Friday, October 5, 2012

Let Go of the Past

27 Days to a Happy Mom - Day 4

I have procrastinated writing this post until very late at night.  Every time I'd start writing, I either got total writer's block or had too many thoughts.  I even sat in the car and cried for a while.  This is one I struggle with right now.  As my mother would say, "Oh pooh."

Sometimes we aren't happy because we feel like we aren't able to because of all the bad things in our past.  People were mean.  Circumstances were ugly.  We did dumb things.  Loved ones left.  Trusted friends let us down.  And we carry all these things around with us, like rocks in a backpack.  We hate hefting them, but we can't seem to let them go.

We need to let them go.

It's hard.  I know it is very, very hard.  And sometimes the most difficult part lies in the wanting to let them go.  In some backwards way, we feel compelled to carry around our heavy, lumpy backpacks.  We can't set our rocks down because then we'd be letting other people hurt us more.  Or we can't forget what happened.  Or that it's supposed to make me an ok person.  Or that it is our job to always have this bad rock with me.  It's part of me.  It's who I am - the horrible person I am!

No, oh no.  I hate to even write those sentences, because I have identified so strongly with them at times.  But it is so wrong!  You are beautiful!  You don't need to be lugging heavy memories and negative emotions. Not.  At.  All.

It's quite a process to get free from - let go of - all the bad stuff from our past.  The way that works best for me is Craig Berthold's four-step process.  The first step is to recognize, or acknowledge the situation.  This is the imaginary conversation you have with yourself, as if you were talking to the person.  Doris, there was a problem at the book club meeting.

The second step is to admit that you did care about that person.  I was your friend and you were my friend.

The third step is pulling out all the pain, the anger.  It hurts, but don't skip this part!  You were supposed to be my confidante but you told everyone my secrets and laughed about it and that really made me feel awful and embarrassed.  Make sure you get all of the nasty feelings out, but don't get stuck here.  Sometimes we use this hurt as a shield to protect us, or to beat people up with, or to justify our bad feelings.

The fourth step is the freedom - the forgiveness.  We don't know how to do this as well, but it is the most important part.  We bundle up all our pain, give it to our Savior, and quit carrying it around.  As a matter of fact, Doris, you did hurt me, and you can do whatever you want to me, but you can't control how I feel about it.  I'm not going to let this affect me inside anymore.  The other important part of step four is learning from it, gleaning the truths we need to learn to make us better people.  We can't really put our bad things behind us unless we can climb up on our challenges instead of letting them crush us.  We can turn our garbage into wisdom!  Because of this experience, I have learned to be more careful and sensitive.  I may not have learned that without you.  Thank you for the lesson.  And by forgiving you, Doris, I can love you more than ever.  Through this step, you can gain freedom forgiveness, gratitude, wisdom, and empathy.

You can see a video explaining this so much better that I can if you go here.  It's not short, but so worth it!

And by letting go of all those heavy rocks and negative experiences in our past, we can grow into more incredible, more happy people.

Just for today...  try to forgive, learn from it, and love more.

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