The Secret to Moving On is Starting Over

The Secret to Moving On is Starting Over
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Moving on without looking back isn’t always easy, especially when your emotional baggage is weighing you down. Sometimes you need to stop along the way in order to heal or maybe even reinvent yourself. Only when you’ve shaped the new and better version of yourself will you truly be ready to move on.

We could compare life to a woven cloth embroidered by beginnings and endings. They’re two sides of the same coin, full of conflicting emotions that can be difficult to manage. That’s because it’s hard to see beyond your fear and anxiety to the opportunities on the horizon.

Experts on the subject, like Denise Beike of the University of Arkansas, argue that the things that happen to you aren’t as important as how you face them. That’s why it’s so important to have a clear and objective perspective on certain things.

After experiencing something difficult in your life, people have probably told you that you have to move on. However, how can you do that when you’re struggling with so much anxiety and pain? You know that you have to keep going and look to the future, but actually doing it isn’t always easy.

Pain has deep roots. You can’t just pull them up and move somewhere else. Starting over isn’t that easy. You have to be able to repair yourself, transform, and create a new you where you draw from everything you’ve lived and learned. This process can take time. However, if you give yourself this time, you’ll be able to start over, even better than ever.

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

-Marilyn Monroe-

A woman with a suitcase full of butterflies moving on.

You can’t move on if you still carry emotional baggage

You can do it. Fix your gaze on the horizon and move forward, one step at a time. You could even just let time do all your emotional healingMany people believe that the passage of time will help them forget their pain and memories. However, the day will come when you realize that this strategy doesn’t really work.

Albert Ellis, the well-known cognitive psychotherapist, often reminded us that we let ourselves get carried away by certain beliefs without weighing other options. Ellis called them “irrational ideas”. These are ideas that put us in unhealthy and problematic situations.

So, anytime you’re facing a difficult moment or transition in your life, you have to reflect on the following ideas:

Moving forward emotionally

Moving forward isn’t the same as moving on. People often seek out psychological therapy after a breakup or a loss because they tried to move on without taking the time to grieve.

A guy with a scarf looking at the moon.

You should add this really basic idea to your list: moving forward. Here’s what this means:

  • Moving forward means not getting stuck in the same place.
  • It implies applying a new life strategy.
  • Moving forward requires starting from the inside, without running away.
  • It means facing what you feel and then accepting it. You must understand it, heal, and give yourself the chance for a new start. This is how you can make emotional and psychological progress.
  • It’s also important to be aware that the pain and sadness of a loss will never disappear. No one can erase these feelings. You have to make a space for them inside of you and learn to live with them.

Transitions take time

A study by Mark A. Thornton of Cornell University shows that all change brings a set of emotions. To effectively deal with change, you have to know how to handle these emotions. If you don’t and you try to rush the process, you run the risk of developing a psychological disorder like depression.

You have to be able to channel your anger and frustration. You also have to know how to pick your disappointment apart and learn from it.

A woman with her eyes closed and her hair loose.

Starting fresh with a stronger version of yourself

People don’t change, they move forward. We recreate ourselves as often as we need to. We don’t do it on a whim or for pleasure. Transformation happens when you face adversity and come out stronger and better prepared on the other side.

You know that moving on is the only option you have in life. The alternative is to become paralyzed and stranded. However, you do have a choice to make in how you do it. Try not to run from yourself and your emotions. Open the door to that dark and messy room that’s the deepest part of you. Give it some love, organize it, and air it out.

Allow yourself to start anew. Set off on your path again as a stronger and more hopeful person. As Charlotte Brontë once said: “What necessity is there to dwell on the past when the present is so much surer and the future so much brighter?”

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ellis, Albert (2005). Sentirse mejor, estar mejor y seguir mejorando. Madrid: Mensajero

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.