How To Get Over The Past – An Awesome Mind Hack

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by Jeff Billings in Retroactive Jealousy Blog
August 20, 2016
how to get over the past

It can be tough knowing how to get over the past when the past seems to permeate the present.

If you suffer from a retroactive jealousy disorder (as I used to) you’re probably well aware how the past can feel like it’s still alive.

Thoughts of a boyfriend’s past relationships or a girlfriend’s sexual past can become horribly ingrained in the mind.

And when something gets stuck in the mind, it can be notoriously difficult to shift.

A form of retroactive jealousy ocd can develop.

It can become almost impossible to remember a time in which you weren’t suffering from obsessive thoughts about the past.

But these jealous thoughts and emotions aren’t as ingrained as you may think.

Here’s a simple mind hack I learnt while overcoming retroactive jealousy.

This post may include affiliate links.

How To Get Over The Past By Embracing Free Will

We all have free will, right?

Or do we?

It may have been ingrained in our minds since childhood that we’re all free to do whatever we choose at any given moment.

And religions have a had a big part to play in this indoctrination of course.

However, when we really look at the question of free will, do we really have as much as we think?

Do we have any at all?

Philosopher and neuroscientist, Sam Harris, is one of a growing number of thinkers who believe our sense of free will is in fact an illusion.

We may think we’re in control of our thoughts and actions but we’re not.

Harris cites the fact that we’re not able to control the thoughts that pop into our head as an example.

We’re not “the author” of our thoughts.

We can’t help most of the time what thoughts pass through our consciousness.

So if we’re not authoring them, who is?

Another example:

Let’s say you love novels by Thomas Hardy but hate those by Jane Austen.

Did you choose to feel this way about these two authors work?

No. But there’s something within you that can read Tess of the d’Urbervilles a hundred times but fall asleep every time you pick up Pride and Prejudice.

You didn’t choose this aspect of your personal tastes. It just “is”.

Do gay people choose to be gay? Or angry people choose to always be angry? You could apply this to literally anything.

Watch this short video by Sam Harris to get a better understanding of the matter.

What Does Free Will Have To Do With Learning How To Get Over The Past?

When it comes to our boyfriend or girlfriend’s past, the knowledge that we don’t have free will can help tremendously.

To suffer from retroactive jealousy often means to judge our partner and feel that they “shouldn’t have done what they did”.

We like to:

  • begrudge their past behavior
  • look down on them
  • resent their keeping in touch with ex-lovers
  • or the fact that they told us about their past in the first place

But did they really have the freedom to have done otherwise?

If we’re all just acting on the whim of the neurons flying around in our brain, can we really choose to do any different than we have?

In other words, your boyfriend may have wanted to get back together with a girl who can’t believe he wanted to date in the first place.

But if he didn’t have free will, he had no choice but to call her up at 2 am begging her to move back in with him.

You may hate the fact that your girlfriend once slept with five guys in one week, but according to her biological make up and state of her brain at the time, she had no choice.

The truth is, we don’t have half as much control over our thoughts and actions as we maybe think we do.

And this should help tremendously in your fight to learn how to get over the past.

Just listen to your friend the next time he/she calls you with a hangover saying they didn’t know ”what they were thinking last night”.

Knowing this will make you see your partner’s past in a new light as you begin to realize they’re not as 100 percent responsible for their actions as you may have thought.

Do Some Research Into Free Will

Sam Harris has also written a book called Free Will which I recommend. It’s a very short, quick and enlightening read.

And here’s another longer video from Harris worth checking out:


How do you feel about free will? Do you think the knowledge that we maybe don’t have it will help you learn how to get over the past?

And don’t forget that if you REALLY want to know how to get over the past, your boyfriend’s ex, your girlfriend’s sexual history etc. grab a copy of my course Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy 101.


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