Why is it so difficult to let go of experiences from our past that caused us pain? So many of us get stuck in the heartache of the past letting feelings from long ago linger. These feelings affect the way you think, feel, and operate in the now. But, your decision to hold onto the past is equally as powerful as your decision to let go.
Even though many times the holding on is an unconscious choice, when we don't find a way to let go of the past, we struggle with ourselves. This struggle keeps us stuck and prevents our growth in every area of our lives. One of the best ways to begin letting go is by focusing on forward momentum and releasing thoughts of painful moments in your life. Sounds hard? Sometimes it is. But hard doesn’t mean impossible. So let’s break it down into manageable parts.
If we do not accept the past as it is, not as we wish it had been, we will not be in a position to let it go. We only let go of things that we once took ownership of. This isn’t about blame and responsibility. It is about saying: I acknowledge what it was and it is what it is.
When we can imagine ourselves in the shoes of someone else, or ourselves at another time, we may begin to imagine what things may have been like for that person. What emotions, fears, and desires drove them to do what they did. At the core, all beings want to be safe, accepted, loved and made to feel important. Careful not to confuse compassion for understanding, as that is an ever-changing finish line.
To forgive isn’t to forget the wrongs and to give cart blanche to another-sometimes that isn’t what is good or necessary for anyone. To forgive is to learn what we must, set(and reinforce) boundaries, and to hold all parties accountable from this point forward to the present situation instead of the past.
As difficult as it may seem when the wounds are still fresh, being grateful for a difficult past is a huge leap to whole heartedly letting go. Many times, this is a slow walk, and that’s OK.
Letting go is important to begin moving forward for the sake of living life freely. Whether it is from a painful experience or a person who hurt you, starting the journey can be difficult. Here are some things to keep in mind if you plan on taking the steps above:
Recognize your feelings- they are valid AND temporary
Create physical space-For as long as you need
Focus on you-create space for things that bring you peace
Practice mindfulness-training yourself to be present is a gift of peace available 24 hours a day
Dont rush it-let go at your pace
Letting go of the past can feel difficult, almost impossible, at times. But, it is absolutely doable with some effort and commitment. Be gentle with yourself as you move through the process.