When we forgive, we are set free
When I look back and reflect on some of my past relationships, I see that they have not been perfect. I see hurt, lies, fear, anger, distrust and unhappiness.
I found myself holding on to the stories of my past relationships so tightly: You cannot forgive; they don’t deserve your love. If you forgive them, what will others think of you? They’ll think you are weak. From there, it is easy to start on the downward spiral of blame and fear: Is there something wrong with me? Did I deserve this? What could I have done differently?
Whether it is a family member, friend, boss, coworker or significant other, it is challenging to truly forgive someone who has hurt us so deeply. But we must forgive to take back our own power.
When we hold on to past hurt and fear, we are giving power away to the other person. We are allowing the past to affect our current and future feelings, thoughts and relationships. Until we forgive and surrender the hurt from our past, we are not free. Something might have happened a decade ago, but if we continue to play the story in our mind and hold on to the feelings, we are allowing the past to control our present.
When we forgive, we are free. Free of the negative story, free of being controlled, free of our pain.
If you’re struggling to cultivate forgiveness and let go, try one or all of these actions in order to find peace:
Surrender. I have said it before and I will say it again: Surrendering is the first step. By surrendering our past hurt, fear, anger and pain to a greater power, we are allowing God to work miracles into our lives. The need to forgive is one of the hardest life lessons to accept, so when we surrender to God, we know we are not in this alone. We have the guidance and strength to let go.
Replace negative with positive. The hurt from our past is usually a negative story that we have carried with us for years. To truly forgive, we must change this story. We need to stop replaying the negative paradigms like: I can’t let go; I will look weak. If I could have just changed him, he wouldn’t have hurt me. We need to replace those thoughts with positive paradigms: I am worthy of love. I deserve happiness. I am free.
Rewrite the relationship. Write down the details of the past relationship you had with this other person—the things that hurt you, the negative feelings and the fear that you have carried with you. After really reflecting on what you’ve written, tear up the paper and throw it away. Then, on a new sheet of paper, write down the feelings and emotions you would like to have. Look at this piece of paper from time to time and imagine the feelings. After doing this for a few months, you will start to feel forgiveness and freedom.
The process of forgiving can be very hard and take time, so be patient and gentle with yourself. When you are finally able to let go of the past, you can truly be open to embracing the present. Forgive and be set free.