We’ve all been hurt by another person at some time or another — we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were shredded, guts ripped right out and handed to us on a silver platter.
And while this pain is normal, sometimes that pain lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over, and have a hard time letting go.
This causes problems. It not only causes us to be unhappy, but can strain or ruin relationships, distract us from work and family and other important things, make us reluctant to open up to new things and people. We get trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.
We need to learn to let go. We need to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be happy.
This is something I had to learn the hard way — after being in a relationship that, in the beginning, looked like it would be a “forever thing,” ended. Don’t get me wrong, terminating the relationship was necessary for growth, I believe on both our parts. It was how and the aftermath of the break-up that placed some bitterness in my heart toward him. I, on one hand wanted to and had sought out reconciliation, on the other, did not want to continue with the status quo and needed things to change in order to continue. I soon realized this was not going to happen, at least it did not seem that way, and the relationship came to a final close.
What I had to realize was the actual gifts that were presented me in the relationship. I needed to focus on the positive aspects and not dwell on the negative. Honestly, the gifts that were given me were instrumental in me becoming the person I am today. Without the struggles, hurt, and emotional pain I would not have reclaimed my voice, learned to trust my instincts, learned what it is to be truly self-sufficient, comfortable with my aloneness, or go after my dreams. For these things I am truly grateful to him for this growth.
Forgiveness can change your life. It’s not easy. But you can learn to do it.
If you’re holding onto pain, reliving it, and can’t let go and forgive, read on for some things I’ve learned.
- Commit to letting go. You aren’t going to do it in a second or maybe not even in a day. It can take time to get over something. So commit to changing, because you recognize that the pain is hurting you.
- Think about the pros and cons. What problems does this pain cause you? Does it stop you from pursuing your dreams, or becoming a better person? Does it cause you unhappiness? Does it affect your work? Relationships? Think of all these problems, and realize you need to change. Then think of the benefits of forgiveness — how it will make you happier, free you from the past and the pain, improve things with your relationships and life in general.
- Realize you have a choice. You cannot control the actions of others, and shouldn’t try. But you can control not only your actions, but your thoughts. You can stop reliving the hurt, and can choose to move on. You have this power. You just need to learn how to exercise it.
- Stop being the victim and blaming others.
Being the victim feels good — it’s like being on the winning team of you against the world. But guess what? The world largely doesn’t care, so you need to get over yourself. Yes, you’re special. Yes, your feelings matter. But don’t confuse with “your feelings matter” to “your feelings should override all else, and nothing else matters.” Your feelings are just one part of this thing we call life, which is all interwoven and complex. And messy.
In every moment, you have a choice — to continue to feel bad about another person’s actions, or to start feeling good. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness, and not put such power into the hands of another person. Why would you let the person who hurt you — in the past — have such power, right here, right now?
- Understand your part. Try to figure out how you could have been partially responsible for what happened. What could you have done to prevent it, and how can you prevent it from happening next time? This isn’t to say you’re taking all the blame, or taking responsibility away from the other person, but to realize that we are not victims but participants in life.
- Focus on the present. Now that you’ve reflected on the past, realize that the past is over. It isn’t happening anymore, except in your mind. And that causes problems — unhappiness and stress. Instead, bring your focus back to the present moment. What are you doing now? What joy can you find in what is happening right now? Find the joy in life now, as it happens, and stop reliving the past. You will inevitably start thinking about the past, but just acknowledge that, and gently bring yourself back to the present moment.
- Allow peace to enter your life. As you focus on the present, try focusing on your breathing. Imagine each breath going out is the pain and the past, being released from your body and mind. And imagine each breath coming in is peace, entering you and filling you up. Release the pain and the past. Let peace enter your life. And go forward, thinking no longer of the past, but of peace and the present.
- Feel compassion. Finally, forgive the person and realize that in forgiveness, you are allowing yourself to be happy and move on. Feel empathy for the person and wish happiness on them. Let love for them, and life in general, grow in your heart. It may take time, but if you’re stuck on this point, repeat some of the ones above until you can get here.
It is equally important to forgive yourself. Sometimes we may end up blaming ourselves for the situation or hurt. While we indeed may have had some part to play in the hurt, there’s no reason you need to keep beating yourself up over it.
Forgiveness does not mean you erase the past, or forget what has happened. It doesn’t even mean the other person will change their behavior — you cannot control that. All it means is that you are letting go of the anger and pain, and moving on to a better place.
So do everybody — and yourself — a big favor: Let go of the pain. Do something different today and welcome happiness back into your life.
If you would like assistance in forgiving and letting go of your pain contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (256) 497-4790. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel for other insightful videos https://www.youtube.com/c/Rinspire