8 Signs You’re Living In The Past (And, How to Stop That?)

Last updated on May 17th, 2022 at 04:43 pm

It might seem like a bad habit or a painful memory, but there are signs that you’re living in the past. You have an amazing future ahead of you, but you throw away every opportunity by dwelling on your past. Further in this post, we’ll share some good tips on how to stop living in the past and let go of things that hold you back.


When You Live In The Past…

It is natural to reflect on the past, those golden days of our life. 

Actually, we feel happy and confident that we have such good memories to look back on. In addition, such memories and experiences make us who we are and where we want to be.

When you think about the past, there is always a chance that you feel as if such good things in life are never going to happen again. 

Or those negative experiences that have changed your life completely upside down, and you think there’s nothing you can do about them. 

Either way, they are just your negative emotions from the past. 

Moving on from the past is the best thing to do. Because you’ll always have the chance to live a happy life.

Yes, it can be hard to accept painful events and failed attempts. 

The difference is you can take them as valuable lessons to move forward in life.

And when you can’t… you end up living in the past forever. 

Due to this, you fail to seize the right opportunities in the present that can lead to ‘a brighter future’ than you could ever imagine.

Negative thoughts and feelings from the past, usually bring you down and never allow you to be a better person or have a better life.

To live your life to the fullest, you’d better get over your past as fast as you can. But first, you need to learn how to recognize the signs that you’re stuck in the past. 


8 Signs You Are Living In The Past

If you keep thinking and talking about the past, you will not only waste your time, but you will also lose motivation to do the right things for the future. 

Look for signs that you’re letting the past control your decisions in the present. Once you identify them, you can easily stop them. 

1. You take things too personally or very seriously.

Your past is hurtful, but that’s not the problem. But, you can’t get over it, is. 

Being drained by negative emotions is normal, at that moment, when something in your past has affected you emotionally and mentally. 

But when you overthink or overreact to them, you can’t escape such experiences. 

Instead of moving forward, you choose to stay stuck in the negativity. 

Overall, it’s your lack of self-esteem that makes you live in the past, preventing you from doing anything right.

2. You ignore every chance to grow or change something.

Each individual gets a second chance to make things right after an unfortunate experience. 

There are, though, some people who have become so emotionally damaged that they are never able to try something new in life. 

They resist change due to the fear of failure of what has happened to them in the past. 

Your unwillingness to change something about yourself, and lack of optimism about the future, are all signs that you’re living in the past.

3. You can’t move on from any past events, positive or negative.

Whether that experience is good or bad, you think that’s how your limited life is. 

Till life is there, there is no limit to new experiences.

However, you accepted the fact that nothing good could ever happen in your life.

Your life feels ruined by those bad experiences as if you couldn’t recover from them. This is completely irrational, what your negative emotions are telling you. 

Such negativity did more than keep you in the past; it also prevented you from taking any good from life.

Check other: 9 Signs You’ve No Personality

4. You make complaints and compare yourself with others.

You still suffer from your past and are unhappy with everything you have now. 

If you don’t let go of the hurtful memories of the past, you’re actually ruining your life.

You could be a better person, living your good life, but you choose to complain a lot about the past.

Holding grudges or complaining about anything present with the past are signs that you live in the past, making the future seem similar to the past.

5. You actually don’t respect yourself.

If you do, you have already left the past behind, and moved on to a better future.

Whatever happened to you earlier in your life, you think was all due to you. Thinking, no one else but you are responsible for every negative thing around.

That makes you feel like you’re unworthy of doing any good things again. 

We all make mistakes at some point, but you live with the regret of what you have done and the time when you failed.

You are punishing yourself by doing that because you have not forgiven yourself yet. 

6. You want to pay back or want to prove something.

You failed, but that’s fine. You were rejected, that’s okay too. 

However, that doesn’t mean you should waste your precious time proving them wrong.

There are times when you should accept your limitations and give up. 

So you can find the right thing to do in your life that’s meant for you. 

Here you haven’t gotten over a negative experience or failure. 

So you’re trying to fix something from the past, which is not possible. Which further leads you only back to the past, over and over again. 

Check other: 11 Signs You Live In A Fantasy World (And, What To Do)

7. You are becoming a more negative or bad person.

The future anxiety is there, but the bitterness of the past hurts you the most. 

When you’re constantly driven by the negative past and toxic experience, it can make you a dangerous person no one wants to deal with. 

Although you were treated unfairly by life, you still let the toxicity damage you. 

As opposed to thinking about your better future, you keep replaying the past experiences that negatively impacted you or compromised your morals. Which is a sign that you’re living in the past. 

8. You believe you failed and have no hope of a bright future.

Your past regrets prevent you from making plans for the future. 

Getting over failures and rejections from the past is extremely important. Such experiences can be very helpful and inspiring if they are handled correctly. 

But, you’re actually stopping yourself from due to such fear of failures or rejections.

It seems you don’t want to leave your comfort zone, thinking about the negative past. 

You could move on and make something of your future, but you cannot. The clear reason is – Because your past is holding you back. 


How To Stop Living In The Past

Do you always talk about the past? When you reflect on your past, do you only feel hurt, or depressed (not inspired)?

Have you lost hope just because you didn’t succeed in the past, that you won’t succeed either in the future?

If all the answers are yes, then you’ve experienced a great deal of pain from your past and it’s hard for you to see beyond the past.

If you want, you can make the most of your present and live the life you want.

Below are a few tips to leave your past behind and make today count for a better tomorrow. 

A. Accept, Ignore and move on.

No matter what you do, you cannot undo or change the past. So why not accept it?

Ignore your past when it is hurting you.

It is best to move on because you still have a lot to experience and do in your life.

B. Look at the past for inspiration, not for regrets.

It’s sometimes a good idea to rewind the past.

All of those beautiful memories you shared, whether they were from school or college, or a trip, is well worth cherishing again. But not those from failures or rejection.

If you look back in the past, make sure to take away some positive things, like some good reasons to keep you moving forward in life. 

Check other: 12 Signs You Are Happy With Your Life

C. Start living in the present.

At first, it would be hard. To live the best life today and in the future, you must leave the past behind.

When you live life as it is, it is already great.

Constantly thinking about and regretting the past doesn’t do any good.

Rather, you should make each day and every second count in the present moment. 

D. Give yourself an exciting goal.

Don’t limit yourself to the past.

What you are and what you can do now… are way better than what you used to be.

You can always get something better. There’s always room for improvement, recognize that and follow that.

Have a futurist goal that gives you a reason to wake up every morning. Stay focused on the goal you want to achieve, not the past. 

Check other: 12 Signs of Spiritual Growth and Maturity

E. Always keep going and never stop.

There’s no possibility of life. You either get things way better or worse than your past. We have no control over it.

But what we can do is keep going without getting stuck at any point.

Don’t let the past hold you back in any way. Stay inspired to work and live your best life.

If you are flexible with what life throws at you, you can make the most of it without feeling negative or overwhelmed. 


Those signs that you’re living in the past actually point out that you need to change something about your mindsets, feelings, and your life, overall. You have a long way to go and the past is gone for good. 

There’s no need to stay in the past, better to live in the present. Because your bright future is yet to come.