"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19
If you want to make the New Year new you have today to make that happen!
"But Brad, how can I move on past my past in one day when I have been stuck here for years?" you may be thinking.
How to do that is the subject of the articles I have been posting all week. Here are the steps I have shared thus far, including today's fourth step.
1. Make the decision to let it go.
2. Express your pain — and your responsibility.
3. Stop being the victim and blaming others.
4. Focus on the present — the here and now — and joy.
5. Forgive them — and yourself.
We may not have to forget another person’s bad behaviors, but virtually everybody deserves our forgiveness. Sometimes we get stuck in our pain and our stubbornness, we can’t even imagine forgiveness. But forgiveness isn’t saying, “I agree with what you did.” Instead, it’s saying, “I don’t agree with what you did, but I forgive you anyway.”
Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s simply saying, “I need forgiveness. God forgave me . Other people have forgiven me. I must forgive others. You did something that hurt me. But I want to move forward in my life and welcome joy back into it. I can’t do that fully until I let this go.”
Forgiveness is a way of tangibly letting something go. It’s also a way of empathizing with the other person, and trying to see things from their point of view. Make an attempt to understand them. Remember they are fallible as you are. You sometimes you hurt others, most unintentionally but sometimes on purpose. As you humanize the other person it gives you some perspective.
And forgiving yourself may be an important part of this step as well, as 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 (see step 2), there’s no reason you need to keep beating yourself up over it. If you can’t forgive yourself, how will you be able to live in future peace and happiness? Learn from your failures and live better yourself!
I know this stuff is hard, that it’s incredibly hard to let go of one’s pain. If we’ve held onto it for a long time, it feels like an old friend. Justified. It would be sacrilegious to let it go.
But nobody’s life should be defined by their pain. It’s not healthy, it adds to our stress, it hurts our ability to focus, study and work, and it impacts every other relationship we have (even the ones not directly affected by the hurt). Every day you choose to hold on to the pain is another day everybody around you has to live with that decision. And feel its consequences.
So do everybody — and yourself — a big favor: Let go of the pain. Do something different today and welcome happiness back into your life. Let the New Year be new!