76 Quotes About Letting Go to Help You Move On and Gain Freedom

Woman with arms open letting go of toxic thinking

Do you struggle to find closure after breakups or when relationships with friends or family end? How about letting go of all the emotions associated with bad memories or toxic people? If so, you’re not alone. Everybody’s got something from their past that continues to bother them and these 76 letting go quotes should help motivate you to press on.

As a mental health clinician, I know that holding onto old grievances and negative emotions can weigh heavily on you, leading to stress, anxiety, depression and even regret. These mental health issues increase your chances of having post-traumatic stress disorder or cardiovascular problems. Life is so much more complicated when you’re carrying around old baggage, which is why releasing the burdens haunting you allows you to move forward with greater freedom and clarity—but how do you start letting go?

You can start by absolving your attachment to unrealistic outcomes and expectations, surrendering control and allowing life to happen organically. Accept the present moment and embrace uncertainty with openness and courage. Also, despite what it may sound like, letting go does not mean forgetting the past. Instead, try acknowledging it without allowing it to define the future. It requires forgiveness of others, but most importantly, forgiving yourself.

However, that’s easier said than done; sometimes, a little inspiration is all you need to begin the process. Whether you’re struggling to get over cutting off a toxic family member or unhelpful shame and guilt, this compilation of quotes about letting go includes bits of wisdom from celebrities and authors as well as religious and cultural figures to help you start your journey toward inner peace and healing.

Related: 16 Signs You're Losing a Friend—Plus, How To Cope, According to a Therapist



76 Letting Go Quotes

1. “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” - Lewis Carroll

2. "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein

3. “It’s not a matter of letting go— you would if you could. Instead of “let it go,” we should probably say “let it be.’”– Jon Kabat-Zinn

4. “Thank God I found the good in goodbye.” - Beyoncé Knowles, “Best Thing I Never Had”

5. “Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.” - Stephen King

6. “The truth is unless you let go—forgive yourself, forgive the situation, realize the past is over—you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli

7. “One of the most courageous decisions you’ll ever make is finally letting go of what is hurting your heart and soul.” – Brigitte Nicole

8. “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

9. “I realise there's something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they're experts at letting things go.” - Jeffrey McDaniel

10. “There are far better things ahead than we ever leave behind.” - C.S. Lewis

11. “There ain't no way you can hold onto something that wants to go, you understand? You can only love what you got while you got it.” - Kate DiCamillo

Related: 8 Types of Toxic Friends You Should Cut Out of Your Life, According to Psychotherapists



12. “It’s hard to be clear about who you are when you are carrying around a bunch of baggage from the past.” - Angelina Jolie

13. “We would do ourselves a tremendous favor by letting go of the people who poison our spirit.” - Steve Maraboli

14. “Never ruin a good day by thinking about a bad yesterday.” - Unknown

15. “If you truly want to be respected by people you love, you must prove to them that you can survive without them.” - Michael Bassey Johnson

16. "You only lose what you cling to." - Buddha

17. "Letting go isn't a one-time thing, it's something you have to do over and over again." - Dawson's Creek

18. "The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving." - Elizabeth Gilbert

19. “Asking ourselves, ‘Where am I right now?’ gives us a chance to step outside the internal dialogue for a moment of peace. Look around you, take a deep breath and notice what you see, hear and feel. Present moment awareness is the point of power and choice. It frees us from our compulsive thoughts.” - Laura Harvey

20. “Sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake & help us see we are worth so much more than we're settling for.” - Mandy Hale

21. “When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear.... When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all.” - Gerald G. Jampolsky

22. “Peace within us starts when we learn to forgive and let go.” - Mimi Novic

23. “It's acceptable to admit that someone, at some point, meant a lot to you, that person held significance. Even if they still do in some ways, or no longer do, it's okay to let them go. Accepting their absence doesn't diminish the importance of what you shared. Recognize that not every relationship is crafted for forever, and that understanding is a compass guiding you away from the quagmire of the past...” - Carson Anekeya

Related: 7 Subtle Signs Someone's Trying to Distance Themselves from You



24. "Courage is the power to let go of the familiar." - Raymond Lindquist

25. “I don’t regret difficulties I experienced; I think they helped me to become the person I am today. I feel the way a warrior must feel after years of training; he doesn’t remember the details of everything he learned, but he knows how to strike when the time is right.” - Paolo Coelho

26. "When people get in your face and say, 'This will pass,' you think, Are they crazy? I'm never gonna feel any better than I feel right this minute. And nothing's ever gonna make sense again. And I still have moments where I'm like, nothing's ever gonna make sense again." - Reese Witherspoon to Elle Magazine

27. “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” - Mandy Hale

28. “Sunsets are proof that endings can be beautiful.” – Beau Taplin

29.  “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” - A.A. Milne

30. “Maybe forgiveness means you stop keeping tabs on those people. Wounds can't heal if you keep touching them.” - Joyce Rachelle

31. “Anything that feels forced or harder than it should be or causes you pain and distress is not meant for you. Having this mentality or faith will help you overcome the reluctance that comes with making a decision of whether or not you should let go. Things that are meant for you have a way of flowing smoothly into your life. The more you fight for something that is not meant for you, the more it will fight you.” - Rania Naim

32. “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put the past together again. So let’s remember: Don’t try to saw sawdust.” - Dale Carnegie

33. “You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analysing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've happened... or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the f--- on.” - Tupac Shakur

34. “It hurts to let go, to say goodbye for the final time and remain distant in your closure, it may even tear your heart out to the point of insanity; but somehow in it all you find the pieces of your worth and you start creating yourself again, and in that journey of transformation you find the essence of what truly matters, inner happiness. It's life, we all fall at some stage but it's up to you, to decide how long you want to stay there.” - Nikki Rowe

35. “If strength is love, then we weren't strong enough, But if strength is letting love go, we were.” - Joe Bolton

36. “A very wise man once told me that you can't look back - you just have to put the past behind you, and find something better in your future.” - Jodi Picoult

37. “Your past history and all of your hurts are no longer here in your physical reality. Don’t allow them to be here in your mind, muddying your present moments. Your life is like a play with several acts. Some of the characters who enter have short roles to play, others, much longer. But all are necessary, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the play. Embrace them all, and move on to the next act.” - Wayne Dyer

38. “Sometimes in order to move the mind forward we must shift its gears out of reverse.” - Curtis Tyrone Jones

39. “I realized that there was no point or sense in chasing after happiness that had perished.” - Mikhail Lermontov

40. “When a friend becomes a stranger, it’s time to let go and move on.” - Unknown

41. “Don’t be afraid to let go of a friendship that no longer brings you happiness.” - Unknown

42. "Letting go doesn't mean that you don't care about someone anymore. It's just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself." - Deborah Reber

43. “Let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit, and bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.” - Steve Maraboli

44. “Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald

45. “Life is asking us to be flexible. I had to reinvent myself a hundred times just to find some peace of mind. Without flexibility, I would have been stuck in horrible situations.” - Mitta Xinindlu

46. “Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.” - Robin Sharma

47. "I was brought up seeing my mother try to please and make everyone comfortable and I always felt like it was my job to fix the problem. People pleaser. But, I'm no longer afraid of conflict. I don't think conflict is a bad thing. Because, I know that when you grow up, when you learn a few things, you're no longer afraid of letting go. You're no longer afraid of the unknown. You're no longer afraid of going to certain places in your body, mind, and soul that might make you feel uncomfortable, and it all starts with if you can look at yourself in the mirror and say 'I like that person.'" - Beyoncé Knowles

48. “Train yourself to let go of the things you fear to lose.” - George Lucas

49. "No, it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel good in this moment, but in the future, it’s the thing that’s going to light you up so you can stay lit! When you look at the thing, the deeper the heartache, the more you needed to learn, and that’s actually the truth... Every heartache is there to teach you something about yourself." - Oprah, to Vibe Magazine

50. “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

51. “When your trust has been betrayed, the only thing to do is live, learn and let go. Otherwise the betrayal done by another will turn into hate for them. But they will not feel this hate, it will only hurt you more, growing bigger and darker. So, live, learn and let go. By living, it means they did not hurt you so deep that you can not move forward. Learn, learn to not trust this person again, and to make more of a sound judgement in the future. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting. It means that you have let go of the pain it caused. And by not forgetting, you will learn and move forward from the betrayal of the past.” - S.L. Vaden

52. “You didn’t grow apart because you’re evil, but because you evolved. It’s life. It’s natural. It’s ok. Keep growing!” - Curtis Tyrone Jones

53. “It was real. And now it's over. And that's OK.” - Taylor Jenkins Reid

54. "I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me. You just have to go back to that greatness, find that one little light that's left. I'm lucky I found one little glimmer stored away." - Lady Gaga to Harpar’s Bazaar

55. “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” - Alexander Graham Bell

56. “In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you love? How deeply did you learn to let go?” - Buddha

57. “Sometimes I think there are only two instructions we need to follow to develop and deepen our spiritual life: slow down and let go.” - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

58. “The more anger towards the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the present.” - Barbara De Angelis

59. “I thought about how often this was needed in everyday life. How we feel lonely, sometimes to the point of tears, but we don't let those tears come because we are not supposed to cry. Or how we feel a surge of love for a partner but we don't say anything because we're frozen with the fear of what those words might do to the relationship.” - Tuesdays with Morrie

60. “Sometimes it’s in the letting go that we find ourselves and the path we were meant to be on all along.” - Brittany Burgunder

61. “Rather than continuing to seek the truth, simply let go of your views.” - Buddha

62. “You know you’ve moved on when you find other people beautiful. when you don’t avert your eyes but keep them steady or when you stay the night, the last one at the party, and you don’t feel sorry. or empty. or guilty because whatever, where are you going anyway?” - Charlotte Eriksson

63. “You need to make a conscious choice every day to shed the old.” - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Related: 25 Red Flags That Signify a Toxic Relationship, According to Psychotherapists

64. “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

65. “The hard part of loving is that one has to learn so often to let go of those we love, so they can do things, so they can grow, so they can return to us with an even richer, deeper love.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

66. “Learn from your past and be better because of your past," she would say, "but don't cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don't hold on to it. Don't be bitter.” - Trevor Noah

67. “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

68. “The lack of mindfulness often makes us carry the unnecessary possessions, stale ideologies and rotten relationships along, which unnecessarily clutter our lives and consciousness, and stagnate our growth.” - Banani Ray

69. “Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.” - Hillary Clinton

70. “Take it from me: If you hear the past speaking to you, feel it tugging up your back and runing its fingers up your spine, the best thing to do-the only thing-is run.” - Lauren Oliver

71. “The past was always there, lived inside of you, and it helped to make you who you were. But it had to be placed in perspective. The past could not dominate the future.” - Barbara Taylor Bradford

72. "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." - Buddha

73. “Things are as they are—we suffer because we imagined different.” - Rachel Wolchin

74. “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” - Catherine Ponder

75. “Letting go is the willingness to change your beliefs in order to bring more peace and joy into your life instead of holding onto beliefs that bring pain and suffering.” - Hal Tipper

76. “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung

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