Nowadays, you read so much about why you should let go of the past. And I totally agree. However, it’s also important to know how to let go of the past.
In time, most people will come to grips with why they should do it. But many of them will get stuck on actually taking the steps to make it happen.
Since you were a child, you have heard the maxim to forgive and forget. And it is important because it helps you to move on with your life as well as keeps friends you may have lost.
Easier said than done
However, it is a policy that is easier said than done. Memories tend to stick even if you say you will forget. It would be great if we could magically erase these bad memories of what people have done as if they never happened, but that just isn’t possible.
You may be willing to forgive, but find it hard to forget. If this is the case, then concentrate on the forgiveness.
Time needs to pass before you can get to the point of forgetting or at least, making the issue less important in your mind. Forgiving may be enough to get you to move on with your life.
The Living Years
You may have heard the song by Mike and the Mechanics called, In the Living Years, released in 1988. It was a beautiful song often played on radio stations at the time.
Some would say it became overplayed. But, this is what usually happens with beautiful songs.
The message of the song is that if we wait until people die, we won’t be able to tell them what they mean to us and that we love them. Also, the chorus mentions about admitting to not seeing eye to eye. We can only do this when we are alive.
The song seems directed at parent/adult children relationships. However, it’s appropriate for anyone who you are or have been close with, including family and friends.
By holding onto the past and carrying grudges, you risk not being able to try to make things right while you both are still living. You always think you have tomorrow to do it.
Life is short
However, one day you find that the other person is no longer with you. Life indeed is as short as people say it is.
What many people find when they talk things out, is they can’t remember what got them upset in the first place. It becomes trivial.
Think about a time when you and a family member or friend put aside your differences. You may have gotten a good laugh about how it all came to be. That often happens in these types of situations.
Our family is all we have in the world. Even as friends come and go, we need the support of our families.
While work and community obligations are important, try to make time to see your family as often as you can. That’s obviously tougher when families are apart due to their physical location.
But, even families who are geographically close to each other often don’t visit as much as they should.
Agree to disagree
When you do get together, and you don’t tend to see eye-to-eye with certain members of your family, try to keep the conversations away from sensitive areas. For instance, if you have differences of opinion regarding politics, try talking sports instead.
If you get onto sensitive subjects, try to keep the conversations respectful. Consider all views and keep an open mind. The phrase, “agree to disagree” is a great one to diffuse these volatile situations.
When you do forgive someone, make sure you don’t bring up the issue over and over again. If you do, then you haven’t truly forgiven the other person.
If you can’t forgive, then be honest. Express your need for more time. Tell them you are willing to explore it again sometime in the future.
Some people may not be worth the trouble of forgiving and forgetting. If someone you know is not dependable and never was, they are going to continue to let you down. So why go through the trouble of forgiving them, let alone forgetting?
You may even still choose to associate with the person but without trusting what they will do. However, this can be emotionally draining for you, and it may be best to sever all ties.
Above all, be honest with people. Don’t fake forgiveness and then go around talking behind that person’s back.
You then lower yourself to their level. If you are hurting because of their actions, and they are asking for forgiveness, be sincere about how you proceed.
You may hurt someone’s feelings by stating that you don’t forgive them. But, you will do far worse if you pretend that you have when you haven’t.
Although you may never forget, you will get to the point where it is no longer worth your trouble to worry.
It takes energy to focus on the past. Why drain that power when you can put it to great use in more positive ways?
You’ll feel better, and everyone around you will feel better. The person you are trying to forgive will also benefit.
By now you might be asking yourself how can I let go of the past. Here follow six steps that will help you do just that:
Learn from past experiences
There are learning nuggets contained within your past. Anything you have done or tried before is up for grabs in the University of your past. It’s up to you to recognise what those lessons are and how to use them effectively. The way to use them is to determine why they happened and how to avoid them in the future.
Give yourself permission to forgive and let go of the past
Your brain can latch onto something and is waiting for you to release the responsibility. By committing to this release, your brain can focus on other productive areas. That release comes in the form of telling yourself to let go.
Learn to meditate
When you are relaxed, you will have an easier time of purging your past. One of the best forms of relaxation is meditation. It takes several sessions to get your body and mind in tune with the techniques. Don’t expect fast solutions with this. The key is to keep doing it until you feel the effects.
Don’t hide from your past. People try to pretend certain aspects of their past did not happen, especially the more embarrassing moments. However, this may cause them to come back to you with a vengeance since they are bottling up within you. Acknowledge everything about your past but commit to pushing forward.
Concentrate on the good aspects of your past
Sometimes, you may focus on your mistakes and mask the fact that you had some wonderful experiences in the past as well. These are equally important.
And many of us are too hard on ourselves about the past. Stop that right now. It’s okayto acknowledge that you made some mistakes but don’t get overly critical of them.
Journal your experiences
Be as detailed as possible so you can refer to the journal when faced with similar circumstances in the future. Don’t treat your journal as a bible, however. Just use the journal as a guideline.
Give it time
It took a long time to get into this situation and it will take time to resolve it.
As with all complex issues, don’t expect all changes to occur immediately. Some past habits may be difficult to break, so don’t try to change everything in one shot.
Give it time. It took a long time to get into this situation and it will take time to resolve it.
If pride is getting in the way of resolving the issue, try to cast it aside. It could be just the right instance to get something wonderful going once again.