somewhere you've never been, even if you go to a nearby town.
- Try a new hobby.
- Take a class.
- Get out more often.
- Listen to new music.
- Eat at new restaurants.
- Act like a tourist in your city and visit places you've never been.
- Explore local parks and nature sanctuaries.
- Go to museums.
- Go to festivals and fairs.
Step 2. Be interested in the world
Taking an interest in the world around you comes with a fullness of mind. Instead of being alone all the time, look outside, get involved. Thinking about things beyond your own problems takes practice. Even if it's not easy at first, pretend – eventually you'll see how much more interesting the present is than the past.
- Find out what's happening in your community. Get involved in local politics and have an opinion on the issues that affect you and those around you.
- Really listen when talking to people. Think about what they are feeling instead of worrying about yourself.
- Find ways to help others. Volunteering is a good way to get out of your own mind.
Step 3. Change your environment
If you're still living in the same place you used to share with the person you're trying to forget, it can be difficult to escape the memories. Changing things is a good help. Even if moving isn't possible right now, there are many things you can do to renovate without an environment.
- Rearrange the furniture.
- Paint the walls.
- Get new things like some pillows or a new lamp.
- Take a different route to work, rather than taking the same route as usual.
Step 4. Make a transformation within yourself
Changing some things in your body can give you a fresh start. The goal is not to become a new person completely, but to make some changes that can help you feel like you are entering a new phase – a happy, healthy and present phase. Here are some ideas:
- Change your hair. Paint, cut, or style differently.
- Buy some new clothes. Try a style you wouldn't normally try, or a color you wouldn't normally choose.
- Buy new personal items. Have you been using the same brand of deodorant for 15 years? Do you always wear the same perfume? Change things up a bit!
- Try a new exercise.
- Have something different for breakfast.
Step 5. Meet new people
Filling life with new personalities is a good way to erase the person you want to forget. Find positive and inspiring people to spend time with. Whether your goal is to make new friends or find someone special to have a romantic relationship with, meeting new people is always a cool way to re-engage in the world. Before you know it, your mind will be full of plans and possibilities, and the person you want to forget will finally leave your mind.
- Be strong.
- Go ahead, meet a new person.
- Try to take the situation lightly.
- Make new friends.