In order to live a full and complete life, we must learn how to let go of past failures and disappointments and not carry them with us into our future. Hanging on to pain, bitterness and disappointment from a past conflict is a heavy burden. It affects your moods, attitudes, relationships, job and all other aspects of your life. Negativity eats away at your self-esteem and destroys any possibility of a life free from pain.
Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Your future doesn’t have to be a repetition of your past. You don’t need to be destined to a life of pain, regardless of what you’ve already been through. You can lay down your burdens. It’s okay for you to be free. Using forgiveness as a stepping stone to freedom is an act of radical self-love!
These five steps will help you release the anguish of the past and find the power you need to begin living a fuller, more enjoyable life, regardless of what lies in your past:
1. Talk about it. Discuss your past pain, fear, disappointment or trauma with a trusted friend or family member. Fully express the feelings associated with the situation: cry, scream, or do whatever you need to do to release the bottled up emotions in a safe way.
- Until you really talk about the feelings connected to your past, you may not be able to forgive or move past them. Once you’ve spoken the words, choose to release yourself from the hold they have on your mind forever. As hard as it may be, it’s the only way to free yourself from your past. Practise “bouncing” your thoughts away from the feelings of resentment and bitterness that arise when the cause of your pain appears, and towards thoughts of freedom, power, beauty and love.
2. Use a journal. Writing in a journal is an excellent way to pour out your pain. A journal offers the safety of knowing your words are just for you and won’t be read by anyone else. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or even if the words follow a logical progression, simply write from the heart.
- Physically writing your thoughts and feelings can release your emotions so you can move past them.
3. Practise forgiving smaller hurts and build up to dealing with your bigger pain. Many people misunderstand the meaning of forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened to you is unimportant nor does it mean that you’re saying it’s “okay.” Forgiveness isn’t about the other person at all. Forgiveness simply means that you’ve made the choice to let go of the desire to exact revenge and punishment, and you’ve found closure within your heart and soul and refuse to hold space for the people or situations that have wronged you.
- Forgiveness releases you from the burden of carrying the pain any longer. By choosing to forgive, you can stop dwelling on the past so it won’t control your future.
4. Seek professional guidance. You can choose to get help from a life coach or therapist. The people closest to us aren’t always the best choice to help us work through our pain. It may be difficult for us to fully open up about our deepest pain or it may be hard for them to step back far enough to help us through it.
- Seeking guidance from a professional gives the safety of relative anonymity, which can make it easier to share our problems. Often a coach or counselor will help us see a new point of view, which ultimately helps us move forward.
5. Use alternative therapies. There are many techniques you can use to help change your mindset. Your mindset is instrumental in helping you leave the past behind. Try meditation, acupressure, aromatherapy, exercise and a plethora of other methods to help you take “charge” of your feelings.
Hanging onto past hurts isn’t necessary. No matter what your history contains, you can learn to release it and move forward into a life filled with contentment and joy. Find a method that works for you and begin, today, to let go of the past and move into the life you deserve!