You don’t realize that if you stop looking backward and craving the love and acceptance you didn’t receive from your parents, you might open your eyes to what is available to you now. But you won’t let go. If only you could see that looking back into an incomplete and imperfect past, with regret, blame, guilt or resentment is keeping you from the treasures that await you here now. The past has gone. You cannot rectify something that is no longer with you.-Leonard Jacobson
It’s so hard sometimes to let go, and part of the reason for that is that it’s very easy to hold on to things from our past that brings us down. The setbacks and painful events in life seem to stick in our minds longer and seem to pop up in our memories much more often whenever we’re faced with any sort of problem. Perhaps you were abused as a child; perhaps you lost everything when you took that risk; perhaps you were fired from a job for completely unfair reasons. Yes, these things might have been awful, but holding onto them now and focusing on them isn’t helping you at all in your right here, right now.
When we’re focused on that relationship that went bad five years ago, we’re sabotaging the relationship that’s a part of our life right now. When we’re thinking about that man who cheated us in business ten years ago, we’re sabotaging our business relationships now. There’s a skill to learning our lessons from negative situations and then moving on, rather than holding on to the pain and the fear and allowing it to continue to harm us for as long as we keep it.
“But it wasn’t fair,” we say, and that may be true. “But it hurt,” we say. “But they had no right to do that,” we say. And no one’s going to argue with you about these points. Often we hold on to them because we feel a certain self-righteousness because we want others to see us as a victim so that they’ll sympathize with us. But if you’re unwilling to let these things go, then they’re going to continue to hurt you–and it’s no longer the other person or persons hurting you. Now it’s you, yourself, causing the pain that continues to hold you back and keep you down.
The hurts of our past belong in our past. The lessons from them are invaluable tools in life, so we can bring them along in our lives, but let’s leave behind what needs to be left behind, because only when we let go of such things can we move ahead in our lives.
Questions to ponder:
1. Why is it so often so difficult to let go of hurts from our past?
2. What kinds of things do you tend to hold on to? Why do you hold on to them?
3. What are some of the advantages of letting go of our hurts from the past?
For further thought:
Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?-Leo Buscaglia