45 Best Songs about Moving On & Letting Go of the Past

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Whether we are sad, happy, confused, or ecstatic, we often turn to music to express and acknowledge our emotions.

Today, we are focusing on music that can help you heal your broken heart.

We have compiled a list of the best songs about moving on and letting go to help you navigate the process of healing and finding happiness.

Let’s check out the playlist!

Table of Contents

1. Let Me Go, Hailee Steinfeld & Alesso ft. Florida Georgia Line & Watt

“I’ve been hoping someone will love you, let me go.”

Breaking up is a two-way process. It doesn’t work smoothly if the one party is ready for a new chapter while the other is still trapped in the relationship.

This is a song for those who have broken up with someone but can’t seem to find peace because the other party just won’t give up. At the same time, it is also for those who have been broken up with, telling them to let go and move on.

You can’t keep holding on to someone who has moved on, otherwise you will never be happy.

2. We Are Never Getting Back Together, Taylor Swift

“I used to think that we were forever ever, ever… But we are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.”

This is one of Taylor Swift’s biggest hits. It was her first song to land on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart’s number one spot, and it was the first song to ever hold that spot for more than a week in the history of the United States.

The song tells the story of a girl and her frustration with an ex-lover after a break-up. While the story is about love, it focuses on strength and the willingness to move on and let go.

This song is for all the people out there who are brave enough to take a leap of faith and start anew.

3. Someone Like You, Adele

“Never mind, I’ll find someone like you. I wish nothing but the best for you, too.”

There are two things to be commended about this song: Adele’s strong and wonderful vocal performance and her soulful and heartfelt lyrics.

The song became a global success upon its release, reaching the number one spot on billboards in over 20 countries and regions.

Someone Like You is a sad song full of bitterness and resentment, but it is also full of hope and genuine respect and kindness.

Even after all the aches and pains, you still have to be willing to let go, wish the other person a lifetime of happiness, and find your own peace.

4. Since U Been Gone, Kelly Clarkson

“But since you been gone, I can breathe for the first time. I’m so moving on.”

Since U Been Gone is another award-winning song about moving on and letting go. It was popularized by first season American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, and is considered one of her most impressive performances.

This song is for anyone who needs to find their resolve after a failed relationship. It is for those who are done crying and ready for the next phase, which is finding their happiness.

5. New Rules, Dua Lipa

“Practice makes perfect. I’m still tryna learn it by heart. Eat sleep and breathe it. Rehearse and repeat it.”

Dua Lipa lays out a set of rules in this song, talking about how to deal with someone who treats you as if you are worthless, despite everything you’ve done for them.

While it is intended for women who are looking to get over men, we find it fitting for anyone who wishes to be free from any kind of toxic relationship.

You are not a slave, so free yourself from your toxic relationships.

6. Survivor, Destiny’s Child

“You thought that I would die with you but I’m livin’… I’m the survivor. I’m gonna make it. I will survive.”

You are a survivor. Whatever comes your way, whether in a relationship or life in general, you can make it through.

In this song, Destiny’s Child tells us that even if the world falls and the people we know fail us, our lives can still go on because we are strong.

7. Don’t Hurt Like It Used To, Grace Carter

“I always try to keep it positive so why’d you have to throw your weight on me? But now I’m stronger ‘cause I’ve lifted it.”

Here’s a song for everyone who has finally realized that they deserve better in life.

You may have been hurt and abandoned, but that doesn’t mean that you are not worthy of happiness. You may have thrown everything away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get back up again.

Lift your head high and stand proud. Tell them that it doesn’t hurt anymore because you’ve gotten over it. You were born to be happy, and no one can ever take that away from you.

8. Ain’t Thinkin Bout You, KREAM & Eden Prince ft. Louisa

“Don’t care about you, now I don’t. ‘Cause I know that my feelings are long gone.”

Perhaps the best way to forget someone and move on is to not think of them at all. It may be difficult, but once you have decided to do so, it becomes a lot easier.

You have to heal yourself, because no one else can do it for you. Healing is a process that starts from within. You can only let go and move on once you tell yourself that you are ready.

9. Better by Myself, Hey Violet

“I never wanna speak to you ‘cause when I’m on my own I feel alive… I’m better by myself.”

Sometimes being alone can feel a lot better than being with someone else. It makes you feel more alive and self-sufficient and helps you be more connected to the world.

This song is for those who are tired of being used and abused—not only in a physical way, but also mentally and emotionally.

If you feel like your relationship with certain people is doing you no good, then it is time to cut ties. You need to love yourself more.

10. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor

“I’ve got all my life to live and I’ve got all my love to give. I will survive.”

Gloria Gaynor is a musical legend, and this uber-popular breakup song is a classic. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably sung it at karaoke, or at least heard someone else belt it out!

This song is for anyone who wants to mend a broken heart, but doesn’t not know how. It’s like it was specifically made to help you through the process of healing, letting go, and finally moving on.

11. Better in Time, Leona Lewis

“I’m gonna smile ‘cause I deserve to. It’ll all get better in time.”

This song applies to anyone who has had their heart broken and can’t find a reason to move on. Your past relationship may have damaged you a lot, but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer forever.

Time heals all wounds, and that’s what Leona Lewis tells us in this song. Someday you will realize that finding your own peace and happiness is what matters most.

12. I Will Always Love You, Dolly Parton / Whitney Houston

“I hope life will treat you kind. I hope that you have all that you ever dreamed of.”

Award-winning and controversial, this song legendary, whether sung by Dolly Parton or Whitney Houston. Both women did it justice, recording classic versions of this chart-topping hit.

The song was originally composed by Parton as a farewell gift to her former mentor and business partner. She wanted to tell him that, even if they were parting ways, she would always remember him in the best light possible.

This is a song you sing to someone you have shared your most precious moments with. Instead of being sad and bitter that the relationship has ended, the best way to deal with the heartbreak is to wish the other person a lifetime of happiness.

13. So Yesterday, Hilary Duff

“Laugh it off, let it go, and when you wake up it will seem so yesterday. Haven’t you heard that I’m gonna be okay?”

So Yesterday is a simple and short song, but music critics have said that it has powerful lyrics, especially the chorus. It tells the story of a girl getting over a breakup and calling her ex-lover someone “so yesterday” while believing that someday, somewhere, everything is going to be okay.

This song can also apply to non-romantic breakups. Whatever it is that caused your heart to ache, just laugh it off and let it go. It will hurt today, but soon it will be “so yesterday.”

14. Lonely Together, Avicii ft. Rita Ora

“I might hate myself tomorrow but I’m on my way tonight… Let’s be lonely together.”

This song is for anyone who can’t seem to give up their broken relationship, but who knows deep down that they need to do so. It resonates with those who are still looking for the courage and strength to move on and start anew.

15. Let It Be, The Beatles

“And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me, shinin’ until tomorrow, let it be.”

Here’s another iconic song about letting go from one of the most influential bands of all time, The Beatles.

Let It Be was written by Paul McCartney after having a dream about his mother while the band was going through a tense period. In his dream, her mother assured him that everything would be all right, so he just needed to let it be.

Just like The Beatles, you need to let things flow the way they are supposed to. Let things go if they hurt and you will eventually feel happy.

16. Big Girls Don’t Cry, Fergie

“It’s personal, myself and I, we’ve got some straightenin’ out to do… I’ve got to get a move on with my life.”

Big Girls Don’t Cry marked Fergie’s debut solo album apart from the Black Eyed Peas. Although it was her first time branching out on her own, the song received numerous awards in various countries and even made it onto the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

The song is widely commended for its mature approach to dealing with a broken relationship and starting a new life.

Fergie teaches us that it is okay to prioritize ourselves, especially when we’re hurting. Giving up a relationship and being alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely.

17. See You Again, Carrie Underwood

“Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking, but I stay strong and I hold on ‘cause I know I will see you again.”

Parting ways with someone can be one of life’s most heartbreaking experiences. The pain can become overwhelming.

But Carrie Underwood teaches us the value of hope and acceptance. Things may have ended, but who knows—maybe someday you’ll be reunited with them to continue where you left off.

18. Love Yourself, Justin Bieber

“For all the times that made you feel small, I fell in love. Now I feel nothin’ at all.”

Love Yourself is a song that’s dedicated to a narcissistic ex-lover. Bieber’s heartfelt original rendition is a wake-up call to anyone who’s trapped in a relationship that’s been draining them. There is nothing to gain from a relationship that is stealing all of your energy.

This also applies in non-romantic relationships. If you feel like the other person is no good for your health and happiness, then it might be better to cut ties.

19. Irreplaceable, Beyoncé

“I can have another you by tomorrow so don’t you ever for a second get to thinking that you’re irreplaceable.”

Here’s another song that you can sing to an ex-lover with narcissistic tendencies—to someone who thinks that you can’t live your life without them.

Beyoncé and Ne-Yo created this song to raise awareness about women’s empowerment, but they also wanted it to be gender-inclusive. Although the lyrics were written from a female point of view, the song has a message that everyone can relate to.

If your relationship is draining you, it may be time to let it go. Don’t beat yourself up and try to salvage something that is toxic.

20. How to Save a Life, The Fray

“And I would have stayed up with you all night had I known how to save a life.”

The original story of this song goes back to Isaac Slade’s (lead singer of The Fray) experience as a mentor working with a troubled young musician. The young man was unable to prevent the death of his friend, and as a result he fell into depression and substance abuse.

Death and grief are difficult things to overcome, but to be able to finally accept them is one of the best things you can do to find happiness again.  

21. There You’ll Be, Faith Hill

“I’ll keep a part of you with me, and everywhere I am there you’ll be.”

This song from the Pearl Harbor soundtrack is about loss and grief. Faith Hill encourages us to value our relationships and the people around us while we still have the chance.

This song teaches us that even when we lose those we love, these people will always be in our hearts. Acceptance is a huge part of moving on, and we can only proceed with life if we let go of what has been holding us back.

22. Everybody Lost Somebody, Bleachers

“I’m standing here in the cold and I gotta get myself back home soon. Looking like everybody, knowing everybody lost somebody.”

Whenever you feel like you’re fighting life’s battles alone, remember that other people might be experiencing the same thing as. Knowing that there are others who understand how you feel can help you find comfort and move on.

Everybody has lost somebody in life, whether through death, breakups, or other sad experiences. Everybody has experienced the same suffering as you. And we have all been through the healing process too. If we can make it, then you can too.

23. Changing of the Seasons, Two Door Cinema Club

“’Cause every day since you left me, I’ve thought less and less of you.”

Changing of the Seasons hits you deep when you listen to it for the first time after a major breakup. But it seems even more significant once you decide that it’s time to let go and move on.

Feelings can change, just like the seasons. You don’t have to face the cold of winter for the rest of your life. Good days are coming, so you just need to wait patiently.

songs about moving on | songs about moving on in life | moving on and letting go songs

24. Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl, Wet

“I’m not livin’ right so I decide that I don’t wanna be your girl, no more.”

This song is short but powerful. It only has a few lyrics and they are quite repetitive, but they hit close to home.

The meaning of this song is actually open to interpretation. It can either be simple or meaningful, depending on how you look at it.

We feel it is a great fit for anyone who’s in a toxic relationship with someone they love. If the other person treats you poorly, don’t you think it’s time to stop?

25. 100 Letters, Halsey

“And now I can’t stop thinking that I almost gave you everything. And now the whole thing’s finished and I can’t stop wishing that I never gave you anything.”

100 Letters by Halsey is a song full of regrets—things you wish you didn’t do. But it is also full of hope, because admitting those regrets is like telling yourself that you are now ready to take on a new chapter of your life.

There are relationships worth saving and there are those that aren’t. If you know deep down that it isn’t healthy, it might be better to let go and move forward while you still have the chance.

26. IDGAF, Dua Lipa

“So I cut you off, I don't need your love 'cause I already cried enough. I've been done. I've been movin' on since we said goodbye.”

Dua Lipa hits hard once you decide you are ready to mend your broken heart. Her lyrics pierce right to the soul, giving you the courage to start a brand new life.

Here is her “I don’t give a f***” fight song for everyone who has decided to get over their past toxic relationships. It’s not easy to end things, but life is destined to get better if you are determined to live more happily.

27. Don’t Hurt Yourself, Beyoncé

“I am the dragon breathing fire. Beautiful mane, I'm the lion… I'm just too much for you.”

In this song, Beyoncé teaches us that we need to stop hurting ourselves. She explains that we hurt ourselves when we hurt other people. We all need to stop doing things to others that we don’t want to experience ourselves.

28. Someday You Will Be Loved, Death Cab for Cutie

“But I know your heart belongs to someone you've yet to meet. And someday, you will be loved.”

This song is an anthem for men who are brave enough to let go of the girls they love. It is never easy to wish for someone’s future happiness, especially when you still have feelings for them, but to do so means that you truly care for that person.

Once  you help that person move on, you can allow yourself to move forward and find your own happiness.

29. You Learn, Alanis Morissette

“You live, you learn. You love, you learn. You cry, you learn. You lose, you learn. You bleed, you learn. You scream you learn.”

In this song, Alanis Morisette tells us to let loose sometimes so we can live a more fulfilling life. If you feel like you are trapped in the past, it is time to let go of that feeling.

Do things that you have never done before. Feel emotions that you have never experienced felt. When you are ready to move on, change your routine and try living a freer, happier life.

30. The First Cut Is The Deepest, Cat Stevens / P.P. Arnold / Rod Stewart / Sheryl Crow

“I would have given you all of my heart but there's someone who's torn it apart. And he’s/she's taken just all that I had. But if you want, I'll try to love again.”

The First Cut is the Deepest is a song with a ton of history, but the credit goes to its original writer and singer, P.P. Arnold and Cat Stevens (1967). It was later covered by a number of other artists, particularly Rod Stewart (1976) and Sheryl Crow (2003).

We highly recommend listening to this song if you are ready to move on from your first love. It speaks about a person wondering how to love again after that first “cut,” which is often the deepest.

31. Stronger, Britney Spears

“You might think that I can't take it, but you're wrong. ‘Cause now I'm stronger than yesterday.”

Stronger is for all the people out there who are ready to face their new lives head-on. The best way to move on is to allow yourself to be stronger and better, and you can do this by keeping in mind that you are your own, and not someone else’s property.

32. Don’t Speak, No Doubt

“It’s all ending, we gotta stop pretending who we are… Don’t speak, I know just what you’re sayin’ so please stop explainin’. Don’t tell me cause it hurts.”

Don’t Speak is a break-up song from Gwen Stefani (vocalist) and Tony Kanal (bassist), who had a seven-year relationship. It is about a lover who is afraid of ending the relationship with her partner. However, it becomes more of a song about acceptance as it progresses.

If, like Gwen Stefani, you would rather not hear the words “let go” from your partner, then this is the song for you. But you will ultimately find that it becomes a lot easier to move on if a relationship has proper closure.

33. Everybody Hurts, R.E.M.

“If you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone… Well, everybody hurts sometimes. Everybody cries.”

Whenever you feel like no one else understands you, remember that the world is a huge place and someone, somewhere, feels the same way you do.

Everybody hurts and everybody has their equal share of pain and loneliness. Don’t hold yourself back from moving on. One day you will realize that it was one of the best decisions you ever made.

34. Skinny Love, Bon Iver / Birdy

“I tell my love to wreck it all, cut out all the ropes and let me fall.”

In an interview with Justin Vernon, Bon Iver’s lead vocalist, he describes Skinny Love as the story of two lovers on the verge of breaking up and falling apart. He says that breaking up may be painful, but being held onto is even more devastating.

Vernon describes this kind of relationship as “skinny” and unhealthy. It is a “skinny” love because there is no more love, yet one party is still holding on.

35. Stay, Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko

“Well, funny you're the broken one but I'm the only one who needed saving.”

This song from Rihanna is more of a break-up song than one that helps you to move on, but we included it on this list for those who are in the early stages of moving on.

It is not wrong to cry your heart out while listening to this song. After all, you’ve got to endure all the pain if you really want to move on.

36. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, Bob Dylan

“You could've done better but I don't mind. You just kinda wasted my precious time.”

Bob Dylan sings about letting go of a relationship that has gone sour. He tells his lover that he is leaving, but he is not blaming her for anything.

This is a song about realizing one’s own worth and escaping the chains of a toxic relationship that is demanding and controlling.

37. Bad Religion, Frank Ocean

“I guess it couldn't hurt me. If it brings me to my knees, it's a bad religion. Oh, unrequited love.”

Bad Religion is a song about unrequited love and the pain of not being able to let go. Frank Ocean compares his feelings to that of a bad religion—a faith that doesn’t bring you peace or joy, only suffering and guilt.

The song gives the feeling of being trapped in an endless cycle of hope and despair, praying for a miracle that you are almost certain will never come.

38. Wake Me Up When September Ends, Green Day

“Like my father's come to pass, twenty years have gone so fast. Wake me up when September ends.”

This is a song that expresses the pain of losing someone and the difficulty of moving on. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote it for his father, who passed away when he was still a child.

He used September (the month he died) as a metaphor to symbolize his grief and sadness, as well as the hope that things will get better once the month is over.

39. Song for the Dumped, Ben Folds Five

“I wish I hadn't bought you dinner right before you dumped me on our front porch. Give me my money back.”

Song for the Dumped has a catchy tune but a bitter message. It’s about being angry with an ex-partner who took all your money, belongings, and dignity after a break-up.

Unlike other moving-on songs that wish for the wellness of the ex-partner, the singer in this song doesn’t care. He just wants his life back.

40. No Scrubs, TLC

“No, I don’t want no scrub. A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me.”

No Scrubs is an anthem for women who want to tell their fellow women to stop wasting their time on men who don’t treat them right.

It encourages women to set high standards and value themselves more than the opinions of others. The song is a message of empowerment and self-respect—a reminder that women don’t need to settle for less than they deserve.

41. Ex-Factor, Lauryn Hill

“And when I try to walk away, you’d hurt yourself to make me stay. This is crazy.”

Ex-Factor details the pain and frustration one has to go through when in a toxic relationship. Lauryn Hill suggests breaking free from the cycle of hurt and betrayal, even if you still love the person.

This song talks about the struggles of letting go and moving on from someone who doesn’t deserve any of your love.

42. Dreaming With a Broken Heart, John Mayer

“When you’re dreaming with a broken heart, waking up is the hardest part.”

This song is about how losing someone is like dreaming with a broken heart. It describes the pain of losing someone you love and having a hard time facing reality.

It feels like you are stuck in an endless cycle of denial and hope, unable to move on with your life, no matter how hard you try.

43. Take a Bow, Rihanna

“And don’t tell me you’re sorry ’cause you’re not. Baby when I know, you’re only sorry you got caught.”

Take a Bow is a sarcastic remark meant for the partner who ruined the relationship. Rihanna sings about that partner needing to take a bow for their wonderful cheating and lying performance.

She is no longer blind. Instead, she is ready to move on with her life, as she has realized her strength as a woman.

44. Forget You, CeeLo Green

“Yeah, I’m sorry. I can’t afford a Ferrari. But that don’t mean I can’t get you there.”

Forget You is a classic story of love versus money. Cee Lo Green expresses his feelings of disappointment with the girl he likes for choosing a rich guy over him. He admits that he still loves her, but he also knows that it is not meant to be, so he would rather move on.

45. Flowers, Miley Cyrus

“I can take myself dancing and I can hold my own hand. Yeah, I can love me better than you can.”

Flowers is about letting go of a past relationship and finding new love—but not necessarily with a new partner. Instead, this new love she is talking about is herself.

She can buy herself flowers! Miley put a lot of emotions into this song, expressing her relief and gratitude that the relationship is over and she can now continue to bloom on her own.

Final Thoughts on Songs About Moving On

Life is full of surprises, and don’t always know what it has in store for us. We may be happy right now, but something big could be coming that could turn our whole life upside down.

On the other hand, we may be heartbroken today, but tomorrow could be a chance to heal.

The most important thing to do is let go of what’s been holding you back you so you can move forward towards the genuine happiness that’s waiting for you.

And if you want more inspirational songs, be sure to check out these blog posts:

songs about moving on | songs about moving on in life | moving on songs
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