Thursday, October 17, 2019
This is a hard one. And I think the reason why it's so hard is that we have had 1. very happy memories and 2. powerful lessons that we've learned. We all have memories that can bring a smile to our faces instantly! And yes, we've all been through a lot that has taught us very valuable things about life.
Just like one of my favorite quotes says:
I think the danger lies very discreetly in the way we think about our pasts. I believe there is a tendency to compare our present moments to our pasts, especially as we get older. The stories we tell ourselves of "I remember when..." or "I looked so good when I was (this age)" can actually cause harm to our present-day outlook.
Constantly comparing our current situations to how we were or how things are now can steal our current happiness and peace. There's nothing wrong with remembering the good 'ol days. But whether or not we choose to admit it, we can become the stories we tell ourselves, either good or bad. So we have to be very careful! More on this in a future post*
Another reason why it's so hard to let go of the past is PAIN. Yes, it is a four-letter word. We have all been hurt by other people, by experiences, and even ourselves. We can tell ourselves the same stories in our heads over and over again. "This happened to me. It hurt like hell. I can't believe they would treat me that way." I used to do this all the time.
But finally, I had to say ENOUGH.
That broken record of everything that's happened to you is an album that needs to get retired and thrown in the trash! Those stories only make you a victim. Not a hero or heroine. That is the past dragging you back to where it wants you to be. Misery loves company and that includes the past!
If you truly want to be happy in the here and now, it's time to let go.
How do you do it? I know how! Let me tell you how to!
I'm going to say this loud and clear: The only way to let things go is through FORGIVENESS.
Think I'm joking? I'm really, really not. I have had to tattoo that word onto my brain. Permanently scar it into my psyche. Etch it into my conscience!
It's the only way, my friends. You have to forgive that person. That thing. And yourself. Over and over, and over, and over again. These are the tips 1, 2, & 3!
Does that person deserve forgiveness? Maybe not. But that doesn't matter. Do you really think by forgiving someone it gives them the power? It doesn't. Forgiving someone means "I'm taking back my power. I will no longer let you have any control of my thoughts, feelings and actions any longer. I forgive you. You are in my past. I'm letting it go."
This is so important. Nothing others do is because of you. It's because of them. Don't get caught up in their drama, their pain, their behavior. It has nothing to do with you.
Now, this is no way means that you have to let that person back into your life, especially if they are abusive. You do not deserve abuse and there is no way you should allow it in your life. By simply forgiving someone, you are taking back your power by no longer even giving them, or the situation, another thought or moment of your precious, short life.
There's the famous quote or some variation of it: “In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” - Anne Lamott
Not forgiving someone is only going to continue to hurt you.
Secondly, can you forgive an experience? This is a little trickier. Unfair things happen. Life goes wrong, sometimes it seems like for no apparent reason. Maybe you have chronic pain, like me. Maybe you even have cancer. Maybe you just got smashed into by a car this morning. Sometimes things don't make sense.
I've learned that you have to forgive your experiences just like you would forgive another person. One way to do this is to acknowledge that we shouldn't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of us and the tragedies that befall us are not punishment for our behavior either. This knowledge comes from Don Miguel Ruiz and "The Four Agreements" something I highly recommend.
For a long time, I thought that I had done something wrong to deserve chronic pain. Now I can't believe I ever thought that. Did a baby born with brain cancer do something wrong? Did a man walking across the street that got hit with a car, do something wrong? No... and neither did I.
Forgive every bad thing that has ever happened to you. If you have to, write it down. There is something magical that happens when you do this. All of a sudden your past will start losing its grip, its power. You can take back your story. You are not what has happened to you. You are so much more powerful than that.
Now thirdly, there are times when we DO have to forgive ourselves. We have all made mistakes. Said things we shouldn't of. We have hurt other people. It doesn't mean that we did this on purpose. Most of the times we didn't. That's why forgiveness is so important. Just like most of the time, other people didn't hurt you on purpose either. It was just a by-product of their actions and perspective.
When we don't forgive ourselves, we can't let go of the past.
Guilt is an extremely dangerous emotion. It can lead to alcoholism, overeating, and even suicide among many other harmful things. The lessons that we learn throughout our lives are very important, yes! But does that mean we are supposed to rake ourselves over the coals again and again for it? Are we supposed to torture ourselves with the would've, should've, could've for the rest of our lives? No.
The past is gone. Let's learn the lessons but then, move on!
Maybe you think you've done something unforgivable and that's a very unfortunate way to think. What has helped me so much is picturing Jesus Christ, on the cross, in unbelievable pain, and still finding the strength to say, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." This is so true. Everyone and everything can be forgiven, all you have to do is ask for forgiveness and in your heart of hearts, strive to do better next time.
To live in light, we must forgive others, our experiences and ourselves. It's the only way we will find true peace and happiness in the present moment. And the present moment is all we have.
Thank you so much for reading & make sure to subscribe at: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for notifications on the latest posts! Have a wonderful day!