Let It Go…Let It Go
Let go of those past hurts, disappointments, and anger!
Do you have a relationship that seems to be ‘stuck’ in the past? Are you fixated on an event that occurred months, maybe even years ago? Does your mind cycle through a particular incident at the mere mention of a certain name, leaving you flaming mad? Relationships that have not been restored and events that have not been forgiven will take their toll on your health. Anger, resentment, and fixation may consume your thoughts and actions. Perhaps this is you? If so, forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself! Harboring negative emotions towards someone you once cared about is harmful to your physical and mental health. Hanging on to long-term resentment directly affects your stress level and overall happiness. Don’t do it for them, do it for you.
How can we live in the present when we are holding on to negative feelings from the past that are self destructive and that impair our ability to move forward? Letting go can be a difficult challenge, however, with the power of forgiveness, you can move on from your past and start “living the dream” you once wished for.
Forgiveness is possible in all situations. Give it a try!
- Discuss the situation with the individual who hurt you. Share your feelings using “I” statements, not “You”. If it is not possible to have a discussion, write a letter to that person as an exercise in letting go. Maybe you won’t even send the letter; however, the exercise of writing the letter may help you process the situation.
- Acknowledge and accept that everyone (yes everyone) makes mistakes and says or does hurtful things to people they care about. At some point in your life, you may have been the deliverer of pain instead of the victim. How would you want to be treated? Has anyone ever shown you grace and forgiveness? If you have been forgiven, what is your current opinion of the person who chose to forgive you instead of resent you?
- Take an inventory of life’s blessings and good things you have in your life. Focus on this list when you see yourself starting to fall back into old patterns and negative emotions re-surface. Your self-worth is not determined by another person.
- Don’t expect an apology or any action from the individual that hurt you. While it is nice when this happens, you could end up waiting forever, which doesn’t help you move forward.
- Look for ways to build upon your character during hard times. What did you learn from this situation? What can you improve upon next time?
- Look for the silver lining……it’s there. You may not recognize the positives right away, and if not, look at another situation in your past where you forgave someone and the good that came from that. Remember; forgiving others helps you.
- Move on! Once you have forgiven, don’t look back, talk or think about the situation.
You will know you have truly forgiven when the thought of the person or incident no longer triggers negative emotions. You may think of the person or incident and no longer find feelings of anger and resentment. When this happens you will experience true peace, happiness, reduced stress, and freedom!
Debbie Riddle is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Delaware and New Jersey and CEO of Total Family Solutions. www.totalfamilysolutions.com